Duke faces jail term for pounds 2m US fraud

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The Independent Online
When Angus Charles Drogo Montagu agreed to raise pounds 30m for a struggling American ice hockey team, its president boasted: "Great, isn't it? We got us a Duke. Nothing shabby about Tampa Bay Lightning."

Montagu, 58, was indeed a Duke, the 12th Duke of Manchester, but his business dealings were extremely shabby, to the extent that he intended to rip off the team for almost pounds 2m.

Yesterday, the Duke was found guilty in Florida of conspiracy and three charges of fraud and was warned that he could face up to seven years in jail. A federal jury accepted prosecution evidence that he and his company, Link International, planned to extract money from the club and two banks using collateral that did not exist.

According to prosecutors, the Duke, who is reputed to have once made a living wrestling crocodiles, and four business partners were paid pounds 30,000 in expenses and asked for a pounds 1.7m fee for raising the loan. The club never received any money. Eight weeks after the pounds 30,000 was handed over, Dublin-based Link collapsed.

US District Judge Ralph Nimmons granted bail until sentencing on June 6.

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