Footballer's friend spared jail

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The Independent Online
A drug-addict businessman who talked the footballer Faustino Asprilla into giving him pounds 1,000 to help him with accommodation, then spent the lot on cocaine, was ordered to do 140 hours' community service yesterday.

Judge Peter Fingret made the order after hearing that Newcastle United striker Asprilla had disowned businessman Leonel Sarmiento-Mottoa, 31, following the deception. Sarmiento-Mottoa, who used to go to nightclubs and restaurants with Colombian-born Asprilla, was "saddened" but not really surprised by the decision, his counsel told Southwark Crown Court. The judge told Sarmiento-Mottoa: "I do not consider that imprisonment in these circumstances would benefit anyone. It would not benefit the public, nor you, nor your family." Sarmiento-Mottoa, from north London, was cleared last week of planning to supply the narcotic, but convicted of possessing 41 grams of the drug.

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