King 'stole $350,000 in Lloyds' fraud'

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The Independent Online

New York

Don King, the controversial promoter of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, is expected to take the stand in a New York court today to answer allegations that he stole $350,000 from Lloyds of London in a bogus insurance claim.

Prosecutors have charged Mr King with nine counts of insurance fraud arising from a 1991 fight featuring super lightweight champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, that was cancelled after the boxer injured his nose in training. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of $250,000.

Mr King is accused of padding his claim to Lloyds with an additional $350,000 in losses which prosecutors say were never actually incurred. US attorney Paul Gardephe said "this number was simply made up by Mr King".

Specifically, Mr King is accused of doctoring the original contract documents signed with Lloyds to insert a rider purporting that Chavez was paid the $350,000 in the run-up to the fight, a high-winnings bout against Harold Brazier in Las Vegas, as a "non-refundable" training fee. The prosecution has promised Chavez will tell the court that he never actually received any such payment.

Mr King was paid a total of $671,000 for the loss of the match. His defence has rejected the allegations and says that in any event the promoter had no responsibility for the day-to-day financial running of his empire.