Former Lyn director convicted of fraud over Mikel deal
Thursday 27 March 2008
The former Lyn director, Morgan Andersen, was yesterday convicted of fraud and making false accusations in a case that stemmed from a contract dispute over the Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel.
The Oslo district court sentenced Andersen to one year in prison, but suspended it for a two-year probationary period. It also ordered him to pay 20,000 kroner (£1,944) in court costs. Andersen immediately appealed.
Andersen was convicted on two counts of tampering with a 2005 contract between Lyn and Mikel so that he could sell the Nigeria international to Manchester United. He was also convicted of filing a false police complaint against Mikel's agent, John Shittu. Mikel ended up with Chelsea after the three clubs reached a settlement in the contract dispute. "The court is convinced that the accused has knowingly contributed to an illegal act for gain, an unjustified right to John Obi Mikel," the ruling said.
Andersen pleaded not guilty to all charges to open the 10-day trial on 11 February. The prosecutors had demanded that Andersen be sentenced to one year in prison and serve at least half the time in jail.
Andersen's attorney, Cato Schiotz, said his client disagreed with the ruling. "We believe the court did not consider all the questions," Schiotz said. The defence argued that one of Andersen's subordinates at Lyn had falsified the contract without his knowledge.
The three-member judging panel was split on the sentence, with one judge wanting Andersen to serve six months in jail. However, the other two supported a suspended sentence.
Andersen was convicted of tampering with contracts to make it appear that Mikel had signed them on his 18th birthday. If Mikel had signed as an adult, Lyn would have had rights to benefit if the player had moved in a proposed lucrative deal to United.
In 2005, Mikel filed a police complaint against Andersen, claiming he had forged the player's signature on the contract. Andersen then filed a counter-complaint against Shittu, saying he had forged Mikel's signature on a different contract. Both complaints were later retracted, but police continued their investigation.
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