Northern Ireland news

`Evidence Barry McGuigan's boxing promotion businesses breached Companies Act', says high court judge

.Belfast Boxer Carl Frampton attends Belfast High Court with his solicitor John Finucane Picture Mal McCann.

THERE is evidence former world champion Barry McGuigan's collection of boxing promotion businesses committed "breaches of the Companies Act", a high court judge said yesterday.

Mr Justice Horner ruled yesterday that Northern Ireland High Court has jurisdiction to hear Tiger's Bay boxer Carl Frampton's legal action against his former manager, his wife Sandra McGuigan and two Cyclone Promotions companies.

Mr Frampton is suing over an alleged failure to pay purse money from bouts in Belfast, England and America and a breach of the terms of an International Promotional Agreement (IPA).

Yesterday, the judge held "Northern Ireland is the centre of gravity in this dispute".

"Frampton is a Belfast fighter who was born, bred and who lives in Northern Ireland," he said.

"Most of the income generated from his fights has been generated in Northern Ireland. Cyclone Promotions is a Northern Ireland company."

An English court will now decide whether to hear a claim lodged in London by Clones Promotions after the Belfast writs were served.

The McGuigans had sought all three hearings be held in England.

The 31-year-old split acrimoniously with Cyclone last summer.

The court heard that Mr Frampton believes the money owed to him "was syphoned off or diverted into back accounts controlled by the Cyclone Connection", and Mr McGuigan "failed to protect Frampton's financial interests by ensuring that he was paid the money due to him before Cyclone Promotions (UK) Ltd was dissolved".

Mr Justice Horner said "there is some evidence that substantial monies representing the proceeds of ticket sales and collected by Frampton's parents, were paid into a bank account in Northern Ireland which was controlled by the Cyclone Connection and that this money was diverted from Frampton".

This is denied by Mrs McGuigan.

The judge also stated there is "prima facie evidence of breaches of the Companies Act 2006" over failures to display their name on business documents - with the name`Cyclone Promotions' used by "at least three companies... although they all have different shareholders and directors".

He said breaches also relate to "filing their accounts or annual returns late".

Mr Justice Horner referred to a report by accountants obtained on behalf of Mr Frampton which "raises serious concerns about how Cyclone Promotions, if it was indeed Frampton's promoter as the Cyclone Connection asser, could have reported losses in each of its reported trading years, despite Frampton's successes in the ring, and ended up with a progressively deteriorating balance sheet leading to net liabilities... (of) nearly £550,000".

Mr Frampton said afterwards he is pleased "Barry McGuigan and other members of the McGuigan family will have to come to Belfast High Court and answer questions that I have wanted answered for a long time."

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