Northern Ireland news

Carl Frampton seeking £6m in legal battle with former manager Barry McGuigan

Boxing manager and former world champion, Barry McGuigan arrives at Belfast High Court for his legal battle with Belfast boxer, Carl Frampton. .Picture by Stephen Davison

BOXER Carl Frampton is seeking £6 million in his legal battle with ex-manager Barry McGuigan, the High Court heard today.

His action allegedly includes sums paid to fighters who featured on his undercards, as well as money spent on constructing a venue for a contest in Belfast.

But under cross-examination the former two-weight world champion rejected any suggestion of being "greedy".

Mr Frampton (33) is suing Mr McGuigan for allegedly withholding earnings from high-profile bouts staged in Northern Ireland, England and the United States.

His case involves claims against Cyclone Promotions UK Ltd - of which Mr McGuigan was a director - over purse fees, broadcasting rights, ticket sales and merchandising.

A counter lawsuit has been filed against Mr Frampton for alleged breach of contact when he split from the company in 2017.

Mr Frampton has claimed he signed up as a director of another Northern Ireland-based Cyclone company on the promise of of a 30 per cent share of profits.

But according to his case he was never paid in that role.

At today's hearing the full scale of the Belfast fighter's claim emerged.

He told Liam McCollum QC, for Mr McGuigan, that he was unaware of the exact figures in the action, maintaining that had been left that to forensic accountants.

"You are saying that Mr McGuigan and Cyclone... should pay you £6m. That's your claim," the barrister said.

Mr Frampton replied: "I didn't know that was the claim. I want what I'm entitled to as a director of Cyclone Promotions and the 30 per cent I believed I would be getting."

Pressing further, Mr McCollum said he was also seeking all the money paid to Shane McGuigan, one of Mr McGuigan's sons who trained him during the eight years he spent with Cyclone.

The cost of building a venue for one of his bouts at Belfast's Titanic quarter also allegedly features in what is being sought.

"Does that not sound being a bit greedy to you?" Mr McCollum asked.

The boxer insisted: "I'm not a greedy person."

In opening submissions, Mr Frampton's lawyer had described a deal he signed in 2015 for rights to his fights as a "slave contract".

But Mr McCollum put it to the boxer that he had always acted willingly.

Again and again in evidence the fighter insisted he entered into agreements in good faith.

"I didn't even attempt to read them, because I trusted the people I was signing them for," he said.

The court heard he agreed a 400,000 US dollars purse for his US debut in 2015, a fight with Alejandro Gonzalez in Texas.

"Brainwashed is maybe a strong word (but) these people, I believed everything they told me," Mr Frampton said.

"So much so that (I said) the McGuigans were good people, don't worry about them.

"People were criticising them, but I defended them for a very long time... I absolutely trusted them."

Mr McCollum responded: "That's a nice speech, but the question is what was the document you signed that didn't live up to the trust in terms of what you received?

"The Gonzalez document said you were going to get 400,000 dollars; you didn't get 400,000 dollars, you got far more than that, so there's no breach of trust in that as far as you're concerned."

Later, he questioned the sports star about his honesty around any unpaid tax.

"Have you ever told a lie for financial advantage?" counsel asked.

Mr Frampton answered there had been "lies" about his purses for contests in America to reduce tax liabilities, but claimed it was "on the advice of my former manager, Mr McGuigan".

He told the court he believed "everybody does it".

But according to Mr McCollum that was irrelevant.

Rejecting claims that the advice came from his client, the barrister pressed Mr Frampton: "It's still totally dishonest, is it not?"

He asked if the fighter knew how much money he saved through "misdeclarations" to the US authorities.

"How much do you think you short changed them?"

Mr Frampton answered: "I'm not sure, probably less than the McGuigans short changed me though."

He was unable to give a figure for any potential sums involved.

When the boxer repeated that he acted on advice, he was told: "You're not a child. If Mr McGuigan told you to go and rob a post office would you have done that?"

He replied: "I wouldn't have done that... actually I may have done. I was pretty brainwashed.

"Clearly I'm exaggerating, but I'm trying to make a point. I pretty much did what I was told."

The hearing continues.

Former boxing world champion, Carl Frampton arrives at Belfast High court this morning with his legal counsel, John Finucane for his legal battle with his former manager, Barry McGuigan..Picture by Stephen Davison

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news