Northern Ireland news

Barry McGuigan claims £4million from Carl Frampton, court hears

Carl Frampton leaves court accompanied by his solicitor John Finucane

Boxer Carl Frampton is facing total claims for nearly £4 million over his split from ex-manager and mentor Barry McGuigan, the High Court has heard.

The scale of the counter-lawsuit against the former world champion emerged as he completed his evidence in the high-stakes legal battle.

A judge was also told the Belfast fighter once trusted the McGuigan family so much that he asked them to forge his signature.

The 33-year-old Belfast fighter is seeking up to £6 million in alleged withheld earnings during an eight-year partnership.

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

Earlier in the hearing he rejected any suggestions that he is being greedy.

On day six of the case attention turned to separate litigation filed against Mr Frampton for alleged breach of contact when he left the company in 2017.

The court heard Mr McGuigan is claiming £2.199m in total for terminating his arrangement as manager.

Asked by his barrister Gavin Millar QC to comment on the figure, Mr Frampton said: "It seems a lot of money for a 25% cut... it's extremely large."

Mr McGuigan's son Blain, who played a role in promoting the boxer's shows, is also suing the boxer.

According to Mr Millar that writ involved claims for £1.66m.

"Again, that seems very large," Mr Frampton told him.

During 22 hours spent in the witness box he faced extensive cross-examination by counsel for Mr McGuigan.

Liam McCollum QC took him through correspondence dealing with a pre-fight contracts.

In one e-mail the boxer allegedly asked "could one of the lads forge my signature" rather than posting off documents.

He told the court: "Again, showing how trusthworthy I was of the McGuigans, and I was happy for them to do that."

The barrister asked: "Trustworthy, to ask for someone to forge a signature?"

He replied: "Yes, on a contract deal."

Mr Frampton also claimed that had he known Mr McGuigan was disqualified as a company director for a period in the 1990s he would never have signed for him.

Asked if he realised current promoter Frank Warren had been also disqualified at around the same time, he replied: "No."

Mr McCollum questioned why he had not tried to find out if it was such an important issue.

"The difference between Frank Warren and Mr McGuigan at the time was that Frank Warren was an established promoter," the fighter answered.

"Barry McGuigan wasn't established as a boxing promoter or a manager."

He told the court his problem was a combination of inexperience and the historic banning order.

Counsel pressed him on why he had no difficulty with Mr Warren.

"Frank Warren has continued to put on huge boxing events for decades. He has a proven track record," Mr Frampton said.

"If someone who (had been) disqualified as a director from a company, with no experience in managing fighters before, said I want to manage your career I would have said no."

The boxer's action centres on an alleged conflict of interest between Mr McGuigan's dual role as manager and promoter.

Mr Frampton further claims he never received a 30 percent profit share he says was promised to him when he signed up as a director of another Northern Irish-based Cyclone company.

According to Mr Frampton the final straw in his deteriorating relationship with Mr McGuigan came when the taxman called at his home in the summer of 2017 with a bill for £397,000.

The VAT demand coincided with his preparations to face Andres Gutierrez in Belfast - a contest ultimately called off when the Mexican slipped and injured himself in the shower.

Mr Frampton's accountant, Sean McCrory, described his shock at the time.

"I was flabbergasted," he said in evidence.

Describing himself as a sports fan, Mr McCrory told the court he bought two tickets for the ill-fated Gutierrez bout.

When the fight was cancelled he said he made enquiries about getting a refund, while a friend sent the tickets off to Cyclone Promotions.

"They were returned to us and we were advised to go back to where we purchased the tickets from," the accountant said.

Asked if he ever secured a refund, he replied: "No. I still have the tickets. They were £120 each."

The hearing resumes today.

Barry McGuigan at Belfast High Court for the resumption of Carl Frampton's action

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Topics

Northern Ireland news