Wayne Rooney and other football stars lose millions as property fraud case is dropped

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Wayne Rooney is one of a group of football stars who have lost £25million after investing in a company accused of fraud.

Along with fellow investor Rio Ferdinand, the former Everton player will not get his money back after police closed an investigation into financial advisers Kingsbridge Asset Management, saying they did not have enough evidence to prosecute. The police investigation centered on an alleged £25million fraud linked to property deals, reports the Mirror.

In 2018, the Mirror reported that the company had attracted £417million in investments from 589 sports stars. Gavin Tyrrell, director of fraud investigation standards for the City of London Police, told the newspaper: ‘We have carried out a two-year investigation into allegations of fraud against a number of employees at Kingsbridge Asset Management.

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“There was insufficient evidence to meet the requirements of a successful criminal prosecution. This view was supported by the Crown Prosecution Service.” Derby boss Rooney, 36, and Ferdinand, 43, were among 31 footballers who bought holiday homes in Florida through Kingsbridge.

Former Liverpool star Danny Murphy and former Everton defender Martin Keown have also invested in the failed property venture. Police said the victims each lost hundreds of thousands up to several million pounds, although it is understood some have recovered some of their losses through legal action.

Former Scotland captain Colin Hendry has claimed he went bankrupt after taking Kingsbridge’s advice and investing the money. The City of London Police investigation focused on Charlotte Harbor, a holiday home development, where stars have bought condos, priced at an average of £300,000.

Rooney bought his lavish apartment for around £320,000. Many properties were subsequently sold at huge losses – The average resale price was £75,000.

The flats are said to have generated more than £800,000 in commission for Kingsbridge. The Nottingham-based company also offered other investments, including property in Marbella, before ceasing trading in 2010.

Police had investigated Kingsbridge’s activities on allegations of fraud by “wealthy clients” between 1992 and 2010.

Detective Superintendent Perry Stokes said at the start of the inquest the losses amounted to more than £25million. He added: ‘We have launched a review into allegations of fraud involving Kingsbridge and associated companies. At the time, he said they were suspected of “conspiring together to abuse their position of trust to defraud”.

“Clients were told the investments were low risk, but turned out to be very, very high risk and put clients at significant risk of harm.”

City of London Police have also confirmed that no further action is being taken against three suspects with links to Kingsbridge, following their arrest by Fraud Squad detectives in 2018. A 61-year-old man was suspected of conspiracy to defraud in Blackburn and two men, aged 60 and 38, were arrested in Nottinghamshire.

A spokesman for Kingsbridge Asset Management said at the time that they “have never sought to benefit financially at the expense of their clients and the alignment of their interests has always been clear”.

The Mirror has approached representatives for Rooney and Ferdinand for comment.

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