Plymouth Argyle acting chairman Peter Ridsdale on fraud charges
ACTING Plymouth Argyle chairman Peter Ridsdale has appeared in court on trading and fraud charges.
Mr Ridsdale faces three criminal charges over a controversial ticket scheme which was run by Cardiff City Football Club last season.
The 59-year-old said he would "vehemently rebuff" the allegations, brought against him by Cardiff Council.
The authority's Trading Standards department has charged Mr Ridsdale with two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and another under the Fraud Act 2006.
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Mr Ridsdale was Cardiff City's chairman when the club announced a 'Golden Ticket' scheme in December 2009.
It offered fans purchasing season tickets early a full refund if the club gained promotion to the Premier League, promising to spend the proceeds on players in the January 2010 transfer window.
But on January 27 last year the Bluebirds published a statement on their website saying no players would be bought.
The club was under a transfer embargo at the time, imposed by the Football League because of debts including £1.3m in unpaid tax.
Mr Ridsdale stood down as chairman in May last year when a Malaysian consortium took over the club.
He was first spotted at Home Park the following October, when Argyle's then directors were searching for investment.
Mr Ridsdale was announced as a 'football consultant' to Argyle's former board in December, leading takeover talks before becoming acting chairman and acting chief executive after the Pilgrims entered administration in March.
He appeared at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning to confirm his full name – Robert Peter Ridsdale – and his address.
It was indicated he would plead not guilty.
The case was adjourned until July 22 for a committal hearing.
Cardiff council's legal team has indicated it wants the case to be heard at a crown court.
Conviction could carry a custodial sentence.
Speaking after the case, Mr Ridsdale told The Herald: "I will totally and vigorously refute all the charges and will go back in July to vehemently rebuff them."
The charges are:
Being knowingly or recklessly engaged in a commercial practice which contravenes the requirements of professional diligence under Regulation 33a of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Materially distorted or was likely to materially distort the economic behaviour of the average consumer with regard to a product, namely season tickets, contrary to Regulation 8 and 13 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
Being a trade engaged in a commercial practice which by omission was misleading under Regulation 6 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in that its factual context omitted material information, namely that they were subject to an embargo imposed by the Football Association on the registration of new players at the said Football Club and as a result caused or was likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise, contrary to Regulation 10 and 13 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
Committed fraud in that you dishonestly made a false representation, namely the sale of season tickets intending to make a gain, namely using revenue to purchase new players, contrary to Sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.