Fraud-accused ex-footballer boasted to retired player about ‘colossal sums’

A former Premier League star boasted of making “colossal sums” of money to another retired footballer who invested in his £15 million scam, a court has heard.

Ex-Charlton Athletic defender Richard Rufus, 47, allegedly claimed he was a successful foreign exchange trader to dupe friends, family members and associates.

Southwark Crown Court has heard he promised returns of 60% a year but lost money “hand over fist”, using other investors’ money to pay any returns in a pyramid scheme.

Former Chelsea defender Paul Elliott, 58, told jurors on Thursday he was on the board of Charlton’s charitable trust when Rufus was invited to become an ambassador after he was forced into retirement in 2004 with a knee injury.

Former Celtic footballer Paul Elliott
Former Celtic footballer Paul Elliott (PA)

He told the court he had learned of Rufus’s “methodology” in 2008 when he told him he had been trading for friends, family and members of his church.

“He had created his own design, his own style, his own intellectual property that enabled him to be very, very successful,” Mr Elliott said.

“Hence, he was clear to say he had made colossal sums of money for his church, for friends and family.

“And he also said there were other professional colleagues he had made substantial funds for.”

Rufus claimed he had been “headhunted” by global financial firms including Barclays and Coutts Bank, and said other footballers had also invested with him, the witness said.

“He said obviously that was confidential,” Mr Elliott added.

“He just said other footballers I would be familiar with if he was to disclose them but obviously he protected their confidentiality.”

The court has previously heard Rufus told another investor that former England and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand, 44, had invested with him.

Mr Elliott paid Rufus a total of £425,000 between October 2008 and February 2011, getting back £460,000 but prosecutor Lucy Organ previously said the returns were not paid from successful trading but out of conning more people into investing in the scheme.

She said Rufus also used some of the total £15 million invested for his own purposes, enjoying the “trappings of wealth”, living in a big five-bedroom house on a private estate in Purley, south London, driving a Bentley and wearing a Rolex watch.

Rufus, from Crystal Palace, south-east London, denies three counts of fraud, using around £2 million in criminal property and carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation, between May 2007 and April 2012.

The trial continues.

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