Money with menaces case: hotel boss denies demanding £500,000

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A BUSINESSMAN who has accused a Burnley hotel boss and two others of a £500,000 extortion bid has denied lying to Scottish police about being wanted in the Middle East over fraud claims.

Richard Cox (59) says he did not mislead a detective constable who was probing claims that he was facing criminal action in the United Arab Emirates.

Authorities there suspect him of writing a cheque for almost one million dollars which bounced shortly before he left the Gulf state in February 2010.

Writing financial orders that cannot be cashed is illegal in the UAE and police there want to question him in connection with the alleged offence.

The international finance expert was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Mohammed Asjad (40) of Reedley Road, Burnley, whose company RMA Developments owns the Keirby Hotel, Mark Putterill (36), of Colne Road, Brierfield, and Ian Williams (49), of Station Road, Padiham.

The trio have all pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted extortion and robbing Mr Cox, an Indian citizen, of £120.

The High Court in Edinburgh was read transcript of an email sent in February 2011 from a Fife Constabulary detective constable.

The officer asked Mr Cox, of Dunfermline, Fife, whether he was wanted in the UAE in connection with the fraud allegation. But Mr Cox said he was not.

Defence solicitor advocate John Scott QC asked Mr Cox whether he had misled the police officer.

But Mr Cox denied the claim saying that it was “entirely false and unwarranted.”

It is alleged that at Mr Cox’s house in Fife, on November 8th 2010, the three men entered uninvited with the intention of menacing him.

The prosecution claims that Mr Cox was then pushed, repeatedly struck on the head with a knuckle-duster, shown a knife and a pair of scissors and faced threats that his attackers would kill him unless he paid them the equivalent of £500,000 in Arab Emirate Dirhams.

Prosecutors claim Mr Cox was forced to sign a contract agreeing to pay the sum – roughly half a million pounds – within three weeks.

His attackers also allegedly said they would kill him if he went to the police.

(Proceeding)