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COURT CASE 'Society at large' needs to examine boxer Carl Frampton's ties to Kinahan-founded company, a court has been told

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Boxing promoter, Barry McGuigan arrives at Belfast High Court on Wednesday. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

Boxing promoter, Barry McGuigan arrives at Belfast High Court on Wednesday. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

Boxing promoter, Barry McGuigan arrives at Belfast High Court on Wednesday. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

BOXER Carl Frampton’s current managerial arrangements with have put him “in league” with a notorious Dublin crime gang, a court was told yesterday.

Mr Frampton, a 33-year-old former two-weight world champion, is suing for alleged withheld earnings during their eight-year relationship.

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

A counter lawsuit has been filed against Mr Frampton, accusing him of a breach of contract over his split from the company in 2017.

Both men deny the respective allegations against them.

In a submission yesterday, counsel for Mr McGuigan said that it was important for “society at large” to examine the boxer’s current managerial ties with MTK Global.

MTK Global was part-founded by crime boss Daniel Kinahan – however the company have previously claimed Kinahan no longer plays any role in the business.

Referring to findings made by an Irish court and press reports, counsel claimed that the company has ties with alleged Dublin-based crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

“If worldwide sporting stars are to put themselves in league with people like this, where is the world going to?” he asked.

“This is a way of endorsing organised crime in the most difficult way.

“What we have now is someone who has become a worldwide sporting star, a very privileged individual, he can sit in the witness box and blandly defend his connection with those people. He’s supposed to be a role model for our children, but he has certainly, in my submission, let the side down.

“If that’s what he thinks is alright, and he seems to think it was, his moral compass is set at a very, very low level indeed.”

Mr McGuigan began giving evidence at the multimillion-pound legal battle yesterday, with the court being told that Mr Frampton had wrongly blackened the name of a former mentor who raised him out of obscurity and guided him to global stardom.

Barry McGuigan told the High Court that he treated Carl Frampton “like he was one of my boys”.

This was before, Mr McGuigan’s barrister stated, Mr Frampton revealed himself to be a “greedy, ungrateful hypocrite”.

Mr McGuigan denied wanting to make a fortune out of the Belfast fighter or promising him a 30% cut on profits from shows.

“It’s just nonsense. He was front and centre of our organisation and my mindset every single day of the week, and his success, was imperative to me,” he said.

Mr McGuigan, himself a former world champion, told how he saw potential in the fledgling boxer and agreed to pay £20,000 to become his manager.

During their early days working together, he organised and footed the bill for Mr Frampton’s sparring sessions, travelling to gyms across England.

Entering the witness box on day nine of the case, Mr McGuigan told Mr Justice Huddleston: “I paid for all his expenses.”

The boxer also stayed at the McGuigans’ home in Kent.

“My wife would have prepared him meals. She would have washed his clothes and we would have taken care of him like one of the kids. I treated him like he was one of my boys,” he said.

The action centres on an alleged conflict of interest in Mr McGuigan’s dual role as manager and promoter. Mr Frampton testified that he signed up as a director of another Northern Irish-based Cyclone company on the promise of a 30% profit share which was never received.

Throughout his evidence he maintained that he acted on the basis of trust.

But when the alleged “enticement” was put to Mr McGuigan, he replied: “It’s just nonsense.”

His barrister Liam McCollum QC then asked: “Would you have been in any position to offer him any percentage of the profits of the shows?”

Mr McGuigan responded: “No.”

Opening his client’s defence to the lawsuit, Mr McCollum branded claims made by the boxer “a disgrace”.

“Without proper evidence to back up these allegations, he has simply sought to blacken the McGuigan name with what are very serious allegations of fraud, theft and dishonesty,” the barrister submitted.

“These allegations have been quite improperly made against the people who raised Mr Frampton from the ashes of obscurity in Belfast and promoted him to be a worldwide sporting star.

“They went to extreme sacrifices to promote his career, particularly in the early days, and they secured fame and fortune for him. How does he repay this favour they did for him? He just threw it all back in their faces.

“In these proceedings he has shown himself to be what he is: he’s a greedy, ungrateful hypocrite.”

The hearing continues.

Belfast Telegraph