Derby County investor Jeffrey Martinovich's fraud trial in US is pushed back
THE trial of an American businessman who helped finance the takeover of Derby County has been pushed back to allow his defence team more time to prepare.
Jeffrey Martinovich had been due to appear before a US court next Tuesday after being indicted on multiple counts of fraud, relating to investments in a solar energy company.
Martinovich was one of four American investors who gave financial backing to the takeover of the Rams in January, 2008, by General Sports and Entertainment.
The 46-year-old managed a now defunct investment fund called MICG, which paid five million dollars for 50,000 shares in General Sports Derby, the firm set up to run the club.
The deal gave MICG a less than 10% stake in Derby County.
Martinovich was indicted on 26 counts of fraud by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in October and bailed.
Since then, his defence lawyers have been reviewing thousands of documents associated with the case.
But due to the high volume of paperwork, Martinovich's defence informed the Newport News federal court, in Virginia, that it would not be ready in time for next week's trial. The case has now been rescheduled for April 9.
If found guilty of all charges, Martinovich could face a jail sentence of 520 years, as each charge carries a 20-year jail sentence.
Derby County has previously said that the legal action against Martinovich would have no impact on the running of the club.
The Rams said although as a company MICG once had a small shareholding in the club, Martinovich was not an individual shareholder.
The charges Martinovich faces include "mail fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and unlawful monetary transactions".
They relate to alleged fraud involving mismanagement of a hedge fund called MICG Venture Strategies.