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Bankrupt buy-to-let mogul hid assets from creditors

Notorious former property mogul Simon Morris, whose wealth propelled him into the Sunday Times Rich List before a fall from grace led to bankrupty, has been given a suspended 20-month prison sentence after hiding £1.5m of cash and gold bullion in Swiss bank accounts.

He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and placed on an electronically monitored curfew between 8.30pm and 5am for four months.

The former director of Leeds United Football Club pleaded guilty to two offences under the Insolvency Act. A day before the hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, he agreed to pay £500,000 to the trustee of bankruptcy.

Simon Batiste, prosecuting, told the court that Morris’s creditors were prepared to accept the amount, meaning they will receive between 1p and 2p in the pound of the money he owes.

The court heard how Morris, 35, faced a financial “nightmare” when the property market began to collapse and the Bank of Ireland began to call in a debt of £2.6m.

He remortgaged properties and gave away cash to business associates and family members in a bid to deceive creditors and the official receiver. The Bank of Ireland put 12 of Morris’s properties into administration in October 2008.

Last week, Morris also admitted a charge of failing to disclose property to the official receiver between October 8, 2009, and December 14, 2010.

Morris owned Morris Properties, which made £15.4m profit in 2005/6, and Morris was said to have amassed a fortune of £69m by the age of 30. However, his company collapsed with £50m of debts and Morris was made bankrupt in 2009.

He had specialised in student flats, advertising deals to novice buy-to-let investors which – it turned out – were too good to be true.

Morris now lives in Ilford, Essex, the court heard, and has a new job working in London.

This is how the Yorkshire Evening Post reported the case:

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