Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

King of Northern Irish porn who fled over £2m tax bill dies in exile

Frank Young, who was being pursued by tax authorities
Frank Young, who was being pursued by tax authorities

He was Northern Ireland's self-confessed king of pornography.

Frank Young – who ran a multi-million pound business including a string of adult shops, mail-order companies and Ulster's first X-rated magazine – died at his Marbella mansion earlier this week after a short illness.

Mr Young spent a large part of his time there having fled Northern Ireland in 2007 following an investigation into £2m of unpaid taxes. The entrepreneur and his partner, Jayne Culbertson, also owned a sprawling property in the Co Antrim village of Ballybogey, just outside Ballymoney.

It was from there Mr Young previously ran the lucrative business which resulted in him appearing before the courts on numerous occasions.

The former newspaper sales executive, turned top-shelf magazine magnate, boasted a garage housing an extensive collection of expensive vehicles including a Hummer 4x4.

Mr Young – who was in his late 50s when he died – started Northern Ireland's first adult magazine, Esprit, in the late 1980s, which featured local women baring all.

He went on to open a number of sex shops in Belfast, the Republic and Scotland. He owned three in Dublin and another in Glasgow.

He fought long-running battles with Belfast City Council for the right to sell porn from his Gresham Street stores – with councillors set against the blue movie industry.

It was in 2005 that Mr Young's jet-setting life came under the scrutiny of the Inland Revenue.

A family member revealed Mr Young was earning much more than he was officially declaring from his lucrative mail order business.

The relative told an industrial tribunal hearing that his name had been forged on documents kept at Companies House relating to Sharman Enterprises Ltd.

Customs officers raided Mr Young's home and trading premises and seized a huge haul of illegal videos and recording equipment. It was reported the Inland Revenue was pursuing Mr Young for around £2m in unpaid taxes over a 20-year period.

The High Court subsequently placed a restraining order on his assets, including his Ballybogey mansion and holiday home in Marbella. At the time the investigations into Mr Young's financial affairs were launched, a former employee told a newspaper: "Frank thinks he's clever in trying to distance himself from the business, but his luck may have run out."

Back in 2001 he was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and fined over £3,000 after being convicted of possessing illegal and unclassified adult porn at two of his Belfast shops.

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