Belfast boxer tells court he wasn’t aware of allegation
Carl Frampton's current management company had alleged links with a suspected crime boss, the High Court was told on Tuesday.
As the boxer's multi-million pound legal battle with ex-manager Barry McGuigan continued, he was challenged about any connections between his new representatives and Dubliner Daniel Kinahan.
Counsel for Mr McGuigan, Liam McCollum QC, put it to Mr Frampton that MTK Global could be seen as a "front" for a criminal organisation.
"I'm not aware of that," the boxer replied.
When it was claimed that one of those allegedly involved with MTK was Kinahan, a suspected crime boss, he said: "I've heard the stories... I don't suspect anything."
Later, he added: "I don't make judgments. Do you believe everything you read in the papers?"
The Belfast fighter is seeking up to £6 million in alleged withheld earnings during his eight-year partnership with Mr McGuigan.
His action 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 for alleged breach of contact when he split from the company in 2017.
The two sports stars, who worked together for eight years, deny the respective allegations against them.
Earlier, the court heard Mr Frampton allegedly saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by under-declaring purses for contests in America.
The boxer was told it amounted to false accounting which would be classed as a criminal offence in the UK.
As cross-examination continued, he was probed about earnings from his first fight against Leo Santa Cruz in New York in July 2016, when he defeated the Mexican to claim the world featherweight title.
The court was told that his purse for the bout was 1.5m US dollars, but that only 500,000 dollars was declared.
According to Mr McCollum, it was Mr Frampton who wanted to put in the lower figure.
In reply the boxer insisted it had been a joint decision, based on advice from his ex-manager.
But the barrister maintained: "You were the one who wanted it brought down as much as possible because you were the beneficiary of it.
"That actually saved you 300,000 dollars.
"When you sign the document for that purse, you knew that signing a document saying your purse was 500,000 dollars was a lie."
Mr Frampton replied: "I knew that, but my team also knew that."
At that point Mr Justice Huddleston said he wanted to "get to the bottom of this".
"I am going to ask a subsequent question around the payment of UK tax which obviously will raise its head," he added.
"Whether it's for Mr Frampton or for his advisers, that is on my long list of questions coming up."
Following the judicial intervention Mr McCollum continued by submitting that the fighter had realised his declared earnings were untrue.
"You knew that someone was going to ask you for less money as a result of that," he said.
Mr Frampton insisted it only related to America, and that he paid his taxes in the UK.
But the barrister told him: "You know that was dishonest, and in fact if that was in this country it would be a criminal offence."
"In this country, of you falsely account about something, dishonesty, that is a criminal offence. It's called false accounting. You did that."
The boxer responded: "Not in this country, no."
It was claimed that he made a further tax saving by declarations made on the rematch with Santa Cruz in Las Vegas the following February.
His claim centres on an alleged conflict of interest between Mr McGuigan's dual role as manager and promoter.
Mr Frampton also claims he never received a 30% profit share promised to him when he signed up as a director of another Northern Irish-based Cyclone company.
When it was put to him that the alleged offer was nowhere in writing, he answered: "You're fighting for your purse so much you kind of forget about the rest of the money you're owed.
"It's almost like you should be grateful to get a purse you're entitled to."
Mr McCollum stressed, however: "There's emails and texts all over the papers, and there's not one reference to request by you for any payment in respect of any 30% profit of any shows, isn't that right?"
The boxer answered that the alleged promises were "orally made".
Earlier in the case, Mr Frampton said the final straw in his deteriorating relationship with Mr McGuigan came when he received a VAT bill for almost £400,000.
But according to Mr McCollum, Cyclone Promotions had regularly advised him of his tax responsibilities.
He told the fighter: "You're a big boy, Mr Frampton, it's up to you to look after your VAT."
The case continues.