Date: 19th September 2008 at 12:40pm
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The proposed takeover of Wednesday by a consortium led by Geoff Sheard has taken another twist today with the revelation of the involvement of a convicted money launderer.

Richard Francis Downes, imprisoned in 2002 for conspiracy to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars, is the man responsible for producing a letter in the name of an offshore bank in Dominica to provide proof of funding for the takeover.

Downes, originally from Ormskirk, Lancashire, also known as Richard Francis, admitted his involvement with the proposed takeover to the Yorkshire Post, but Sheard denied to have any association with him.

And Wednesday also confirmed that Downes’ name was used by Sheard when he started negotiations earlier this year.

Downes, now based in Alicante and refused entry back in to the USA unless permission is granted from the Attorney General, also revealed that he’d looked in to investing in Chester City and promised to help the club to the heights of the Championship using funding from the Private Capital Bank in Dominica – the same bank being used with the Owls’ takeover.

Sheard used the letter as proof of funding for the Owls’ four main shareholders, former chairman Dave Allen, fans’ group Wednesdayite, Geoff Hulley and Keith Addy.

All four had agreed to sell their shares should Sheard’s backers come up with the promised money and have it legally verified, although Sheard later revealed that it was just a means of ‘getting a foot in the door’ when confronted by the Yorkshire Post that PCB was not an operational bank, and claims that Sheard knows the bank’s owner appear to be false.

The promised takeover at Hillsborough now appears to be at a critical stage – with Sheard’s hopes of invesment appearing to be at fading fast.