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Former Gillingham FC vice chairman Michael Anderson, of West Malling, faces extradition over US fraud allegations


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The former vice chairman of Gillingham FC is facing extradition to the United States where he has been charged with a multi-million pound fraud.

Businessman Michael Anderson appeared via videolink before Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon after being arrested at Heathrow Airport last Friday when returning from a holiday in Portugal.

Michael Anderson (left) with chairman Paul Scally before he left the club
Michael Anderson (left) with chairman Paul Scally before he left the club

Police apprehended him after American authorities issued an Interpol 'red notice' against his name.

He initially appeared in court on Saturday morning where he was remanded into custody at Wandsworth Prison in south west London.

Today District Judge Gareth Branston agreed he could be released on bail after his family agreed to pay £400,000.

The prosecution had argued the 68-year-old, who has UK and Irish passports, was "likely to abscond".

But Ben Watson, defending, said his client was a well-known public figure who had travelled extensively during the years US authorities had wanted him and had always returned to his £2.8 million West Malling home.

He appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court. Picture: Google
He appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court. Picture: Google

Anderson faces charges of conspiring to defraud Tricare – a US government healthcare programme for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families.

The alleged crimes are said to have taken place between June 2014 and December 2015 in Florida and amount to nearly £4.4 million. He is also charged with two counts of money laundering.

The company boss, whose address was given as Broadwater Road, ran a Florida-based drugs company and has been indicted by a grand jury.

It is claimed he and and conspirators generated false prescriptions before submitting fraudulent reimbursement claims.

Addressing Anderson as he sat in his cell, District Judge Branston set a series of bail conditions.

Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium. Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium. Picture: Keith Gillard

He must abide by a curfew between midnight and 4am, not leave England and Wales and not go to any airport, seaport or international rail station.

Mr Watson told the court his client was an unwell man currently going through an amicable divorce with wife Sophie who was present in court.

In recent years, he'd suffered two heart attacks and had to have six stents fitted.

Furthermore, he was hospitalised with Covid-19 between December and January when he also developed pneumonia.

Mr Watson also pointed out that US authorities had wanted Anderson for questioning since September 2017, but had made little effort to approach him directly.

Michael Anderson was arrested at Heathrow Airport after flying in from Portugal
Michael Anderson was arrested at Heathrow Airport after flying in from Portugal

This was despite the fact they also had him detained in Dubai in 2019 but did not follow through with an extradition application.

Anderson, who could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted, only spoke to confirm his name and thank the judge for agreeing to bail.

Also present in court were three of his daughters, his brother and a family friend. He will next appear for a case management hearing on August 5.

As previously reported, Anderson had to pass the Football Association's "fit and proper person test" after he was investigated in relation to two other football clubs before his links with Gillingham.

He was involved with Hampshire side Aldershot Town and Southern League Premier Division outfit Kettering Town when they got into financial difficulties.

Michael Anderson is accused of fraud
Michael Anderson is accused of fraud

He quit as a director of Championship side Ipswich Town after just three days in 2006.

When the Florida allegations were revealed to to a shocked Gills' chairman Paul Scally in September 2017, Anderson agreed to step down as vice chairman with immediate effect.

At the time he said: "I'm sorry but I am unable to comment on the ongoing investigation.

"As soon as I am vindicated, I will be pleased to give you a statement."

In August 2019 the club removed him from the board of directors after an extraordinary general meeting.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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