Thursday 20 June 2024
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Council leader’s trial date delayed

A trial date is yet to be set for a Nottinghamshire council leader facing 22 charges including fraud, money laundering and possession of cocaine.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), who leads Ashfield District Council, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday (August 18) facing the charges.

The hearing was a plea and trial preparation hearing, but no plea was taken from the council leader and no trial date was set.

The case was adjourned while Cllr Zadrozny’s defence prepares an application to move a potential trial to an alternative court location outside of Nottinghamshire.

This application must be made by September 29 and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has until October 6 to respond to this request.

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Giles Newell, mitigating, did not provide details of the reason for wanting to move the trial outside of the county.

But James Varley, prosecuting, said the “most pressing issue” around the setting of a trial date relates to the venue in question.

He also confirmed during the hearing the CPS has the “complete picture” ready for its case and does not intend to charge anybody else in relation to the allegations.

The politician, of Kirkby, wore a grey suit and a blue shirt and spoke only to confirm his name.

He was released on unconditional bail and will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday, October 27, when a decision on a potential trial venue and date is to be determined.

Twelve of the 22 charges relate to alleged fraud by false misrepresentation, with five counts of money laundering.

A further four charges relate to the council leader allegedly being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax.

The final charge is allegedly possessing cocaine.

Some of the fraud charges relate to the alleged misuse of Nottinghamshire County Council funds between February 2018 and February 2021.

These include allegedly committing fraud by falsely confirming the Ashfield Heritage Society was a “genuine organisation entitled to receive funds from Nottinghamshire County Council” before intending to make personal financial gains.

These are alleged to have taken place on February 14, 2018, with the alleged intention of making a £7,500 gain from the Society; again on August 23, 2018, for £1,600; and again on February 16, 2021, for £625.

Other fraud charges include alleged attempts to withdraw monies from the Ashfield Heritage Society bank account with the alleged intention of personal gain.

This is alleged to have happened on March 21, 2018, with £2,500 allegedly withdrawn; on March 29, 2019, for £3,000; on April 3, 2018, for £2,000; and on November 13, 2018, with £1,600 allegedly withdrawn.

The remaining fraud charges relate to alleged attempts to withdraw money from the bank account of Classic Cinema Club with the alleged intention of making a personal gain.

This is alleged to have taken place on June 4, 2019, with £400 allegedly withdrawn; on June 5, 2019, involving £40; on June 5, 2019, involving £210; and on June 6, 2019, with £500 allegedly withdrawn.

The money laundering charges were alleged to have taken place between April 2018 and June 2019.

These include transferring criminal property, namely £5,000 in cash, to Helen-Ann Smith on April 3, 2018.

Other incidents are alleged to have taken place on November 13, 2018, when £820 and then £760 were allegedly deposited into his personal bank account.

The fourth charge is alleged to have taken place on June 6, 2019, when criminal property, namely £630, was allegedly deposited into his bank account.

The income tax evasion charges relate to £9,685 in rental income not being declared for tax purposes between January 2007 and February 2022.

They relate to properties at 33 High Street, Stanton Hill; 333 Stoneyford Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield; 11 Church Hill; Kirkby-in-Ashfield; and The Flower Shop at 33 High Street, Stanton Hill.

The drug charge relates to the council leader allegedly possessing cocaine on September 10, 2021.

The councillor represents the Summit ward on Ashfield District Council and the Ashfields division at Nottinghamshire County Council.

He has led the district council since 2018 and has been the joint leader of the opposition at the county council since November 2022.

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