The boss of an exclusive cell phone company reportedly boasted how his company could change cell phone records for its wealthy customers – claiming thousands were paid to a Vodafone employee for football player Rio Ferdinand’s phone details during an investigation into his missed drug test.
John Shepherd, who runs Sport Mobile, claimed that a £ 20,000 secret payment had been made to a Vodafone employee as evidence of an FA investigation into the former defender of Manchester United and England, the Times reports today.
As part of an undercover investigation, the newspaper also reports that Shepherd allegedly assisted Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who also owns Premier League party Newcastle United, during his civil suit with a former business partner.
The Times reports that it understands that Mr. Ashley and Mr. Ferdinand categorically deny Mr. Shepherd’s boasting, which denies any wrongdoing and allegations of the allegations – allegedly included in an undercover recording obtained by the Times.
MailOnline contacted representatives for all three men for comment, but had received no response this morning.
John Shepherd, who runs Sport Mobile, claimed that a £ 20,000 secret payment had been made to a Vodafone employee as evidence of an FA investigation into Rio Ferdinand (photo), the Times reports today.
As part of an undercover investigation, the newspaper also reports Shepherd’s claim that he helped Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who also owns Premier League party Newcastle United, during his civil lawsuit with a former business partner
Part of the Times report relates to an incident in 2003 when Rio Ferdinand, an English international and the most expensive defender of the Premiership – now Premier League – in football, missed a drug test in September of that year.
Ferdinand claimed that he had forgotten the test during a move and had gone shopping, but later contacted the club to offer to take the test.
He gave a sample two days later – which turned out to be negative.
In December 2003, he was banned for eight months, fined £ 50,000 and sentenced to an estimated cost of £ 250,000 after a two-day disciplinary hearing from the Football Association for missing the drug test.
The independent tribunal found Mr. Ferdinand guilty of misconduct after failing to take the test at United’s Carrington training area, despite being selected to give a sample to British sports doping officials.
An important point during the hearing and afterwards was the use of a mobile phone by the defender, who he said had called the Manchester United team doctor. There were also questions about whether his cell phone was on or off at the time.
In December 2003, Ferdinand (photo 2002) was banned for eight months, fined £ 50,000 and ordered to pay an estimated £ 250,000 in charges following a two-day disciplinary hearing from the Football Association for missing the drug test
A delay in receiving Mr. Ferdinand’s phone information led FA officials to consider accusing the defender of deliberately circumventing a drug test.
And in the FA Tribunal’s 37-page verdict, released 17 days after the panel announced the ban, it suggested that the panel didn’t believe Mr. Ferdinand had simply forgotten the test.
Shepherd has now claimed to customers that a Vodafone employee was paid £ 22,500 for phone data used in the case of Mr. Ferdinand, the Times reports. However, Mr. Ferdinand’s former agent dismissed the claims as “bravado”
Shepherd has now claimed to customers that a Vodafone employee was paid £ 22,500 for phone data used in the case of Mr. Ferdinand, the Times reports.
However, Mr. Ferdinand’s former agent has dismissed the claims as “bravado.”
Shepherd is also alleged to have “protected” phone data that Mike Ashley requested in 2017 in a fight with his former business partner Jeffrey Blue.
The case, which was won by Mr Ashley, was brought up by Mr Jeffrey for allegations that Mr Ashley had agreed to pay him £ 15 million if his company’s stock price reached £ 8.
Mr. Ashley claimed it was “banter” and that no formal agreement had been made. A judge sided with him, saying no one would have thought his comments were “serious.”
During the case, Sports Mobile was asked to provide phone information to Mr. Ashley, but said they couldn’t.
Former employees and customers told the Times they believe that Sport Mobile’s systems can be used to change billing information for other customers, while an industry expert said it was “easy” to change records when asked , reports the newspaper.