Friday, 22 August 2008

Gangster John Gizzi yesterday blamed the credit crunch for stopping him paying back his ill gotten gains to the state.

John Gizzi yesterday blamed the credit crunch for stopping him paying back his ill gotten gains to the state.Lawyers for Gizzi, 36, also blamed bad headlines in the media on him being unable to sell his house in St Asaph to raise the full amount of cash he owes.The 36-year-old faces a default sentence of eight years unless he finds £2.6m under a proceeds of crime order made against him in March last year for every asset he owned.At a Proceeds of Crime Hearing to discuss why the money had not yet been paid back yesterday, Prestatyn court heard that so far £300,000 had been realised.But several offers had been made and withdrawn for his principal asset, Bronwylfa Hall at St Asaph. Originally it was offered at £1.75m, but was now “a bargain,” the court heard.District Judge Andrew Shaw agreed to adjourn the case until the end of September.He said the reason why he was allowing the adjournment of the default hearing was that Gizzi had not been shown to have wilfully obstructed the sale of any of his assets.Gizzi was locked up for five and a half years in January 2006 for wounding, assault and conspiracy to supply counterfeit cigarettes.
At the time police described him as a bully who preyed on the vulnerable and who was regarded locally as an untouchable millionaire crook. They had vowed publicly to relieve him of his ill-gotten gains.Kathleen Greenwood, seeking recovery of the assets, told the judge it was correct no criticism of Gizzi could be made for the withdrawal of offers for the mansion.Ian Till, for Gizzi, said lurid headlines had appeared about the property and it had been close to sale as recently as last week, but fell through. Market forces and headlines had worked against him. But it was now the subject of a new offer.“Mr Gizzi shares the frustration of the assets recovery team,” declared Mr Till.Six houses had been sold, offers had been made for some other properties, and a watch was being sold at a specialist auction. “Mr Gizzi is wanting desperately to realise these assets,” said Mr Till.
There was a large police presence at the court. Several members of the Gizzi family were in the public seats and John Gizzi smiled frequently to them through the glass screen of the dock.At the end of the hearing he was handcuffed and led away to return to prison.The hearing was adjourned until the end of September, but the case will also come before a judge at Mold Crown Court earlier in the month.


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