A FORMER Premier League footballer and his three brothers used £26,000 raised from their charity for personal shopping sprees, a court heard today.
Sam Sodje, 37, who played in the top flight for Reading during the 2006/07 season, was involved in the Sodje Sports Foundation from 2008, when it was set up to raise money for Nigerian sport.
But he, along with his brothers Efe, 34 Stephen, 42, and Bright, 50, are alleged to have used money raised for their own benefit.
They are each charged with one count of carrying on a business or a company with intent to defraud creditors, or for another fraudulent purpose.
Appearing today at Westminster Magistrates' Court, all four brothers denied any wrongdoing.
According to the charges, the offences occurred between April 2008 and August 2013.
As a registered charity, the Foundation enjoyed tax exemptions and other benefits.
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Paul Chamberlain, prosecuting, said: 'They are all charged effectively with fraudulent trading relating to a charity they ran called the Sodje Sports Foundation.'
A former Nigerian international, Sam also made appearance for Watford, West Brom, Reading, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, Notts County and Portsmouth.
His brother Efe Sodje represented Nigeria in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and the 2002 World Cup.
Domestically, he played for clubs including Luton Town, Colchester United, Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield Town, Yeovil Town, Southend United, Gillingham and Bury.
He left the role of assistant manager at Macclesfield Town FC in July on this year.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot declined jurisdiction, and set a Plea trial and preparation hearing date of December 12 at the Old Bailey.
All three deny the charges.
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