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Whitby Town FC president and racehorse owner jailed for 20 months
A BUSINESSMAN who took tens of thousands of pounds out of his company to fund his lavish lifestyle was branded "greedy" by a judge as he was jailed for 20 months.
Keith Sivills - also well-known in the region as a racehorse owner and football club president - masterminded a £168,000 tax-dodge over three years up to 2010.
On top of that, he took a further £100,000-plus from the business, CB Construction (Cleveland) Ltd, to use for his own purposes, a court heard today (Friday, January 4).
Sivill's barrister, Richard Fisher, told Teesside Crown Court that the 55-year-old was a successful director and was not trying to keep an ailing company afloat.
He described the crimes as "a serious error of judgement on his part" and admitted they were carried out through greed because he "had a certain lifestyle".
Mr Fisher said Sivills had worked with local charities and sports clubs, and had helped people - including those who had been in prison - with employment.
He described the tax evasion as "madness" and said the businessman, from Easington, east Cleveland, had behaved in a selfless way in other aspects of his life.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, told Sivills: "You acted out of greed and have lost your good name and standing in the community, and let everyone down."
Sivills is the president of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League football club, Whitby Town, and has owned a number of national hunt racehorses in the past.
He admitted making false statements on accounts between 2007 and 2010, and on VAT returns between 2008 and 2009, when he appeared in court on an earlier occasion.
The court heard that he created false invoices to pocket money for himself, and wrote out company cheques for cash, as well as submitting false tax returns.
The Northern Echo understands Sivills does not currently have any horses in training, but had three hurdlers which won in the 2010-11 jump season.
Black Jacari, Pickworth and Avanos were all trained by Philip Kirby, who is based at Dibble Bridge, outside Castleton, near Whitby, North Yorkshire.