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Downing's former agent charged with fraud

The former agent of England footballer Stewart Downing has been charged with five counts of fraud, police said today.

Ian Elliott was arrested in September last year in relation to allegations of financial irregularities made by the former Middlesbrough player.

He also had former Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter on his books, as well as former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne for a short time.

England winger Downing transferred to Aston Villa in the summer following Middlesbrough's relegation from the Premier League and has just returned from a long-term injury.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "A 51-year-old man from the Tyneside area has been charged with five counts of fraud and is due to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court in the new year.''

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