Former Premier League footballer Richard Rufus appeared in court yesterday charged over an alleged multi-million pound fraud.

Rufus, 44, appeared at Southwark Crown Court in central London charged with fraud by false representation, possession of £5.3 million of criminal property, and carrying on a regulated activity when not an authorised or exempt person.

The scheme allegedly went on between 2007 and 2012.

The former Charlton Athletic defender, who also won six England Under 21 caps, sat in court wearing a dark pinstriped suit, a white shirt and dark blue tie.

He spoke quietly, giving his name, address, and nationality as British.

The hearing, which was scheduled to set bail, was adjourned to give Rufus more time to find legal representation.

Judge David Tomlinson, frustrated at how long the case was taking, said: "It's said a lot of people, some of them you know quite well, invested a lot of money with you and that money has disappeared.

"I imagine there's quite a considerable deficit in this case.

"You were adamant that you were not guilty of any wrongdoing.

"We're now four years down the line and it does not look as though we can do very much today."

While Rufus did not enter a plea, a provisional trial date has been set for June next year.

He will next have to appear on October 3 and has been released on unconditional bail Judge Tomlinson said: "You must be here on October 3, you must be ready today that you are guilty or not guilty at that appearance.

"You have known for a very long time that you were highly likely to be accused of these offences."