A couple in charge of a firm supplying power to more than 100,000 homes are facing fraud charges, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Keith and Maria Bastian, who run energy supplier Outfox The Market, are awaiting trial on 11 charges of fraud and commercial malpractice linked to separate companies called Fischer Future Heat and Premier Radiators.
The couple have courted extensive publicity for their businesses, sponsoring corporate events attended by celebrities such as Gary Lineker, and signing deals with Leicester Tigers to display Fischer Future Heat on their rugby kit.
There is no suggestion that either Lineker or Leicester Tigers are linked to the allegations.
The claims made against the couple and the other defendants include allegations of fraud and aggressive sales practices which involved ‘harassment, coercion or undue influence’ committed with ‘consent, connivance or was attributable to some neglect’.
Keith and Maria Bastian are awaiting trial on 11 charges of fraud and commercial malpractice linked to separate companies called Fischer Future Heat and Premier Radiators
The charges have been brought by Leicester City Council’s trading standards team, with a pre-trial hearing due to take place on November 19, ahead of a trial next year.
In one case, documents submitted to Leicester Crown Court allege that a salesman for Fischer Future Heat offered to take a customer to the bank to pay for a heating system before they could change their mind.
Last night, Mr Bastian said information contained in the court-issued charge sheet – seen by The Mail on Sunday – was ‘incorrect’.
Pressed to say what was incorrect, he declined to offer any further comment. The defendants have previously denied all charges, which they said have arisen from a flawed investigation.
There is no suggestion the allegations extend to Outfox The Market or any other company associated with the Bastians.
Mr Bastian is listed as a current or former director of 17 different companies.
The Indian-born businessman and his Spanish wife, both 56, began supplying power through Fischer Energy in 2016. Fischer Energy is separate to Fischer Future Heat and is not part of the proceedings.
In one case, documents submitted to Leicester Crown Court (pictured) allege that a salesman for Fischer Future Heat offered to take a customer to the bank to pay for a heating system before they could change their mind
Three years later, Fischer Energy rebranded as Foxglove Energy, before again changing its name last year to Outfox The Market. Its offices are located on a rundown industrial estate in Leicester.
The council said: ‘The eight-week trial was due to commence on September 27, 2021. However, following a hearing on August 21, the court advised all parties that it could no longer be accommodated.
‘All parties agreed that due to the issues and complexity of the case, the time estimate for the trial should be extended to ten weeks and as such the trial has now been listed to take place on August 30, 2022.’