Ex-Oilers owner Pocklington seeks change in release conditions



EDMONTON — Peter Pocklington is seeking a change in the conditions of his release on bankruptcy fraud charges.

According to court documents filed this week in California District Court, the former Edmonton Oilers owner has asked for his million-dollar release bond to be reduced to $200,000.

Pocklington is scheduled to go to trial on his charges June 29, but he said Thursday he expects the matter to be resolved long before that.

The flamboyant entrepreneur confirmed he has signed a plea agreement, which is still being assessed, but he still maintains his innocence.

“I have not been guilty of any of this crap from the start,” he said in a telephone interview from his California residence. “Unfortunately, that’s just the way the U.S. system works, but it will soon be over.”

Pocklington said the application for the reduction in his release bond has already been approved.

The document, called a stipulation, is signed by his lawyer Brent Romney and Sean Lokey, the assistant United States attorney for the Central District of California, but still requires the signature of the presiding judge.

It states that as a result of signing the plea bargain, Pocklington poses less of a flight risk.

“The terms and conditions of the plea agreement are such that the risk that defendant will make himself unavailable for future court appearances has been significantly reduced,” says the document, filed Wednesday in Riverside, Calif.

The original $1-million bond was provided by Pocklington’s friend and former Edmonton Oilers general manager Glen Sather, now with the New York Rangers.

The court documents say the property on which the original bond was secured is expected to be put up for sale, and the lien against the title must be removed for a sale to proceed.

Pocklington, 68, initially was placed under house arrest and had an electronic monitor strapped to his ankle, but that condition was lifted.

He was arrested March 11, 2009, when FBI agents swooped down on his Palm Desert, Calif., home at 8:30 a.m. and roused his family from bed. He was released March 13, 2009.

The Ontario-born businessman declared bankruptcy in August 2008, claiming debts of $19.6 million and assets of about $2,900, including $300 worth of clothing and shoes and $500 worth of trophies and memorabilia.

Among the creditors is the Alberta government, which loaned Pocklington’s meat-packing company, Gainer’s, $2 million in 1988. The province says that with interest, Pocklington now owes Alberta taxpayers nearly $13 million.

An indictment alleges Pocklington failed to disclose to the bankruptcy court two bank accounts, as well as two storage units in Palm Desert. It claims that seven months before a September 2008 hearing in his bankruptcy case, he wrote a series of cheques on an account for a Bahamas investment corporation he never mentioned in his bankruptcy petition.

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