Former Charlton Athletic defender Richard Rufus was branded a fraudster by a civil court judge at the high court in London.

The former centre half, who played more than 300 times for the club, was involved in a ponzi-style scheme, according to a report in The Guardian.

Bankruptcy registrar Clive Jones put restrictions on 40-year-old Rufus’s business dealings for the next 15 years, but said it was not for him to decide if the ex-footballer should face criminal proceedings.

The court was told Rufus took more than £16million from investors from 2007-2011.

He had lost more than £5million through currency exchange trading and used more than £3million for his “own purposes”.

Registrar Jones said Rufus misused cash given to him from two London churches he had links with. He said Rufus had done what was “in substance a fraud”.

The scheme was a disaster, with investors losing more than £8million. Rufus had been made bankrupt in 2013 and discharged a year later.

The restrictions placed on Rufus will severely hamper his monetary dealings, barring him from being a company director and getting credit of more than £500.

The judge said Rufus’s case was “particularly serious”.