BARNSLEY Football Club's owner made his millions by fiddling an IT firm’s accounts to mislead the stock market, a court was told.

Patrick Cryne is alleged to have headed up an IT firm which 'cooked the books' to bury bad news and hoodwink investors.

The 62-year-old, together with colleagues Stephen Graham, 49, Timothy Whiston, 45, and John Whelan, 46, allegedly spun a web of lies in the published accounts of healthcare software provider, iSoft.

All four deny charges of conspiracy to make misleading statements or forecasts.

On Wednesday, Southwark Crown Court was told the plot was 'hatched in a smoke-filled room' and enabled Cryne, the firm's chief executive, and his director of operations, Graham, to become multimillionaires when they sold their shares.

Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, said the four men had deliberately included revenue from software contracts which had yet to be received in their published accounts, transforming a 'thumping loss' into a 'highly respectable profit'.

"This case is an allegation that these defendants were telling lies to then public about the financial health of their company," said Mr Latham. "In other words, burying bad news. The lies were contained in its accounts, published to the world. The accounts or books were, in effect, cooked."

Mr Latham said the plot was the result of a combination of 'arrogance, ambition, pride and greed' and alleged the conspiracy 'lasted for months and turned into years'.

Cryne has become unwell since proceedings started and was not in court.

The trial, which is expected to conclude before August, continues.