Sulaiman Al Fahim’s projected takeover of Portsmouth is under threat from a Premier League investigation.
The Abu Dhabi-based property tycoon has submitted all the relevant documentation required to pass the Premier League’s ‘fit and proper person’s test’ and expects to be given the all-clear tomorrow.
However, the League want further clarification about misleading statements from Al Fahim.
Al Fahim had initially claimed that the takeover would be funded by a group of Middle Eastern and Asian investors, which raised concerns over a possible link with disgraced former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
Later it was claimed Falcon Equity, a Swiss-based private-equity partnership, which has a number of European investors, was the vehicle being used to purchase the club.
To add further confusion to the buy-out, Al Fahim eventually claimed he was the sole investor and would finance the deal with his own cash.
Officials at Portsmouth expect the takeover to be completed early this week.
Exclusive by Paul Smith 19/07/2009
Premier League investigation could cause further delays in Portsmouth takeover
The English Premier League investigation could cause Sulamain Al-Fahim’s proposed takeover of Portsmouth to fall through, as reported by The Mirror.
Despite the fact that Al-Fahim has forwarded all documentation as requested, the Premier League subsequently decided to delve into misleading statements made by the billionaire.
In the early stages of the process, Al-Fahim claimed that the takeover would be funded by a consortium of Middle Eastern and Asian investors – a claim that led outsiders to suspect a collaboration with Manchester City head Thaksin Shinawatra.
However, Al-Fahim’s story later changed, identifying Swiss partnership Falcon Equity as the investment source.
In a third twist, Al-Fahim indicated that he would be paying for the purchase using his own funds, noting that he would also act as the sole investor for the takeover.
Although an ongoing series of delays have since been resolved, the Premier League’s investigation could throw another fork in the road for Portsmouth, who expected the deal to be finalised sometime this week.
Thaksin ghost haunts Premier League again
Thaksin Shinawatra’s shadows continue to loom over the Premier League and may cause the football governing body to block Sulaiman al-Fahim’s supposed 60m-pound takeover of Portsmouth despite his installation as the club’s chairman yesterday.
The Guardian‘s website reported that the takeover is being subject to more investigations because of fears Thaksin might have a hand in it.
Reports in the Gulf claimed Fahim had completed his takeover and they were fuelled by the Pompey chief executive, Peter Storrie, who yesterday implied on Portsmouth’s website that the club had exited a formal takeover period. Fahim has passed the Premier League’s “fit and proper person” test and is now permitted to take a position on a club’s board.
However, according to the Guardian, despite his being installed as chairman, the paperwork that will formally give him ownership of the club has not been processed and the Premier League will seek to ensure that he is not acting for any third parties before allowing the deal to go through. It said yesterday: “As with all changes in club ownership, the Premier League will continue to monitor any material changes in circumstance.”
“The league’s caution is understandable since it must be satisfied he is not acting as a representative for Thaksin Shinawatra. The former Thai prime minister is understood to be living in Dubai and described himself last month as a “close friend” of Fahim but he would not pass league governance tests having been found guilty of corruption in absentia and sentenced to two years’ jail in Thailand last year,” The Guardian said.
Thaksin’s long-term adviser, Pairoj Piempongsant, was reportedly involved in the introduction of the two men. Fahim’s initial admission that his Al Fahim Asia Associates investment instrument had backers from the Gulf and the Far East prompted scrutiny of his relationship with Thaksin.
Fahim has since claimed he is the sole shareholder of Al Fahim Asia Associates, with Thaksin distancing himself from involvement at Portsmouth, The Guardian said.
The league is under pressure to uphold its ownership regulations, with a report from the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force stating last month: “Many clubs are financially in bad shape and their financial trouble could urge football clubs to accept funds from dubious parties.”
It added: “Football clubs are indeed seen by criminals as the perfect vehicles for money laundering [and] criminals often seek a status outside the criminal world, and football can offer the opportunity for acquiring such a patron status.”
Fahim, 32, becomes chairman of a heavily indebted club with only 14 outfield players in the first-team squad. However, he has persuaded Paul Hart to accept a two-year contract as manager and Storrie, who is among the highest-paid executives in the Premier League, remains as chief executive.
The Nation / July 22, 2009
Asians target West Ham takeover
According to The Mirror, English West Ham United is negotiating a possible takeover of the club by an Asian consortium whose investors are predominately from Thailand.
Altough the group is offering GBP 75 million for the club, West Ham owners, asset management company CB Holdings, is asking for GBP 125 million.
The takeover move is fronted by Pairoj Piempongsant, the Thai businessman who brokered the takeover of Manchester City by Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thailand group in West Ham takeover talks
An Asian group are eyeing takeover talks for West Ham United.
The Sunday Mirror says Pairoj Piempongsant, the Thai businessman who brokered two takeovers at Manchester City and was involved in the projected acquisition of Portsmouth, is playing a pivotal role in negotiations.
At the moment the two parties are miles apart in their valuation with the group offering £75million and West Ham wanting closer to £125m.
The consortium, whose investors are predominately from Thailand, are bound to raise alarm bells at the Premier League after claims that Thaksin Shinawatra, the controversial former Thai prime minister, is looking to invest in another Premier League club.
Asian group eye Hammers swoop – report
An Asian consortium, predominately from Thailand, are looking to take over West Ham, according to reports.
The asset management company, who recently acquired the club by default after reclaiming key assets owned by chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, are thought to be willing to offload the Londoners for the right price.Betfair is a bit different to your normal bookie; they actually want you to win. Instead of a bookmaker setting the odds, their customers do. That means you. And because you compete against each other, you get better odds. Up to 20% better odds in fact. You can either make a back bet (bet on who’s going to win) or place a lay bet (bet against something happening). Betfair matches people on either side of the bet with the odds they agree. Simple. Use this £10 free bet and give it a try.
And the Premier League will be awaiting developments as they are fear the controversial Shinawatra could be involved in this group as he bids to get back into English football.