Post by Football News on May 17, 2019 18:37:43 GMT
Sheffield United denies link to bin Laden family money
An accountant has denied knowing Sheffield United might be getting money from a relative of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The High Court is hearing evidence in a battle for control between the two owners of Sheffield United.
Lawyers for Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud claimed the club knew a £3m investment came from Saudi businessman Saleh Mohammed bin Laden.
A colleague of co-owner Kevin McCabe described the claim as "rubbish".
Lawyers for Prince Abdullah told the court in London that Mr McCabe, or his associates, knew about the bin Laden link in early 2017.
Mr McCabe disputed Prince Abdullah's claims. He said he recalled the name being mentioned once at a meeting but it was never mentioned again.
Barrister Andreas Gledhill QC said accountant Jeremy Tutton, who works with Mr McCabe, had written an email telling how he would hate to see a local newspaper headline saying Sheffield United was "laundering money for extremists".
Mr Tutton said the email was "banter" and described the suggestion he knew the money might be from a member of the bin Laden family as "rubbish".
He told the judge: "No way I knew this was anything to do with the bin Laden family."
Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah, a member of the Saudi royal family, have worked together for six years.
Mr Justice Fancourt is analysing their fight for control of the South Yorkshire club which has just been promoted to the Premier League.
Sheffield United Ltd, a company controlled by Mr McCabe and his family, has alleged "conspiracy" and "unfairly prejudicial conduct" and wants damages.
UTB LLC, a company controlled by Prince Abdullah, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders' agreement.
The Saudi co-owner of Sheffield United today refused to rule out again borrowing funds from the family of Osama Bin Laden.
Speaking at a press conference at United's Bramall Lane ground, Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said he was actively seeking Saudi investors in the Premiership club and would not dismiss future investment from the 'very respectable,' Bin Laden family.
Osama Bin Laden was a founder of al-Qaeda and was held responsible for the September 11 terror attacks on the United States. His family have extensive business interests in the Middle East. Previously it was revealed his family had invested £3 million in the Premiership club.
Today Prince Abdullah said: 'I really am offended when the Bin Laden family are given a bad name. They are a very respectable family.
'It is a really good family. It had a black sheep as most families do but it's a really respectable family and if I do business with them again, I'd be happy to.
'It's not a disgraced name. I was trying to help Kevin sell his shares, I never put mine for sale.
'The family were looking to buy Kevin's shares, and the million they put was a down-payment to give them time to do due diligence. 'If they decided not to buy, the money was to be used as a loan for a year without any interest.
'I'm usually tolerant but when people talk about Bin Laden as a dirty family I get offended.
'It's not my family to support but I think it's the right thing to say.' Questions have been raised about the finances and suitability of Prince Abdullah - who insisted he would continue his practise of rarely attending matches at Bramall Lane - by the current owner, Sheffield millionaire Kevin McCabe, who has invested £100m of his own money into the club.
On Monday McCabe was forced to sell his 50% stake in the club by the High Court. The two men had made a deal in 2013 for McCabe to gift half of the club to Abdullah in return for him investing £10m in Sheffield United, but the pair fell out. In the High Court McCabe's QC, Paul Downes, pointed out how the Prince struggled for ready cash, saying that 'far from being 'minted', Prince Abdullah couldn't even come up with a piffling £500,000 to pay staff wages.'
At the press conference, Prince Abdullah promised to support the club finances 'personally,' but would not be specific where the funds would come from.
He pledged his admiration for United manager Chris Wilder and said the club would invest in 'Two or three super players,' next year.
When asked if Wilder would be staying at the club, the Prince said:'I'd be crazy to say otherwise and the last time I checked, I wasn't crazy. We're blessed to have Chris and the way we play speaks for itself. Chris is the face of this great club and is one of us. I have good harmony with Chris and we'll work together to make this team better.' He added:'I love nothing more than football and the Premier League. I watched every game last season - it's my passion.'
He declined to say whether he would count the £50m he has been forced by the High Court on Monday to pay former chairman Kevin McCabe for the Bramall Lane stadium and other club assets as part of his investment in the club.
During their bitter battle it was revealed in court that the Prince obtained the loan from the Bin Laden family.
The judge in the High Court was cautious of accepting Prince Abdullah's evidence, and expressed concern over the Prince's 'apparent poor memory of events' and that the Prince had deliberately not given 'as full a picture as he could have done about his dealings'.
The Saudi, who has only been to a handful of home games in six years said he would not be regularly watching games in future.