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SBD Global/June 10, 2014/Franchises

Leeds United Owner Massimo Cellino, Club Headed To Court Over Winding-Up Petition

Leeds Owner Massimo Cellino's winding-up petition to go before a judge.
The winding-up petition hanging over League Championship side Leeds United "will go before a judge in London after Sport Capital resisted pressure to withdraw it early," according to the YORKSHIRE POST. Leeds' attempt to avoid payment of a £950,000 ($1.6M) loan called in by Sport Capital at the start of April "is to be ruled upon in the next 48 hours, potentially clearing the way for the club’s bank to unfreeze their main account." The legal team working for Leeds Owner Massimo Cellino has been "pushing Sport Capital to drop its claim after investigating the source and the paperwork behind the six-figure loan." United will argue that documents relating to the payment in November of last year show it came from former Leeds Managing Dir David Haigh, "rather than from Sport Capital itself." After a brief initial hearing in London, "the case will be decided at a substantive hearing tomorrow" (YORKSHIRE POST, 6/9). In London, James Riach wrote Haigh believes he could be the victim of "forgeries" and "underhan" tactics after being accused of serious financial mismanagement by Leeds United’s previous majority owners, Gulf Finance House Capital. Haigh "has been held in a Dubai police station cell since mid-May" and could remain in jail until June 23 after his period of detention was extended by 15 days on Monday by a judge. Haigh has not been charged with a criminal offense and denies all the allegations against him, saying he may have been lured to Dubai through "subterfuge" (GUARDIAN, 6/9). ARABIAN BUSINESS' Beatrice Thomas wrote Haigh "is set to file a rival legal case against minority owners GFH Capital" for monies owed, which he forecasts will be "in excess" of the $5M lawsuit currently against him before the Dubai courts. A spokesperson for Haigh revealed he was preparing a counter-claim against GFHC for monies owed to him "in excess of the amount of the claim made against him by GFH." A spokesperson for GFHC said that "forensic investigators were currently completing an examination of all fraudulent payments." He said, "GFH Capital is satisfied that the investigators will be able to produce evidence that proves that Mr. Haigh signed off on all the authorizations, either directly, or via normal procedures" (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 6/9).
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