• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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$350 fraud casts doubt on 777 Partners’ proposed Everton takeover

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The potential takeover of Everton, a struggling English Premier League club, by 777 Partners faces uncertainty as one of its lenders accuses the Miami-based investment firm of perpetrating a fraud amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to a lawsuit filed in a federal court in New York, 777 owes more than $600 million to two London-based asset management companies, Leadenhall Capital and Leadenhall Life.

777 has already lent around £200 million to Everton but the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test has stalled the sale. The two London companies allege that 777 Partners used $350 million of assets that either were not controlled by the Miami-based firm or which “did not exist”.

Recorded meetings between Leadenhall and 777 Partners co-owner Wander provided details, with Wander reportedly acknowledging that assets used to back Leadenhall deals had already been allocated as security on other deals.

Furthermore, Wander allegedly pledged assets that either didn’t exist or were not owned by his company.

Amidst these allegations, former Standard Liege owner Bruno Venanzi and shareholders of the club’s stadium claim they have not received the second instalment of their payment for 777’s acquisition of the club in 2022.

These developments raise doubts regarding whether the Premier League will approve the sale of a 94.1% stake in Everton from owner Farhad Moshiri to 777 Partners.

With Everton facing financial strain, including reports of seeking advice from insolvency experts at consultancy firm Teneo and exploring new investor options, the club’s future remains uncertain.

777 Partners also holds stakes in various sports clubs, including Serie A side Genoa, Vasco da Gama in Brazil, Hertha Berlin in Germany, French side Red Star, LaLiga club Sevilla, and the London Lions basketball team.

Despite securing Premier League safety last month and sitting 15th, Everton faces challenges, including an upcoming appeal against a two-point deduction for profitability and sustainability rule breaches.