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Money Laundering, Premier League football, Operation Apprentice, and a little more on Portsmouth FC (again)

 

By: Anne

 

You know, it’s amazing how quiet the football media can be when they want to…

Leading into our upcoming series on the transfer market, transfer rumours, and (here’s the big one) possible money laundering in the EPL, I thought I would give our readers a few things to think about in advance. In particular, I’m curious to know whether any of our readers heard about any of the following news stories when they first broke.

Because, based on my preliminary observations, I’m finding myself forced to the conclusion that the English media has a certain reluctance to draw attention to what I’ll refer to as “the ML Word” (hint: M***y L**nd**ing), as it applies in the context of EPL football. And as I continue my research into this subject, I would be interested to hear whether readers share this opinion. So, getting straight into it…

Specifically, all of the following news articles in some way involve extremely serious criminal allegations (and occasionally charges), that are linked, in some way, to English Premier League football. These allegations range from laundering the illicit proceeds of organized crime, to tax evasion, and even to narcotics trafficking. All of these stories were reported in the international press (and the English press to a limited extent).

And yet, I personally do not recall hearing about any of these stories until I specifically began researching the subject of money laundering. I will be following up on this topic in more detail later, but I thought it would be a good idea to get you all thinking about it in advance. Accordingly, I’m deliberately writing this article in a way that raises more questions than answers. But I hope that you will all find it quite interesting nonetheless.

So, just to warm up, I’ll begin this “thought exercise” with a couple of articles that appeared in the Daily Mail on 23 March, 2010, concerning money laundering through the EPL transfer market. I’ve excerpted the parts that I consider to be most relevant (not necessarily in chronological order), and the links to the full articles are also provided:

French police raid drug and money-laundering gang linked to English Premier League

EastEnders star’s brother at centre of French police raid on drug gang linked to English Premier League

“Ten British gangsters have been arrested in France after a vast drug and money-laundering operation was smashed.”

“There is…an allegation that some of the cash was linked to agents or other parties involved in the lucrative – and notoriously unregulated – trade in footballers.”

“French investigating officer Guy Sapata did not rule out the Premier League link…

‘There could be an overlap between drugs, money-laundering and big money transfers,’ he said.”

“The enquiry began in May 2009 when one of the accused – named only as Stephen C – was arrested…Police found half-a-million pounds worth of used notes in a hidden compartment in the boot of his Mercedes, along with traces of cocaine.”

“Campbell claimed that the money in his Mercedes was provided as part of a ‘bung’ connected with the transfer of a player to a leading English club, police said yesterday.

‘He told us that all the money came from professional footballer transfers in England,’ added the investigating officer.

‘Those arrested say they had links with big names in the world of Premiership football.’”

“Two other suspects, Mark Bridges and Mickael Keating, lived in Augignac and Champniers-et-Reilhac respectively. Both apparently poured their profits from organised crime into luxury properties in the area, and into farmland.

They are suspected of recruiting ‘lieutenants’ from London, to act as ‘runners’ of both drugs and laundered money.”

Further on the subject of  money laundering in football, and the media’s coverage thereof, I would like to specifically direct your attention to the issues currently surrounding Portsmouth football club. While  you are likely aware of the pending tax evasion charges against Harry Redknapp, you might be surprised to learn that tax evasion is far from the most serious of the related charges surrounding Portsmouth.

For example, in England, you would have to read the media coverage very closely to be aware that “Operation Apprentice,” the criminal investigation in which Redknapp was ultimately ensnared, was not initially investigating tax evasion at all, as is apparent from the following 2009 Daily Mail article:

“Operation Apprentice, under the guidance of Detective Inspector David Manley, was instigated to investigate suspicions of money laundering in the transfer market… ”

And in relation to the above, it begs the question of what other money laundering allegations, if any, might have turned up in the media that are linked in some way to Portsmouth? (And yes, others have turned up).

The most serious such allegations originate from Latvia and Lithuania. I first discovered these allegations in the U.S. financial media, and after I quote the following article, we will examine how the following coverage differed from what you would most likely have been exposed to through the English media (I’ve highlighted the portions of the article that are relevant to this media coverage.) Incidentally, this arrest, and release by a British court, of Portsmouth’s owner occurred very recently, on 25 November, 2011:

Bank owner wanted by Lithuania granted bail in UK

“LONDON (AP) — A London court has released Russian businessman and Portsmouth Football Club owner Vladimir Antonov on bail following his arrest in connection with a massive money-laundering probe in Lithuania.”

“Antonov told the Lithuanian daily Respublika in a phone interview published Thursday that he feared for his life.

‘I returned to London because I live and work here — my family is here. Where else can I go? Russia? That would be a one-way ticket. I would have to stay there for safety, but this would be considered an escape attempt,’ he said.

‘I am ready to testify…I understand that extradition is inevitable. I can say it openly — I am scared that I may get killed,’ Antonov said.”

“VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A Russian businessman who owns Portsmouth Football Club…has been arrested in London in connection with a money laundering probe that has rocked Lithuania and Latvia, officials said Friday.

Vladimir Antonov, 36, and a Lithuanian partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, 53, were detained Thursday on an arrest warrant issued by investigators probing alleged fraud and money laundering at his banks in the Baltic states, Lithuanian prosecutor Tomas Krusna told reporters.

The Bank of Lithuania said late Thursday that his bank there, Snoras Bank, will be liquidated, calling it the best solution for country’s financial system and economy, which were jolted after the bank was nationalized and its operations halted.

Lithuanian regulators claim that hundreds of millions of euros were siphoned from Snoras, the country’s fifth-largest financial institution, while Latvian authorities have said that similar asset-stripping took place on a massive scale at Latvija Krajbanka, a subsidiary bank controlled by Snoras.

Lithuanian bank chief Vitas Vasiliauskas said the government was liquidating the bank rather than waste taxpayers’ money trying to help ‘a plane that won’t fly.’ ‘There is no other way to solve this situation,’ he said.”

Based on my interpretation of the above article, it appears to suggest that the events leading up to the English criminal charges against parties linked to Portsmouth football club did not occur in a vacuum, but rather occurred concurrently with a much larger criminal scheme, which was specifically linked to money laundering (if the allegations by the Lithuanian and Latvian governments are to be believed). And this, in turn, would appear to me to suggest that the events at Portsmouth could, possibly, bear some relationship to this alleged larger criminal scheme.

The above conclusion (which is entirely unproven and could easily be completely wrong), has, I believe, been logically drawn from the above news report that appeared in the U.S. financial media. However, based on my research up to this point, this same conclusion would not be logically drawn from news reports of the same incidents in the English  media… But why?

For example, the BBC (declining to mention the “money laundering probe that has rocked Lithuania and Latvia” which both of the above articles mentioned in the first paragraph), reported the story as follows:

“A Europe-wide arrest warrant has been issued for the owner of Portsmouth Football Club Vladimir Antonov.

Lithuanian prosecutors want to question him as part of an investigation into alleged asset stripping at Snoras Bank.

They are also seeking his business partner Raimondas Baranauskas. Both are former managers and shareholders of the bank and deny any wrongdoing.”

In the BBC’s coverage, the word “money laundering” isn’t mentioned until paragraph 6, when the BBC notes that “a pre-trial investigation into alleged fraud and money laundering has begun.”

Now, is it just me, or does it seem that the BBC article above, in comparison with the first article quoted, seems intended to diminish the seriousness of the allegations against Antonov? Or at least, to de-emphasize the money laundering aspects of the investigation?

Similarly, the Daily Mail, which did cover the story with a bit more “gravitas” than the BBC, still appeared hesitant to draw too much attention to “the ML word.”:

“Lithuanian authorities have issued a Europe-wide arrest warrant for Portsmouth joint owner Vladimir Antonov.

Antonov, who took control of Pompey earlier this year through his London-based business Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), is wanted in connection with the disappearance of £200million from Snoras Bank.”  

Also from the Mail:

Portsmouth owner Antonov in court after arrest over alleged bank fraud in Lithuania

“The Russian owner of Portsmouth Football Club has appeared in court after being arrested by British police over a money-laundering investigation in Lithuania.

Vladimir Antonov, 36, was held in London on an extradition warrant issued by the Lithuanian authorities in connection with alleged fraud at a bank he controls.”

So, in the Mail’s coverage, we do at least get a mention of “money laundering” in the opening paragraph. However, points must be deducted for the use of the term “bank fraud” in the headline, which is then repeated towards the end of the same paragraph that mentions “money laundering.” (This would cause the term “bank fraud” to stand out more in the mind of the reader than the term “money laundering.”)

Also, is it just me, or does the term “bank fraud” somehow fail to convey the severity of the alleged crime? Specifically, allegedly asset stripping two banks (one of which is reportedly “the fifth-largest financial institution” in Lithuania) to the point where they were seized by the government, and the losses foisted onto Lithuanian tax payers?

Finally, just as one more example, let’s take a quick look at the Guardian’s coverage:

“Portsmouth Football Club have been plunged into renewed crisis after the company which owns the club, Convers Sports Initiatives, 80% owned by Vladimir Antonov, who has been arrested for alleged bank fraud, was placed into administration. Antonov, wanted for questioning in Lithuania, has resigned as the chairman and director of the club.”

Based on the above, I am forced to the hypothesis that the English media may have a certain reluctance to report on “money laundering” in conjunction with English football. And along those lines, I personally am very interested in the media coverage (or lack thereof) of some further money laundering allegations that may have appeared in relation to Portsmouth.

I’ll continue my thesis in the next article, tomorrow.

—————————————-

“Making the Arsenal” – is available on Amazon, Arsenal on line, the Woolwich Arsenal site, and in the Arsenal store.

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49 comments to Money Laundering, Premier League football, Operation Apprentice, and a little more on Portsmouth FC (again)

  • Mahdain

    wow hats off to you Anne..amazing article which puts to light what we already know i.e the english premier league is not whiter than white as some people tend to believe and the lack of media coverage on the issue really says something doesnt it? they will go to any extent to ensure the reputation of the league is not tarnished which is kinda sad as these things need to be cleared up for the betterment of the league….

  • Hi Anne you are a Genius. Happy New Year and bring us more.

  • WalterBroeckx

    When Mandaric is in town…., there seems to be some kind of trouble around….

  • Arvind

    Thanks Anne. While I admit I do not click on every link in this post, I applaud your consistent attempts to get to the heart of all such scandals as best as possible. Keep up the fab work.

    Lassana Diarra in the next post? Now that I cannot wait to hear about…

  • Anne

    @Mahdain:

    Thanks, I’m glad you liked the article. Unfortunately, things are only going to get dirtier as we continue with this series.

  • Anne

    @Kampala Gun:

    Wow… Thanks 🙂

  • Anne

    @Arvind:

    Glad you liked the article. Don’t worry about not clicking on the links. I include them just so that people can verify my reports for accuracy, form their own conclusions, etc., but I’ll generally explain what you need to know about the article.

    And there’s not a whole lot out there about Diarra allegations. At least not in English. I’m hoping that someone who speaks French can check the French media for more on that topic.

  • What’s happening re: Diarra? I can scout a few articles if you like?

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    I’ll be sure to take a closer look at Mandaric.

  • bjtgooner

    Excellent article Anne, I really admire the effort that must have gone into the preparation. As you intended, the article does initiate the thinking process and many questions will start to pop up.

    Shortly after ‘Arry left Portsmouth, the club’s financial difficulties became public knowledge. Players had to be sold but this alone did not remove the threat of collapse. There followed a rather convoluted sequence of (possible) buyers until the club was sold to Mr Antonov – the first time his name seemed to publically appear. I wonder did Mr Antonov have any earlier interests (financial or otherwise) in the UK?

    The question of the BBC or others not fully reporting the money laundering story is also very interesting; but this is not an entirely new departure for the BBC – MOTD rarely provides accurate coverage of Arsenal matches. I would speculate that the BBC omission in this case was not an oversight.

  • Shard

    This is very interesting and a great bit of research Anne. Money laundering in football. I guess it is just another part of the corrupt machine that football has become. Money laundering actually does explain why so many people are willing to ‘invest’ their money into football clubs. Most clubs make no profits and even those that do, have a very low level of return for the amounts of money that is being put in earlier. Rich people do not give away their money and certainly not for some perceived acclaim or ‘glory’. Yes they might like their name up in lights, but there are far simpler ways to get that. And I’m betting most of them actually want their name to never be mentioned.

    So much money is going into a loss making industry, which has basically no accountability, vague regulations and arbitrary enforcement. And the press, the ones who are supposed to bring us the truth by asking questions, don’t care to delve deeper. In fact they instantly dismiss or discredit any attempt to demand better. If its about referees they say we moan. If it’s about the press itself, they all get together and say there’s no agenda and we’re paranoid. If it’s about someone showing the shady deals to buy a football club, they don’t mention it except to ridicule it (Isn’t Bryan Robson still ManU’s Global Ambassador?) All the while, the match fixing, the pushing of xenophobic agendas, destruction of any development in football, and I guess the money laundering, all can continue.

  • Anne

    @bjtgooner:

    Thanks, glad you liked it. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this subject (part of the reason I’ve been so busy lately), and hopefully this won’t be the last article on the subject.

    However, this actually isn’t the first time that Mr. Antonov’s name has turned up publicly. I’ve covered this a bit in part 2 of the article, but it appears that Mr. Antonov was actually trying to take over a football club for at least a year before he got Portsmouth, and didn’t seem to care too much about which football club it was.

    I wonder if that has anything to do with the 200 million pounds of other people’s money that he apparently “lost?”

  • Anne

    @Phil:

    Ok, I’m going to try this one more time… I’ve tried to respond to you twice and for some reason it wasn’t letting me. So, this might eventually end up being one of three responses 🙂

    Basically, there was a report cited from the French media (apparently the French regional paper Paris-Normandie) that Diarra was under investigation (or possibly indictment) for money laundering in connection with his transfer from Portsmouth to Real Madrid.

    But I haven’t been able to find any follow up whatsoever. I was wondering if there might be something in the French media. If you want to take a look, that would be great.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    As usual, I completely agree with you. I’m trying to think of something to add but finding it difficult 🙂 Doing my research on money laundering, I was actually amazed at how much information was out there, even relating to charges.

    Based on that, I’d say that the fact that the EPL is being used for money laundering (allegedly) is one of the worst kept secrets in the world. Let’s call it an “open secret.” And that makes the press even more culpable for not making the public adequately aware of it.

    What do you think the media’s motive might be?

  • Mahdain

    @anne the only motive i can think of behind their lack of reporting is that perhaps their bosses are in it(would you bet against it?) and they dont want to report these findings as they may put them in hot water and hence the silence

  • Anne – I’ll have a look and email you any interesting articles (translated!)

  • Frank Rizzo

    It must be more than just a coincidence that money laundering allegations have been made against Carson Yeung (Birmigham City owner) and Thaksin Shinawatra (ex Man City owner) although any coverage I see is at pains to say this is not related to the running of their football clubs. I can only assume that the press does not want to taint the premier league and until there is hard evidence of ML in the EPL and a conviction the press are happy to under report it. Unfortunately football in not the only sport that is a attractive target – at the moment there are allegations in cricket that money laundering goes on in the Indian Premier League.

  • Anne

    @Mahdain:

    One other possible motive that I’ve thought of is just plain old fear… Isn’t it the general reputation of powerful organized crime figures that they don’t take too kindly to people who try to expose their operations? 🙂

  • Anne

    @Phil:

    Thanks a lot, that would be a big help.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Great stuff, Anne, thanks!

    Dirty money must somehow flow back to it’s source, what better way than overpriced footballers. In fact, money laundering operations always look for “products” for which it is next to impossible to assign a value to. If a company overpriced a box of chocolates, it would be so easy to figure out what they’re doing. But who’s to say “player X” is worth a million or 10 million?!?!

    I like your train of thoughts. I’ll research into the practices of money laundering and report it to you. My hunch is that football is a great target for them.

  • Tasos

    Sorry to go off topic but there’s big rumours that a certain T Henry will be returning for two months.

  • Anne

    @Frank Rizzo:

    Don’t think I’ve seen you around before, so thanks for commenting. If you continue to follow my series on money laundering, you might be surprised at exactly how much evidence there is on the subject.

    Just as an example, take a look at this excerpt from a 2009 Guardian article titled “Football is ‘vulnerable’ to money laundering, but no names named:”

    “Today’s report by the Financial Action Task Force raises the spectre, in calm, plain language, that football is vulnerable to criminals, who might take over beloved local clubs or use the transfer system to launder dirty money or evade tax. Some of it is not mightily surprising, but still, there is something startling about reading these warnings, set out calmly in an official report by an inter-governmental body whose job is ‘to protect the global financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing.'”

    In particular, take a look at what it has to say about the FA, here:

    “One of the frustrations reading the report is that it cites actual cases which it says were referred to it by authorities in 22 countries which answered questionnaires – our FA has confirmed that it did so – yet no names are given, and we are not told if any action was taken.”

    I’ll be breaking down this FATF report in detail later in the series, but, as the above article indicates, the FA did in fact contribute data to this report, which was used to develop case studies, breaking down exactly how money laundering occurs in football.

    It kind of makes you wonder how much the FA really knows, doesn’t it?

  • Anne

    @Sammy the Snake:

    Thank you very much. It sounds like you actually have a very good grasp of how this stuff works, so I’m quite impressed. In fact, the FATF report that I just mentioned above makes the exact same point that you just did about player transfers in the section titled “Irrational character of the sums involved and unpredictability over future results”:

    “Prices for players can appear irrational and are hard to control…sport is essentially characterised by a high
    level of unpredictability over future results. This ‘culture of unpredictability,’ might lead to an increased
    tolerance towards seemingly irrational payments.”

    If you want to help me out with some research on this, that would be great. If you just do a google search for “money laundering” and football, you’ll turn up a huge number of results, so I could use as much help as possible. Particularly from someone like you, who appears to already have a good basic understanding of the subject.

    If you’d be interested in touching base with me, I can give you the breakdown on everything I’ve found through my research so far, and we can maybe coordinate something for you to do. My email address can be found here:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/13259

    Thanks for commenting, and hope to hear from you.

  • Anne

    @All:

    Just wanted to say that the offer I made to Sammy, above, is also open to anyone else who might be interested in helping me with research, or who just wants to learn more about this subject.

  • Anne

    @Tasos:

    Should I put you down as predicting an Henry transfer on my transfer rumours quiz? 🙂

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/17534

  • SPC259

    Great Article Anne.

    I believe that there’s an interesting link to be found between Mandaric, Alex Gaydamak and his dad Arcady, Sulaiman Al-Fahim, Ali al-Faraj (who passed the FA’s fit & proper test but doesn’t exist), Balram Chainrai, Vladimir Aleksandrovich Antonov and some dodgy deals involving ….. 🙂

    http://rumafia.com/index.php

  • Anne

    @SPC259:

    Thanks. Like I just told Sammy the Snake, I’m impressed with the amount of knowledge that you apparently already have about this subject. I’m not familiar with Mandaric’s history at all, but now that both you and Walter have tipped me off to him, I’ll definitely have to take a closer look.

    And by the way, I like your rumafia.com link. I’ve actually been digging around that site quite a bit myself lately 🙂

    @Sammy the Snake:

    If you’re serious about doing some research, would you be interested in possibly looking into Mandaric (includng this “link” that SPC259 just referred to)?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great work Anne, once again. I send you a few links in a mail maybe Phil can have a look at them as for the moment I have my own articles to write. About refs… surprise surprise. 😉

    The name Mandaric was also involved in football in Belgium a few years ago. But couldn’t find much on him. But I do think if I remember correct he had some strange friends at times who later were found guilty of some financial wrong doing. But really can’t find much on this to be honest.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to find those Diarra links. Phil has actually already agreed to take a look at them for me, so just go ahead and get to work on those ref articles so that I can read them 🙂

    As for Mandaric, he’s definitely an interesting character (and the Mirror’s fawning coverage in this article is noteworthy in and of itself):

    Mandaric, 69, was one of five people arrested last week… He refuses to go into the specifics of the investigation, but he is keen to clear up a key accusation after the police admitted they held him on a separate issue of suspicion of money laundering.

    Mandaric said: “That particular point is a real issue to me and will undoubtedly lead to all sort of misguided claims and accusations. The facts are the police seized some money that was in my possession, all of which I can legitimately substantiate where it came from.

    “It is not part of the football investigation, it’s a separate issue. It is standard practice by the police to use moneylaundering provisions if they seize any amount of cash from someone.

    “And the money will be returned once the Police have completed their investigation.”

    Yet despite the traumatic experience Mandaric was quick to praise the police for the courteous and respectful way they dealt with him.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport-old/football/2007/12/02/mandaric-nothing-to-hide-115875-20192096/

  • Untold Detectives. I like it!

  • Anne

    More background on Mandaric (and some of his “business” associates):

    *Interestingly, I was already planning to do an article in this series about this “super agent” Pini Zahadi, so I guess I would have found my way to Mandaric in any case.

    “Arkady Gaydamak the billionaire father of Alexandre, the man set to take joint control of Portsmouth.

    The millionaire in question is 30-year-old Alexandre Gaydamak, apparently a man of considerable means, but about whom little is actually known.

    A French citizen with business interests in Israel and Russia, Gaydamak has lived in the UK for some time where he is understood to have made his fortune from banking and real estate.

    Let us move on, then, to Alexandre’s father; 52-year-old Arkady Gaydamak, a Russian-born billionaire businessman with Angolan, Canadian, French, Israeli and Russian passports.

    Arkady made his fortune in France, having arrived there in the early 1970s. However, he was forced to flee in 2000 when French magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest relating to arms-for-oil deals with Angola. Since then he is understood to have divided his time between Tel Aviv and Moscow. More recently Arkady was questioned by Israeli police in connection with allegations of money laundering; allegations like those pertaining to the Angolan affair that Arkady has denied.

    Interestingly, Arkady last year became involved in football, buying a 50 per cent stake in Beitar Jerusalem; some newspapers insist he is a big football fan, while others suggest his interest in the game is exaggerated and his real motive for involvement is related more to status and politics than sport.

    Nevertheless, Arkady Gaydamak is adamant that he has absolutely no part in his son’s move to buy 50 per cent of Portsmouth from Milan Mandaric in a deal valued at £15 million.

    Which brings us to everyone’s favourite self-styled ‘super agent’ Pini Zahavi…the reason Alexandre has become so enamoured with Portsmouth.

    This is the same Pini Zahavi who brokered Roman Abramovich’s takeover of Chelsea, presided over Rio Ferdinand’s protracted contract negotiations with Manchester United and arranged the controversial ‘meeting’ between Ashley Cole and Chelsea head honchos Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon, who incidentally Zahavi was equally instrumental in uprooting from FC Porto and Manchester United respectively.”

    http://www.bootroom.org/smf/index.php?topic=7663.0;wap2

  • WalterBroeckx

    On April 1, 2008 the news in Belgium was that Mandaric was holding talks with Namur (second division team at the time) for a take over. So that was what the money was for I guess… 😉

    Wait a minute …April 1…. 🙂 Serious now it was not reported as an Aprils fool joke…

  • WalterBroeckx

    A translated article about the Portsmouth case said that Portsmouth going from some £56.000 in the season 2005/2006 paid at agents to £1.000.000 in the season 2006/2007 and that this looked rather suspicious.
    Mandaric and Arry in charge at the time…

    And I also found a link saying that Milan Mandaric was a bit close to …. Bernard Tapie. The man who was put in prison for corruption when he was president of Marseille. The enemy of our Arsène Wenger and our assistant coach Primorac…

    It’s a small world…

  • Jack Williams

    Have a long, long, long read about Portsmouth here:-
    http://www.saintsweb.co.uk/showthread.php?14620-Pompey-Takeover-Saga

    .

  • PFC Gaz

    http://www.saintsweb.co.uk/showthread.php?14620-Pompey-Takeover-Saga

    That is a 930 page thread on a southampton fan site, chronicalling the absolute disaster/car crash that has been Pompey’s ownership since 2009. It digs into every detail, all the horrible facts that came out when Andrew Anronikou destroyed my club with his CVA to exit Admin (when cancer charities and St John’s Ambulance were shafted along with HMRC in favour of Sol and all the players), all the info about Vlad and his cronies, the whole sordid affair.

    I’m a true blue and hate to admit it, but those Scummers called out every owner we had, backed it up with facts and articles and have been spot on every single time.

    Start on page one, and we’ll see you in 4 weeks time when you’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation.

    PLAY UP POMPEY!!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Anne , guys – great work ,great read ,great leads – keep it up and lets see what falls out/down.
    Happy New Year to all .Cheers !

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    That’s really good information that you turned up, particularly about the payments to agents at Portsmouth. Do you happen to have a link to that article, or is it one of the ones that you already sent me? Thanks.

  • Anne

    @Brickfields:

    Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    I doubt that it was an April fools joke, considering the rather large number of football clubs that Mandaric appears to have attempted to take an ownership interest in 🙂

  • Just an honest fan

    Anne,

    There’s a huge amount of information on the situation at Portsmouth since Gaydamak’s sale to Al Fahim in 2009, on the Southampton supporters independent website at http://www.saintsweb.co.uk/showthread.php?14620-Pompey-Takeover-Saga

    Lots of very curious links between the shady characters involved. Particularly interesting is the history of involvement of Balram Chainrai, who put the club into admin in 2010, appears again to “own” the club, and who has links to the Gaydamaks stretching back several years.

    And before buying Portsmouth, Antonov previously tried to buy Bournemouth and Glasgow Rangers, but was sent packing.

  • Anne

    @Just an honest fan:

    Thank you very much for this information resource. Until now, I’ve been focusing more on compiling a broad overview of money laundering in the football sector. As a result, I’ve only looked at the Portsmouth case in a collateral way.

    But based on the information that you and others have provided me with here, I’m beginning to think that Portsmouth might turn out to be an ideal case study for these larger issues that I’m trying to highlight. I’ll definitely follow up on this. Again, thanks.

  • Sorry to jump in for a second – just had one of our famous techno glitches, and I need to ensure that comments are appearing as per normal. Just ignore me.

  • bob

    Walter,
    Is Tapie the name of Nasri’s current agent, or linked to Nasri’s agent? One of the figures in the Marseilles football scandal had it in for Primorac/Arsene from back in that day, and his name was mentioned on UA commentary around the time of Sami’s departure…

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Ok, trying to leave this post for the third time…

    EXCELLENTLY spotted! Damn… I’m impressed 🙂 Check out the following article (I could only find a cached version,so the link looks strange):

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OfOGk6MtqikJ:sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/ben_lyttleton/08/19/jean-pierre.bernes.frances.most.powerful.agent/index.html+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

  • Anne

    @Jack Williams and PFC Gaz:

    Thanks to both of you as well for linking me to this thread. I’m just now working on plowing through it all, but I’m finding it quite interesting.

    @PFC Gaz:

    I’m really happy to get feedback on this article from a Portsmouth fan, so thank you very much for commenting.

  • Just an honest fan – and indeed anyone else – as an outsider looking in the situation at Rangers looks extraordinary. I have written about them a couple of times, with judges ring fencing money, the owner denying that he had ever been banned from running a company, only to admit it, and the ever present threat of administration or even liquidation.

    Rangers are high on the list of clubs ready to fall – which is extraordinary considering where they are in the footballing world.

    And that leads to the question as to why people like the current owner get into clubs like Rangers. Of course I have no evidence to lead to any accusations in this particular case, but if you consider a situation in which a man of dubious repute wants to move about a lot of cash hither and yon, where better that to do it with a football club that is surrounded by naive young men who can’t believe how much money they are making, big businesses that want to move money around quickly, agents who seem to have no boundaries, and general run of the mill financial crooks.

    I am getting to the opinion that if football didn’t exist the financial criminal underworld would need to invent it.

  • Don’t forget the next part of the saga is now up

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/17658

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I suggest in all humility that if you don’t want to be regarded as a hatchet merchant, that an article investigating Vladimir Antonov does not discuss Harry Redknapp, as the man had left Portsmouth FC at least 2 years before Antonov came to the Club.

    This site has a very great obsession with stuffing Harry Redknapp: I suggest you provide the evidence to put him in prison if that is your aim and to be sued to high heaven if you can’t prove it whilst constantly smearing him.

    Harry Redknapp has no published links to Vladimir Antonov and I suggest you prove otherwise if you wish to smear his name in articles of this kind.

    As for links between drugs, money laundering and the EPL, I’d keep digging if I were you.

  • Sammy The Snake

    @ Jagger:

    Your loyalty toward Harry is interesting.

    The two gentlemen could potentially/allegedly be crooks in their own right. One doesn’t need to be linked to the other.

    Having said that, a corrupt new owner will look to buy a club that is expert in such business activities!