Panorama, the BBC's investigative programme, broadcast the first part of their exposé of global finance and offshore jurisdictions this evening which included the anticipated scrutiny of the ownership of Everton FC and potential links to Alisher Usmanov.
The thrust of Panorama's investigation centres around a "gift" from Usmanov, the Uzbek-Russian tycoon who now owns 30% of Arsenal, to Farhad Moshiri 11 years ago which they assert provided the source of the funds from which the Iranian-born businessman raised the capital to buy into Everton last year. They claim that documents detail a £63m gift to Moshiri through Gallager Holdings Limited through Cyprus to FM Investments Limited.
Mr Moshiri claims that it was part of an employee incentive scheme, “a loan he had later paid back”, and had nothing to do with the initial purchase of a stake in Arsenal. At issue are Premier League rules that prohibit one person or entity owning more than 10% of one club investing in another.
Among documents that Panorama call the Paradise Papers are details that under the terms of Usmanov and Moshiri's purchase of a 15% stake in Arsenal through Epion Holdings Limited, Usmanov would gift monies from a dividend from Gallagher Holdings Limited to Moshiri “who will in turn invest the company” and that “the funding for Red and White [Holdings] has come from Epion Holdings Limited”.
Darragh MacIntyre Richard Bilton, says that Moshiri's lawyers have admitted that that was true but insist he put his own money into Arsenal later, presumably when Red and White increased their stake in the London club to almost 30%, a fact that the programme fails to point out.
Indeed, The Guardian's own scrutiny of the situation, in which they report having been shown a document in which Epion did acknowledge receiving payment from a company owned by Moshiri for his half of the Arsenal stake, in full, also quotes a spokesman of Everton's major shareholder:
“This cash payment [for the Arsenal shares] was funded by a 2007 dividend that Mr Moshiri received from an investment company which was 100% beneficially owned by Mr Moshiri. All of this is meticulously laid out in contractual agreements between the two parties.
“It is clear that Mr Moshiri's participation in Red and White originated from his own funds and that Mr Moshiri is a person of very significant independent wealth, and this was already true in 2007.”
MacIntyre collared Moshiri outside Goodison Park after the recent match between Arsenal and Everton, asking him if Mr Usmanov was the real owner of Everton. Moshiri rejected the notion, insisting that even if the money he had used was a gift, it would still have been his money, not a loan.
“Are you crazy?” Moshiri asked. “Have you seen a psychiatrist [recently]?
“It wasn't a gift [from Usmanov]. Where do you get this idea? It's untrue; it's not a gift.”
MacIntyre persisted: “Say Mr Usmanov gifted you the money which you then invested in Arsenal… You then sell your shares in Arsenal…”
“A gift makes it yours, right” Moshiri replied. “If it is a loan, you owe the money back to him. If it is a gift, it's yours.”
Asked which it was in this instance, Moshiri said: “Neither of them, because I paid for it.
“The [Premier League] have all the information. Instead of asking me, why don't you ask them. They have every piece of information.”
If Panorama did ask the Premier League for their side of the story, however, they did not include it in the documentary. Moshiri and his lawyers, meanwhile, later told the programme that any documents saying that the monies he received from Usmanov were a gift were a mistake.Lawyers for Usmanov told the BBC that there were "errors of fact and interpretation" in the Panorama allegations:
"Our client is not obliged at all to assist you in your enquiries. It is not for him to do your journalists' research which on its face appears to be biased."
Former Football Association head honcho, Greg Dyke, was asked for his opinion on what Panorama had uncovered and he suggested that if the Premier League knew of Usmanov's original gift to Moshiri, ”they either have done or would do their own investigation. They would have to be convinced this is an above-the-board transaction. There need to be come questions asked.”
The Premier League did do what was assumed to be a thorough vetting of the Blue Heaven Holdings deal in March last year and ratified Moshiri's investment at the time. Panorama doubt that they were aware of all the details.
Panorama also explored the links between Bridgewater Limited, a firm based in the Isle of Man that not only administered Moshiri's purchase of his stake in Everton but is also where Blue Heaven Holdings, the company through which the shares were purchased, itself is registered.
Panorama claim through the Paradise Papers that Bridgewater is actually a trust company owned by Usmanov but the programme blurs the narrative somewhat by appearing to conflate a denial by Bridgewater and the billionaire's lawyers that they own “the company” (Bridgewater) with their rejection of any “control or influence in the running of Everton Football Club”.
As with USM Holdings' sponsorship of Everton's Finch Farm training complex, Moshiri's directorship and part ownership of many of Usmanov's companies mean that the Uzbek-Russian's name is never too far from discussions about the Toffees' finances but the club and the Premier League have been satisfied to this point that there is no conflict of interest.
Whether the broadcast of these findings prompts any further investigation by the Premier League into the source of Moshiri's funds remains to be seen. Certainly, there would need to be proof that any loan from Usmanov to Moshiri over a decade ago was made with the intention that the latter would eventually sell up at Arsenal in order to buy into another Premier League club.
Reader Comments (66)
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1 Posted 05/11/2017 at 23:43:26
2 Posted 05/11/2017 at 23:45:30
3 Posted 05/11/2017 at 00:02:40
4 Posted 05/11/2017 at 00:09:14
No-one in football will want any of this to go anywhere, and you can be assured that it wont. I thought it was thin stuff. In David Conns latest article in the Guardian, he says theyve seen a document confirming that a Moshiri controlled company repaid the money for the purchased Arsenal shares to the Usmanov controlled company which funded Red and White Holdings in that purchase, so it looks ok anyway.
5 Posted 06/11/2017 at 00:19:44
What action would they be able to enforce? Could they force Moshiri to relinquish his shares in Everton FC? Could they punish Everton FC with a points deduction or a transfer embargo? Would Usmanov or Arsenal be as responsible for any of the alleged irregularities?
What would the club(s) have done wrong to incur such a punishment as they like the Premier League would have been misled when Moshiri bought into Everton FC.
Is it the club's responibility to vet the validity of the major shareholder? Do the club rely on the Premier League's legal eagles to do that checking on their behalf?
I don't know any of the answers to any of those questions, but perhaps somebody more knowledgeable than I could furnish us all with some of the answers.
6 Posted 06/11/2017 at 00:45:26
The only reason this is a thing now is Usminov himself. He's a minority owner of a big England Club. A minority owner who's made himself a bigger media story than the man with all the control.
And a man who, openly, feeds at the trough of Gangster #1 Putin.
You're a producer at the BBC. Need something. "Everyone look at me" Usminov or Roy reviving CP?
Which would you choose?
7 Posted 06/11/2017 at 00:52:47
Now shady money has transformed former yo yo clubs like Chelsea and Man City into major forces and the Fair Play rules reinforce their power. Eg If Usmanov bought Everton he couldn't go on a Man City Chelsea type spending spree.
All the monied clubs have shady money and that includes Liverpool. Much as I, too, deplore this takeover of our clubs we must get our snouts in the money trough or we'll become a lower league also ran.
When have ordinary fans ever owned/influenced our big clubs? All that's happened is control has shifted from the local self made millionaire to foreign multi bulti millionaires.
8 Posted 06/11/2017 at 00:57:04
9 Posted 06/11/2017 at 01:33:37
10 Posted 06/11/2017 at 01:40:42
Can you really see the PL putting Everton and Arsenal, because theyd be in the shit too, both in trouble? No. Theyll do nothing to ruin their product.
The PL will do what the PL does: Let it all die down. Theyll say: Its complicated financial stuff, no one really understands it, so no one cares, Oh have you seen this weeks games? Some diversion stories, let sweep it all under the carpet and forget about it.
11 Posted 06/11/2017 at 01:41:35
12 Posted 06/11/2017 at 01:52:20
13 Posted 06/11/2017 at 02:12:46
14 Posted 06/11/2017 at 03:34:49
All I have seen is extracts of poorly completed forms 'implying a close connection' between two closely connected wealthy individuals.
This is not uncommon, neither is utilising the same law firm and the same fiduciary, where a lazy approach leads to internal forms being sparsely completed to satisfy a compliance unit or risk committee.
If this was 'evidence' no recommendation for prosecution would be forthcoming in any common law criminal jurisdiction.
And for any readers with a political approach to offshore jurisdictions... rarely does any revenue or monies from UK sources end up in white listed offshore jurisdictions - most if not all monies deposited with Isle of Man banks are now placed with their UK parents overnight to support their lending books.
Non story, likely some communication to clarify with the EPL next!
15 Posted 06/11/2017 at 03:37:26
Nowhere, that's right. For woe betide any investigation into the equally shady financing of what is now the "Big 6"...!
16 Posted 06/11/2017 at 05:44:10
17 Posted 06/11/2017 at 07:17:29
Would they investigate Man U or city or any top club in this way? No.
The premier league has clarified the rules and none were broken.
That's the end of the matter.
Would be nice if Everton could make a statement clarifying the situation, to put and end to this nonsense
18 Posted 06/11/2017 at 07:29:20
You can barely get a driving licence with a couple of letters out of place nowadays, but some are experts at the "Accidental" entries and omissions techniques!
19 Posted 06/11/2017 at 08:21:05
So Alisher Usmanov:
flogs off his Arsenal shares to someone who then makes trouble for Kroenke
buys in to Everton
Oh no !
Why that would be just dreadful, wouldn't it ?
20 Posted 06/11/2017 at 08:50:50
They do not investigate any applications, or look into their finances. How could they? These people do not use building societies to stash their dough. They won't even be named beneficiaries of these off-shore companies.
Some people believe that if accounts are audited, everything is above board - far from it. Isn't that correct, Andrew @ 14?
21 Posted 06/11/2017 at 09:25:05
Clive 11, I used to prefer The World In Action meself.
22 Posted 06/11/2017 at 09:34:28
23 Posted 06/11/2017 at 10:16:56
24 Posted 06/11/2017 at 10:18:20
The Royal Blues
25 Posted 06/11/2017 at 10:27:50
26 Posted 06/11/2017 at 10:51:02
27 Posted 06/11/2017 at 10:57:23
28 Posted 06/11/2017 at 11:39:20
29 Posted 06/11/2017 at 12:00:59
Is something fishy here? yes
Is there something fishy with the whole league? yes
Is there something fishy with the whole game? yes
Will anything happen in the near to medium term? no
Onto our next manager then.
(Behind every great fortune lies a crime.)
30 Posted 06/11/2017 at 12:27:35
31 Posted 06/11/2017 at 12:46:49
32 Posted 06/11/2017 at 12:49:27
33 Posted 06/11/2017 at 12:57:07
34 Posted 06/11/2017 at 13:08:34
In the case of the Paradise papers, the media is done my its usual of muddled presentation, lacking analytical clarity. It's mixing offshore investment with matters that are nothing to do with that, and also failing to distinguish properly between tax avoidance (which is legal, and which most people appear to do) and tax evasion (which is illegal).
35 Posted 06/11/2017 at 13:20:41
I remember he claimed a tax allowance from owning large tracts of Northern Russian tundra with millions of reindeer.
A bit like Bill and his lawnmowers.
36 Posted 06/11/2017 at 13:44:49
37 Posted 06/11/2017 at 13:55:23
Usmanov goes to every Arsenal game,they could easily get a picture of him,but no they had to show the only picture of him shaking hands with Vladamir Putin !.
I don't see any pictures of the American owners of Liverpool,Utd,Arsenal with Obama or Trump,or the Arabs of City with their rulers,but no the brussels broadcasting corporation have to get the propaganda out there,Russian billionaire,Vladamir Putin,Everton football club ?.
The next step you will see is more establishment figures coming out of the woodwork (MPs) asking for an enquiry,watch this space.
38 Posted 06/11/2017 at 13:57:06
Half an hour later, they would have been disappointed to see that not only was there nothing to tell but Everton had fuckin won 3-2!
39 Posted 06/11/2017 at 14:00:04
Guess who is in cahoots with Kroenke and the BBC? Guess who is sure to get his choice of stool pigeon for the next manager?
You guessed it... The Emperor Palpatine... who used to play a Sith in Coronation Street.
40 Posted 06/11/2017 at 14:16:52
41 Posted 06/11/2017 at 14:20:30
42 Posted 06/11/2017 at 14:21:35
You could not make this shit up,we all know the story and how the propaganda bullshit broadcasting corporation wants this to pan out to the detriment to Everton and its fans.This is why I post to let the fans know that this is a witch hunt by the elitist BBC to fuck our club up over nothing because we are connected to a russian billionaire who lets face it is giving us money like all the other big clubs get.
43 Posted 06/11/2017 at 16:22:28
Has anything dodgy gone on at another level at any time beforehand involving Usmanov, Moshiri, and their companies? Well it depends what you define as dodgy, and there are many loopholes.
I suspect the BBC have used the Usmanov/Everton/Arsenal/Moshiri link purely because it 'pretties up' their TV show. I mean it's all very interesting, especially given the ownership of the company that brokered the deal between us and Moshiri, but will this all boil down to a full blown cover-up of Usmanov actually being the owner of Everton? No. That seems highly unlikely.
44 Posted 06/11/2017 at 16:48:22
One the PL insisted he had to sell up in one Club obviously he'd tell Kronke to do one and go and get an annual fare saver ticket from Euston to Lime Street.
Hopefully the main thing Usmanov would do after a full take over, apart from banning the "Worlds Greatest Evertonian" and his side kick Minime Elstone, would be to get rid of that piss Carling.
A nice mutton plov pie and 75cl ice cold bottle of voddie at half time would do wonders to the 2nd half atmosphere
45 Posted 06/11/2017 at 17:58:31
Similarly, the media raises issues about tax avoidance, but often fails to distinguish between avoidance and evasion. Tax avoidance follows the rules, whereas tax evasion does not, and is illegal. So rather than the media focusing on people who follow the rules (regardless of how wealthy they are), they should focus on a possible need to change the rules.
It always strikes me how muddled journalists can be (and usually are) in their coverage and analysis of these matters, often producing criticism (either implied or explicit) of people when there's actually no evidence of any wrongdoing. And of course, leading to politicians waffling about how such people should apologise, when all they've apparently done is use the rules to their best advantage, as most people appear to do.
46 Posted 06/11/2017 at 18:08:32
47 Posted 06/11/2017 at 19:25:43
Surely, we need her view?
48 Posted 06/11/2017 at 19:31:28
I was in work at 8am to be greeted by 10 emails about clients caught up by the so called 'Paradise Papers', I left at 11pm... none of whom have broken any laws, or evaded tax for that matter... they just don't like handing money to the Revenue... dare I say like us all? The difference being that they have enough to spend money ensuring they pay as little as they can legally possible... if politicians or the socialists amongst don't like that, I'd suggest they change the law, until then... best leaving morals out of it.
The BBC his this little line half way down their 'Headline' story "The vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing". No S**T!
The Daily Mash sums up Auntie's leading story best: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/rich-bastards-using-tax-havens-report-also-claims-bears-defecate-in-woods-20171106138629
49 Posted 06/11/2017 at 19:35:43
I know what the rules concerning dual ownership say, and such rules have a proper role, and should perhaps be strengthened, but the fact remains that Usmanov has no say whatsoever in the running of Arsenal.
50 Posted 06/11/2017 at 19:41:26
It's been REPORTED by Usmanov. Several times to the media. To Usi, his mate Vladi is the bee's knees. An easy google.
And there's no conspiracy among the media to screw Everton. To them we're just another Club making up the numbers beneath the "Big" clubs.
51 Posted 06/11/2017 at 19:44:03
52 Posted 06/11/2017 at 20:04:52
The FA will do nothing and the Premier League will do nothing because there is nothing to do. This will all fade away and it will take away the news about the real villains as it goes.
Who says we're too clever to be manipulated by the media
53 Posted 06/11/2017 at 20:43:37
54 Posted 06/11/2017 at 20:50:46
55 Posted 06/11/2017 at 21:33:52
Usmanov sells all is Arsenal shares where he is not wanted, buys out Blue Bill and takes full control of just one club - Everton
Just imagine the kind of dodgy deals our chosen one Big Sam could get up to with Alisher's dosh behind him...
56 Posted 06/11/2017 at 22:00:20
57 Posted 06/11/2017 at 00:02:30
58 Posted 07/11/2017 at 01:55:28
Take it easy with those long days, Andrew.
59 Posted 07/11/2017 at 09:35:10
On the other hand, the rule of law is that society must be regulated by the laws of the land, in a civil system.
In my view, it is just capitalists with abundant resources (capital) manipulating the system for their own gain.
Laws are based on morality, so I don't quite understand your words 'leave morality to the side.' What do you think criminal law is based on, morals of the higher moral persons who make the law (the legislators) or the judges (common law).
Look, in short the world is corrupt at every level in one way or another. We just don't see it but in this season of democracy, things have slowly changed throughout the years. The laws only change after the dominant societies have already benefitted tremendously, and often the terms (the rhetorical) 'lessons to be learnt' emanate from these dominants.
I personally think the differences between taxes and the super rich is not morality but the predominants exert their control on the country, creating different rules for them (the rich/ super rich) and the lesser mortals. It's bit like politicians and their expenses claims.
Legitimacy means 'genuine'...looking for tax saving schemes is not legitimate.
60 Posted 07/11/2017 at 11:13:04
If the current rules (the laws) are not considered adequate enough, then this can be raised with politicians (for example through mechanisms such as on-line petitions or pressure groups). The politicians can then review and perhaps change the laws in Parliament, given that our democracy is a Parliamentary democracy.
But what's happening is outwith this system that we have. What we're seeing is chaotic, muddled, discussion by journalists and politicians, and accompanying bullshit. We have politicians saying, year after year, that the system needs to change (through the relevant mechanisms as above), but they do little to put in action their empty rhetoric.
61 Posted 07/11/2017 at 18:19:41
Interestingly, it was written when his own club (Man City) were still languishing in their self imposed 36 year exile from footy achievement (apart from beating Gillingham in a play-off final).
He has had hardly anything to say about their miraculous return to megastardom since they inherited a free stadium and got Sheik Mansour to bankroll them.
Wish Usmanov would just dump the Arses and join Moshiri we could buy our way into the Top 5 just like those who have (Leicester excepted) dominated English football for the last 30 years.
62 Posted 08/11/2017 at 05:03:24
I'd like the think we all have a sense of fairness in us and in that sense its clear a game we grew up and loved has gone... if it ever existed, and is now simply a business.
Tongue in cheek I'd suggest we leave it to our law makers to address!
And thanks Will - I'm trying!
63 Posted 08/11/2017 at 10:41:39
The rich benefit from the best education systems and then occupy government after first becoming a multimillionaire. The tax system is no different as the makers n shakers create and preserves the rules to benefit them. They give the illusion of meritocracy to everybody else, ie the idea that the individual can attain the position in life that the elite enjoy. The rich benefit from trusts, ie legal devices which protect their assets from the taxman.
About Parliament, who are they? Well, these are often manufactured in the private schools (the Etons), and the clever working class get grammar schools. The grammar schools are very Conservative in politics, so you're more likely to produce a Conservative who will be low court judge in a family court, who is influenced by the local authority (part of the Executive (think Theresa May Gov.) who has targets to meet. The effect will be sub-class parents children being taken away and given to moral parents. Of course the moral parents are the middle class who speak nice. It is also a massive financial incentive. Laws on paper (Rule of Law 2) mean nothing if it is not being enforced. Human Rights matter conveniently, but do not benefit the lowly uneducated often single female parents. It's a bit like intellectual bullying, and the result forced care or forced child adoption.
The low tier of society (see below) are prejudiced in that social workers will take children of families based on superficial reasons. Society delegates roles from the state (any public authority subject to public law) to social workers who are efficiently (but purposely lowly qualified/ trained (only degree level; Churchill said in public media, 'we will fight them on the beaches;' in secret he was calling people vermin and of social workers he said, 'social workers are champions of the species'). The problem with this idea of meritocracy is that there is over inflation in that if there is too much of anything it has less value, it's the same with education. Parliament were also at one time land owners, also noble men ('House of Lords') who just took their place by birth in the legislators House.
Then there is the House of Commons who are supposed to represent the 'Common' people, ie the normal people of society to reflect the people's interest in Parliament. Finally, we have the Crown - the Monarch, who assents to Bills before it is made into a law. The Commons are often educated in Oxford or Cambridge - a big brother to Eton and the like. Oh, for formality sake, the House of Lords who were the highest legal source in the UK's Constitution changed their name to the Supreme Court, a nominal change - a superficial move - to have the lowly underlings in society believe that there is no conflict of interest.
Society is compartmentalised into several tiers. It starts at the upper class right down to the bottom of the lower tier, the sub-class. The sub-class is the society that does not fit in the machine - the UK economy, is portrayed by the controlled media as 'benefit scroungers' - the common denominator is that the low tier will have frequency with the state, ie the social workers, the state benefits system, or the police, will be a permanent feature in their lives. But this is 'normal' society.
In terms of wealth, the UK has approximately 2 trillion economy. 1 trillion 1 followed by 12 zeros. 1.5 trillion is based Southwards whereas the other .5 trillion (500 billion) is left to run three countries: Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the rest of England. So, the wealth is concentrated down South.
Now, who do you think is going to change the tax system, would you bite the hand that feeds you?
64 Posted 08/11/2017 at 11:54:32
65 Posted 09/11/2017 at 00:18:27
We all try to use the system to our advantage. I don't know of anyone who would willingly pay more tax than they are required to do according to the rules. Minimising our tax burden according to the rules is tax avoidance. This can also be called sensible tax management.
Of course, trying to pay less than the rules require is tax evasion, which is illegal and a different matter entirely.
I guess what I'm saying is, that the politicians and media are hypocrits in focusing on the people who use the system, rather than focusing on the need to change the system. Nothing new there, I suppose, we know they're hypocrits in a more general sense. This is just a specific case.
66 Posted 12/11/2017 at 03:20:07
The wealthiest few will carry a massive stench in their dealings, but you can bet any residue is washed away.
So it's simple. Do you want the money or not? For Panorama's part it just seems very naive.
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