04/02/2024 30comments  |  Jump to last

The latest lawsuit filed against 777 Partners in Miami last week is by a former employee seeking damages for unpaid salary and bonuses amounting to $1.8m.

777 Partners are accused of developing “a dubious reputation throughout the finance world”, of being “more interested in the appearance of being a successful enterprise” than “executing a sustainable business model”, and of amassing “massive debts”.

The Florida-based investment firm are still awaiting a decision from the Premier League over whether or not they pass the owners and directors test, having agreed to purchase Farhad Moshiri's stake in Everton back in September.

In the meantime, 777 have provided the club with a reported £170m in loans to keep the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in track for completion by the end of the year.


Reader Comments (30)

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Peter Hodgson
1 Posted 05/02/2024 at 16:24:35
We would do well to remember that these lawsuits are being filed in the US so there may or may not be any substance in them.

However the old saying There is no smoke without fire. I think that the Prem League and the FCA will be looking closely at this. I hope it gets sorted soon. The smell however gets more noxious as each day passes though.

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 05/02/2024 at 16:30:14
Peter they are also being sued for $30 million in Canada for not bothering to pay for planes leased to use in Australia by Bonza, their airline which is also being sued for selling tickets for phantom flights that never happened.

This whole thing is a farce. I read some time ago that, when trying to buy Sydney FC, they never gave up the requested financials but kept lending them money so in the end they were in de facto control and the Aussie FA just capitulated and let them have it. I imagine this is their plan with Everton.

From my point of view, it should be pretty simple. Provide details requested by x date; if you don't, you're not approved. Masters is just letting them kick the can down the road seemingly indefinitely. They should just end it now and say "You failed to meet our guidelines by not providing info." End of.

John Edwards
3 Posted 05/02/2024 at 16:53:34
According to CBC News network in Canada last week, Flair Airlines owe $67M in taxes and that their assets are to be seized.

777 Partners have a 25% stake in Flair and invests at an 18% loan interest rate. Such news could further impact 777's Premier League approval process.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 05/02/2024 at 16:56:53
I can see why the other group who have been overruled by Moshiri were absolutely flabbergasted when he picked 777 over them, Kieran.

I've heard they are still waiting in the wings although with Americans not really understanding the concept of relegation, getting back some of our points would really help things move a lot quicker once 777 Partners are told they are not going to be allowed to own Everton.🤞

I know you have got this filed under fantasy, but I suppose Everton have been pure soap opera for years…

Peter Hodgson
5 Posted 05/02/2024 at 17:37:28
Can't disagree with anything that has been said following my original post. I hope there is someone different waiting in the wings though.
Christine Foster
6 Posted 05/02/2024 at 17:49:37
Turning into a soap opera that's not funny. Reminds me of that old series out of the US called "Soap" it started every week with a recap of the situation so far and the immortal phrase, "Confused? You will be..."

The only reason I am confused by this is why they are still being reviewed by the Premier League. I wonder sometimes if Moshiri is selling to them for spite? Like all things Everton, we never get to see the truth.

Phil Friedman
7 Posted 05/02/2024 at 17:49:44
Tony Abrahams — exactly right. Give a date certain and make a decision. Agree the sale, or move on.
Kevin Molloy
8 Posted 05/02/2024 at 17:55:17
My word, it's just never ending. Can we please just for once catch a break?
Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 05/02/2024 at 18:22:11
I was hearing that they part-own the team from Berlin that Jonjoe Kenny plays for and the fans absolutely detest them.

You do wonder about spite, Christine, and if Moshiri is being spiteful then I think he's picking a group that won't pass the fit and proper test (has he picked a good one since he's been here?) so you do wonder why the Premier League are taking so long in making this decision?

It's absolutely imperative that Everton Football Club, get decent owners with a proper thought-out plan so I would even describe it as one of the biggest decisions of my Evertonian lifetime.

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 05/02/2024 at 21:28:00
Peter @1,

Thing is, the FCA — who you'd think would be all over these kinds of financial shenanigans — are said to have given 777 Partners the nod to proceed, and we're only waiting on the Premier League now.

Still no reference to this, though, in the News section on the FCA Website.

Peter Hodgson
11 Posted 06/02/2024 at 13:02:16
I think that there being no mention of this 'approval' on the FCA website Michael could be telling. Until there is an 'official' endorsement of what has been said by others, I feel it is wise to treat it with suspicion. It deserves nothing less. They have got to come off the fence at some stage (probably at the same time as the Premier League) and make a public comment.

It has got a bit to run yet but the current direction of travel doesn't look good for 777 Partners in my view.

Where Everton will end up is a mystery to me though.

Jim Bennings
12 Posted 06/02/2024 at 14:13:55
I do think the end of Everton Football Club will soon be nigh, to be honest.

Moshiri started the ball rolling when he walked through the door in 2016 with a complete scattergun approach to everything he did. It's easy to blame the deceased Bill Kenwright but I feel this is primarily on Moshiri's shoulders.

777 Partners look like a walking disaster zone and it's an almost perfect match for the shipwreck that is Everton in 2024.

Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 06/02/2024 at 22:41:02
More on the FCA: I wrote in a little enquiry, asking if they could clarify for me the reported approval of 777 Partners.

I got a nice thoughtful reply. It's a bit long but here's the meat of it:

I understand from your query that you're contacting us regarding 777 Partners. You've explained that you've seen on some news outlets that we have given our approval to 777 Partners as the prospective new owners of Everton Football Club Co Limited. You've told us you have seen nothing related to this on our News section and you've asked if we have reviewed and/or approved 777 Partners. Please find below some information which you may find helpful.

Our role

I thought it would be useful to provide you with information about the FCA and what we do. We're responsible for the conduct and supervision of regulated firms such as banks, building societies, insurers, investment firms and those offering consumer credit in the UK. We set the rules and regulations for authorised firms to follow in relation to their regulated activities (such as credit broking or insurance services). Further information can be found on our website www.fca.org.uk.

777 Partners

I’ve conducted a search on the Financial Services Register (FS register) which is a public database of the firms we authorise and regulate and it also shows warning pages for unauthorised firms.

I’ve been unable to locate a firm called 777 Partners which means they’re not authorised by us.

Providing updates

Unfortunately, we're unable to make any comment on any prospective applications for authorisation which may or may not be in progress. If a firm is authorised by us to provide regulated financial products or services, they will appear on the FS register.

Additionally, we're unable to make any comment on any news articles published by anyone other than ourselves. I, too, have searched our website and have found no published information relating to 777 Partners.

I appreciate this may not be the response you were hoping for but wish you all the best going forward.

Makes me wonder if it's worth going back to the news source who posted this… I think it was the Friday before Christmas? I follow up tomorrow.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 06/02/2024 at 22:54:54
Michael, that’s very intriguing. Good digging.
Christine Foster
15 Posted 06/02/2024 at 23:12:17
Hmm. that's odd Michael, around 23 December, it was widely reported in the media (Daily Fail, Telegraph, Echo, Athletic etc) that 777 Partners had gained approval but no source cited.

If, as your post says, the application is still pending, then they cannot comment (confirm or deny) any application status (bit unhelpful, I know).

Still doesn't answer the question of where the source is... or if it's true!

John Keating
16 Posted 06/02/2024 at 23:14:01
Well done, Michael.

At least it appears that as of the date of the response to your enquiry the FCA had not approved 777 Partners.

However, it also appears they have not ruled out a present application by 777 Partners.

Personally I would have thought the PL would not give approval to 777 Partners before approval by the FCA.

When asked at the Commons, Masters indicated their decision would be in weeks not months. That being the case, I would suggest the Premier League decision is imminent. Unless Masters is lying of course.

Graham Fylde
17 Posted 06/02/2024 at 23:15:00
Michael, have you used Chat GPT at all? This has the hallmarks of an AI response. The trope of playing back to you what you asked or telling you which research process it is enacting followed by generalised content is stylistically very similar.

Also, 777 Partners might not appear on the FCA full-blown authorisation list, I think the clearance for the Premier League was limited solely to credit licensing for the purposes of season ticket financing for fans.

Kieran Kinsella
18 Posted 06/02/2024 at 23:40:13

You're right, mate that's definitely an AI response. Hmmm… maybe explains why the process is so long. AI can't be bamboozled by sweet talk.

Andrew Keatley
19 Posted 07/02/2024 at 00:27:07
It is increasingly hard to believe that Farhad Moshiri has any real say in anything to do with Everton FC; since the sanctions on Usmanov, we've essentially been a club in absolute financial paralysis – and Moshiri has been conspicuous by his extended absence. The whole set-up seems a busted flush, and Usmanov is sufficiently rich and old to just let the club burn.

If in fact Usmanov has been pulling the strings (and holding the purse-strings) all along, then maybe we'd be better off getting the Premier League and UK government to step in and enforce the removal of the old regime on similar grounds to Abramovich being forced to sell Chelsea FC.

Christine Foster
20 Posted 07/02/2024 at 11:32:38
They implied Andrew, that Moshiri has just been the front guy for Usmanov, that the funds have originated from the later.

Truth is, unless there is a paper trail, we will never know, but it's not inconceivable that someone with great wealth could get around sanctions through third-party entities. If you have the money and inclination, someone with the expertise to move money through crypto, offshore loan deals, can be found. Has Moshiri or Usmanov lost the money?

But the question has to be asked is why? Where is the motivation, never mind the proof. This has always felt like it was a long-term real estate game scuppered because of sanctions. But are these two "friends" – "business partners"
of many years – just walking away? I doubt it...

John Keating
21 Posted 07/02/2024 at 11:50:39
I agree, Christine.

It would surprise me if these two amigos just walk away from half a billion or whatever it is.

Usmanov may well be sanctioned now but, as we've seen over centuries, money talks and one day the moneymen and politicians will decide we're all mates again.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 07/02/2024 at 12:05:33
Yet Chelsea are permitted to be sponsored (shirt sleeve) by a Russian back company and the Premier League stating they don't need to step in.
Paul Hewitt
23 Posted 07/02/2024 at 12:11:28
Maybe USM can start sponsoring us again then?
Michael Kenrick
24 Posted 07/02/2024 at 12:11:43
Good call, Graham.

It has all the hallmarks – repeated prompt, statement of corporate function, and subheadings. It also came back pretty fast, like next day, and contains no mistakes that I could see, which is something these large language models seem quite good at, as you might expect!

I think you might be right on the likely very limited scope of financial services 777 Partners would provide, which seems to be all FCA are concerned about, and possibly why 777 Partners do not appear on the Financial Services register, even if they have been the subject of a narrowly targeted review.

Michael Kenrick
25 Posted 07/02/2024 at 14:36:55
Danny @22,

This is what I was told when I asked about BingX and Russia:

BingX has publicly described itself as a "steadfast supporter of the Russian crypto community." They hosted an event during Moscow Tech Week, showcasing their commitment to innovation and engagement within Russia. Their app and website are available in Russian.

While BingX has offices in various regions, information about their financial backers and ownership structure is limited. There is no evidence suggesting direct links to sanctioned individuals or companies.

The association with Chelsea Football Club, which previously had ties to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, might create an indirect link. The timing of the sponsorship deal, amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine, has raised concerns and scrutiny.

The UK government and Premier League have not found any reason to intervene in the Chelsea sponsorship deal due to lack of evidence of sanctions violations. It's crucial to distinguish between legitimate business activity in Russia and supporting individuals or entities involved in harmful actions.

BingX has connections to Russia through its marketing efforts, language support, and presence during industry events. However, there is no concrete evidence of direct links to sanctioned individuals or companies. As the situation is complex and sensitive, it's important to stay informed and critically evaluate information from various sources.

James Hughes
26 Posted 07/02/2024 at 14:50:16
A question: If, and it’s a big ‘if’, 777 Partners go bust over the accumulated large debts, would EFC still be held to account for all the debt or just a portion of it?

I know creditors get shafted in this situation and can end up with 10p in the pound, is it the same with debtors?

Apologies if this is a stupid question.

Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 07/02/2024 at 15:18:46
At face value, it seems very selective and shady, Michael. Indirect link to Abramovic? That smells of one of those Russian doll things where if you keep opening them, you get to the bottom.

I read on the the BBC that along with other countries, the UK is still importing Russian oil by proxy as it is refined in India and / or China.

Maybe Usmanov could / should have set up a proxy company in one of those countries.

I don't confess to know the exact figures, but we've lost at least £200M in sponsorship.

Clive Rogers
28 Posted 07/02/2024 at 15:30:18
Personally I hope that the Premier League block 777's bid as they sound decidedly dodgy. I have yet to read anything good about them. They seem to have a long track record of being bad payers of debts.

None of the clubs that they already own seem to have improved under them which is reflected in the fans’ feelings towards them.

Peter Hodgson
29 Posted 07/02/2024 at 16:15:52
I'm afraid that since this thread started all has become too murky for me to work through my ageing brain regarding where the money is really currently coming from to keep Everton afloat. Whatever, the name 777 Partners doesn't sound any better to me than it did before.

We have all suspected for some time now that there may be some sort of link with the past however and since our owner was very close to a Russian benefactor we may have suspected that was the likely source. To get where they are today such people tend not to throw in the towel at the first obstacle they face, particularly after investing already in a venture.

The last few posts are maybe pointing us in that direction too. What a tangled web we seem to be involved in. Talking about being the bag carrier for the wrong man isn't the half of it if that is true.

On a more realistic note, if that is the case, or close to being the case, the Premier League should give us the points back, refuse approval to 777 Partners for the many good reasons they already see in plain sight in front of them, and release us from this seemingly spiral of hell.

I may have got it all wrong, however. Please discuss.

Clive Rogers
30 Posted 07/02/2024 at 17:52:40
Peter, 29, I think you have got it all right actually.

They don't seem to have much cash and their early loans to the club were reportedly funded by borrowing. From what I can see, none of their investments seem to be thriving.

I absolutely dread them taking us over.

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