By Anil Bhoyrul
Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai takes 90% stake; appeals to taxman for understanding on debts.
Ali Al Faraj’s controversial reign as Portsmouth owner is over, after his shares were taken over by Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai.
He becomes the club’s fourth owner in just seven months, with Portsmouth still facing a UK winding up petition this month that could send the club into administration.
The club was first sold to Sulaiman Al Fahim last July by Sacha Gaydamak. However, Al Fahim sold 90 percent of the club’s shares to Al Faraj just 42 days later. Since then, Al Faraj has consistently failed to pay the players on time, and never once actually visited the club.
It is understood that Al Faraj had taken over $20m in loans from Chainrai to keep the club afloat in recent months. The loans were secured against the stadium, the club’s future television income and Al Faraj’s 90 percent stake in the club.
Last night Chainrai’s lawyers seized control of the shares, after Al Faraj failed to meet repayments on the loan – effectively taking full control of the club.
The new owner told the Guardian newspaper he hoped that the Inland Revenue would work with the club over the winding up order it faces this month: “Portpin (Chainrai’s company) have made substantial loans to Portsmouth to try and ensure the club's future. Portpin will [now] continue to work for the best interests of the club. To help Portsmouth succeed we need the support and understanding of Her Majesty's Revenue to work out a solution."
Portsmouth chairman Al Fahim, who retains a 10 percent stake in the club, told Arabian Business: “This is a good move as it will bring some stability to the club. I think it is what was needed.”
Chainrai is expected to appoint his own executives to the Portsmouth board, leaving the future of current CEO Peter Storrie in doubt. Also unclear is the future of manager Avram Grant, after newspaper reports in the UK claimed he was to be quizzed by police after visiting a brothel. The club is rooted at the bottom of the Premier League, after losing 1-0 to Fulham last night.
How can we listen to Al Fahim? He said it was great when he sold his 90% to Al Faraj and it was just what the club needed.
what were Mr. Faraj and Mr. Fahim thinking before they entered into this deal and hat sort of DD did they undertake! It seems both men pumped money in the club in vain and have proved to be inept business men! In future media coverage of Mr. Fahim's business ad-ventures, the Portsmouth fiasco should be highleted to highlight his business sense..
Best of luck trying to get any sort of tax break off Inland Revenue! The Tax Man is the Axe Man ! The price footballers get paid for kicking a ball about is complete madness, its spoilt the whole game !
Pompey fans have repeatedly question whether Al Faraj actually exists. He's never been seen, nobody in Saudi football has ever heard of the guy, and there is only one grainy photo of him. Even his representative and lawyer admit they have never actually met him. Which must surely bring the FA's 'fit and proper' test under scrutiny. You would have thought at the bare minimum, that would involve someone from the FA actually meeting the person who they have to approve. And certainly some kind of check on ID and source of wealth. Something tells me that all is not quite what it seems regarding this and that 'Al Faraj' might turn out to be a convenient vehicle to further someone else's agenda. Lots of Israeli connections with Pompey that seem rather curious considering it is supposed to be a Saudi who was running it.