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Newcastle United co-owner loses in bankruptcy row with Greek shipping tycoon

Published 25/03/2024, 13:10
© Reuters. British businesswoman Amanda Staveley arrives at London's High Court for a bankruptcy claim case, in London, Britain, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Newcastle United football club co-owner Amanda Staveley on Monday lost a London High Court battle with a Greek shipping tycoon over a historic debt of nearly 3.5 million pounds ($4.4 million).

Staveley, who owns 10% of the Premier League side with her husband, denied she was liable to Victor Restis for a sum that had snowballed with interest to over 36 million pounds.

The total bill had included around 31 million pounds in interest, accruing at 505,000 pounds per day. Restis' lawyers, however, agreed to just pursue the principal sum of roughly 3.47 million pounds due under a previous loan.

Judge Daniel Schaffer ruled on Monday that Staveley was personally liable for the debt and rejected her arguments that the dispute should be determined at arbitration or that Restis had placed any illegitimate pressure on her to obtain the debt.

The dispute pitched the high-profile British financier – whose PCP Capital Partners helped Barclays (LON:BARC) secure a multi-billion pound Abu Dhabi-backed lifeline during the 2008 credit crisis – against Restis, who had provided a witness statement for Staveley's unsuccessful lawsuit against Barclays.

PCP, which fronted a Saudi Arabian-led consortium to buy Newcastle United in 2021, has since been renamed Apollo Belvedere Services.

Staveley was seeking to set aside a statutory demand by Restis in a dispute over a tranche of a 10-million-pound loan to her businesses made in 2008.

A successful statutory demand can lead to a bankruptcy petition if a debt is not paid within 21 days.

Staveley's lawyer said she had been misled by Restis and that the dispute should be determined by arbitration proceedings.

They also accused Restis of threats of physical violence, which Restis' lawyers said was ridiculous as Staveley had subsequently invited him to a Newcastle United match.

© Reuters. British businesswoman Amanda Staveley arrives at London's High Court for a bankruptcy claim case, in London, Britain, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

"There were clearly commercial pressures on Ms Staveley, but Mr Restis was perfectly entitled to press for payment," Schaffer said in his ruling, rejecting Staveley's case that she was subject to duress.

The judge gave Restis until Apr. 22 to present a bankruptcy petition against Staveley.

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