Today, the AIM Stock Market may well have published the oddest communique in its history, as the Sevco board all but called out Dave King as a fraudster, and told the shareholders not to vote for his resolutions.
The media might not want to write about it, but this laid bare, to the markets, the precise nature of King’s convictions in South Africa, as well as the hurdles he will face at the SFA, AIM itself and with the provisions of the Insolvency Act.
In short, it’s a demolition job on the arrogant chancer who just days ago sat in front of a hand-picked audience of drooling hacks, at an event hosted by the PR company recently formed by Jim Traynor and another former Ibrox press officer, where King won them over with the prospect of succulent lamb.
Some had expected the announcement sooner, but sadly for those who still expect to read actual news rather than regurgitated press spin from our sports media, there were to be no “7 am klaxons”.
Instead, the statement was put out at a little after 2:00 today and it did not spare the South African tax cheat from a lashing.
Football in this country has become accustomed to the soap opera being played out here, but even by Sevco standards today has been an interesting and amusing one.
Some of us had actually expected the Sevco board to refuse the EGM request, on some minor pretext or another. Instead, they used the announcement to dump a pile of grenades into the laps of the requisitioners, and to make a naked plea to the Three Bears to jump ship.
It is unlikely to happen, and as most expect King to have the votes to dump the present Sevco incumbents and put himself in their place it puts pressure on everyone from Mike Ashley to the SFA to lift their own game.
If King takes over, where will he look for investment?
Well, reports have surfaced today that suggest the disgraced former IPL cricket boss, Lalit Modi, banned by the organisation for “financial irregularities”, and who only recently had his passport unfrozen by the Indian government, wants to buy Sandy Easdale’s Ibrox shares.
This would make sense if the Easdales were to be forced off the board … but once again, it would beg the question … just what is it about Sevco that attracts the wrong kind of people?
Aside from having a complicated legal situation at the moment, Modi also has a colourful background, at least if you’re using the word “colourful” the way the Scottish sports media tends to.
In 1985 he was convicted of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, assault and second degree kidnapping. His recent “misdeeds” resulted in his lifetime ban from the IPL, and he is facing a variety of charges in India (where he does not live; like many other global spivs he has chosen to house himself in London) which include, but are not limited to, money laundering, tax evasion and fraud … which makes him a good fit for an Ibrox boardroom table beside Dave King, but certainly not a suitable person to be involved at a proper Scottish football club.
The saga of Sevco becomes more and more like something from a John LeCarrie novel.
Since 2010, when it became clear that the bank and Murray wanted shot of each other, this story has seen the involvement of Russian gangsters, Ulster loyalists, Motherwell born billionaires, Greenock fraudsters, Malaysian crime figures wanted by Interpol, South African tax cheats, English porn directors and now, finally, we’ve come full circle to Indian drug smugglers.
Romanov aside, these kind of people do not get involved at other football clubs. Why doesn’t it happen?
Why are so many of them swirling around in the vortex at Ibrox?
This is like a Who’s Who of the gutters of international finance, the guys who couldn’t get jobs at Stratton Oakmont and the back street dens of the Six Counties.
Is there something fundamentally wrong with that club that attracts these people like flies around a particularly fresh turd?
Do you need a criminal background to get involved there, or can you say you are working towards one and leave it at that?
Can you imagine the outcry if a single one of these people was linked to Celtic Park?
Earlier this year, St Mirren broke off negotiations with a consortium who were interested in taking the club over because the broker involved on the consortium end – Taver Mohammed – had served a six month prison sentence in 2011.
Some clubs do take this stuff seriously, it seems.
Not so much at Sevco or in our Scottish media, many of whom sat in front of Dave King just this week and nodded as he told them that he had won a “favourable outcome” in his South African case.
If, by favourable, he means he didn’t go to prison … then yes, I guess he did. But we know that’s not what he really meant, and they knew it too … and the scary thing is that they either agreed with him or were too stupid to understand that he was reverting to type.
The Sevco board statement today was very clear on what that means. “Glib and shameless liar” is about the gist of it.
Scottish football is being run by people who are so in thrall to what Sevco pretends to be that they are wholly incapable of taking the right decisions for the governance of this game.
But if they don’t do that, if there isn’t some form of Financial Fair Play, for example, as well as tougher guidelines not only over who can sit on boards but on what “controlling interest” means, as well as working with governments to assure strong, robust regulations on football ownership, then we’re heading for a very bad place indeed.
It is a matter of time before a Scottish club is being used as a front for all manner of criminal activity. Neil Doncaster’s insistence on the Survival Myth, his attempt to normalise debt dumping, means that “the bust out” is now a viable business plan for someone unscrupulous enough to try it, and the consequences when that happens, and is uncovered, will be colossal.
Some people seem either ignorant about that or don’t care either way.
But it’s coming, unless we start building some walls right now.
In the meantime, all we can do is marvel at the sordid cast of characters who continue to circle Ibrox like buzzards.
For this is Sevco. Alcatraz FC.
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