On April 15, the British newspaper “The Guardian” revealed that the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had asked the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to intervene to pass the deal to acquire the English football club Newcastle.
The newspaper reported that a leaked letter published by the “Daily Mail” newspaper showed that the Saudi crown prince had asked Johnson in June 2020 to intervene “so that the English Premier League would reconsider the matter and retract its wrong decision.”
The deal is worth 300 million pounds and dates back to April 2020 when the current club owner Mike Ashley agreed to sell it to a group of three partners: the Saudi Investment Fund headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Robin Brothers Company represented by Jimmy Rubin, and businesswoman Amanda. Stifley. The group described itself as an “independent, purely commercial investment”.
However, the English Premier League stopped completing the deal in May 2020, and said that it was not possible to ascertain the extent of the independence of the Saudi Investment Fund from the Saudi state, and it requested further investigations to ensure the independence of the Saudi party.
This decision prompted the group to announce its withdrawal from the deal on July 30, 2020, “because the purchase process took longer than expected.”
On the other hand, the current club owner, Mike Ashley, is still pushing for the completion of the deal, as the Premier League decision did not reject or accept the deal.
Johnson had asked his former special envoy to the Gulf, Lord Edward Lister, to investigate the developments of the matter upon receiving the message of Mohammed bin Salman. Lister denied reports that the government was trying to pressure the deal to be concluded, “We only want the Premier League to settle the matter, either by approval or rejection, and not to leave the Saudi side suspended.”
But the controversy is not limited to the Saudi side in the deal, as businessman Jimmy Rubin also recently raised controversy due to his relationship with the Conservative Party in general, and with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in particular.
And it was reported that Robin received support from Johnson to close the deal during the Conservative Party conference last year. Robin denied that he had ever spoken to Johnson.
Other reports indicated that Johnson asked Lord Lister in September 2020 to discuss the possibility of reviving the deal, and when Lester mentioned that the opportunity still exists, Johnson responded: “Wonderful.”
Jimmy Robin, 34, is the young face of the Robin Brothers Real Estate Investment Group, as he shares ownership with his father David and uncle Simon.
David and Simon Rubin came to the UK from India in the 1950s, and their first business was selling scrap.
The group is currently ranked second in the list of wealthy people in England, with a wealth of more than 18 billion pounds, and owns a lot of properties in the Mayfair area of London. It is also among the investors in the Saudi Investment Fund.
Suspicions of bias increased after it was revealed that Jimmy Rubin had donated £ 700,000 to the Conservative Party to support Johnson’s campaign, raising questions about whether donors and those close to the Conservative Party had an advantage in obtaining investment opportunities.
But a spokesman for Jimmy denied the accusations, and said that he “does not deny that he has a connection with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but confirms that he did not speak to him or Lord Lister about the Newcastle deal at all.”
Jamie has a complex network of relationships, including Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and James Middleton, brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William.
He had a romance with businesswoman Marisa Montgomery, daughter of famous photographer David Montgomery.
Strong Gulf relations
The third party in the deal is British businesswoman Amanda Stifley, owner of the financial advisory firm BCB Capital, whose name has been in the news because of her legal battle with Barclays Bank, England.
Amanda Louisa Stifley was born on April 11, 1973 in the British county of Yorkshire. Her fortune is estimated to be around 110 million pounds sterling.
Stifley has previous, albeit limited, experience in sports investments. She played the mediating role in the deal to buy Manchester City FC by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed in 2009. In 2016, she was a party to a failed deal to buy a stake in Liverpool FC.
Stifley is known for its strong Gulf relations with major investors in the Middle East in general, which enabled it to save Barclays Bank from bankruptcy following the 2008 economic crisis.
Stifley had helped raise investments for Barclays to avoid taking financial aid from the British government in exchange for owning stakes in the bank during the economic crisis. Stifley secured that the bank secured an investment of seven billion pounds from the Qatari sovereign fund in October 2008, in addition to the participation of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed as an investor in the bank in the amount of 3.25 billion pounds.
But that investment was the cause of a legal dispute that began last year between Stifley and Barclays, asking for compensation of 660 million pounds because bank managers misled her about the 2008 investments that saved the bank. The lawsuit stated that the bank granted its client, Mansour bin Zayed, less investment benefits than those obtained by the Qatari party.
Stifley lost the case in February, although the court had said that the bank managers’ behavior at the time involved “severe deception” to collect emergency investments in order to avoid the bank’s nationalization by the British government.
The cost of this legal dispute was 19.5 million pounds to Steve, while Barclays lost 33 million pounds.
Stifley had a romantic relationship with the son of the Queen of Britain, Prince Andrew in 2003. In October 2011, she married a businessman of Iranian descent, Mehrdad Qudusi, and currently lives between Dubai and London.