Monday, October 22, 2007

Alisher Usmanov: diamonds in the rough

Independent - Arsenal move to block Usmanov: Arsenal's directors have extended the 'lockdown' to ward off a potential takeover – and are set to invite American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke to sign up to the agreement. The move is a clear snub to Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire who controls Red & White Holdings which has a 23 per cent stake in the club, and cements Kroenke's favoured status with Arsenal. He was consulted on the lockdown while Usmanov wasn't.

Meanwhile, there's another lockdown of an entirely different nature going on...

John Helmer - Court documents reveal De Beers charges against Usmanov over Grib diamond pipe: A public relations blitz under way this month in London and the UK media has produced charges and counter-charges involving Alisher Usmanov, an iron-ore and steel magnate. He is accused of conspiring with other Russians to defraud a De Beers-affiliated company of its 40% stake in, and several hundred millions of dollars in future profits from, the only major diamond deposit newly discovered in northwestern Russia... This time Usmanov has been after possible control of the Arsenal Football Club. As the Corus board had done before them, the Arsenal shareholding defenders have attempted to persuade the London newspapers to publish items from Usmanov’s past career, thereby deterring shareholders from selling out, and creating an atmosphere hostile to Usmanov’s involvement in the affairs of the football club. As Usmanov had done before, he found his champion in a Moscow-based correspondent for the Sunday Times. What the latter omitted to report was a detailed dossier of court files from Sweden to the United States, the existence and meaning of which Usmanov has gone to great public care and private expense to deny. The wording of Usmanov’s denials is subtle; the only way to understand that is to read the court documents themselves. De Beers isn’t providing them. The diamond group is carefully avoiding being drawn publicly on the conflict, although it is indirectly connected to Arsenal through Sir Chips Keswick. A former Hambros banker, Keswick sits on both the De Beers and Arsenal boards. Keswick was last reported as owning 20 shares of Arsenal, amounting to 0.032% of the issued stock.

No comments: