May 24, 2024

Everton: Potential buyers 777 accused of fraud in court files

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Josh Wander (at Max) is the co-owner of 777 Partners

  • author, Shimon Hafez
  • Role, BBC Sport’s football news correspondent

Prospective Everton owners 777 Partners and company co-owner Josh Wander have been accused of committing a “fraudulent scheme” by a lender in a lawsuit in a New York civil court.

Leadenhall Capital Partners LLP and Leadenhall Life Insurance Linked Investments Fund PLC, based in London, are demanding that Wander and 777 “pledge” more than $350 million (£279 million) in assets as collateral for the credit facility agreement, but learned that it “does not exist” or It was “not actually owned by the Wander Entities.”

Leadenhall’s 82-page motion, filed Friday as part of his civil claim, said he was seeking to recover “millions of dollars in damages for a house of cards that was on the verge of collapse.”

777 Partners declined to comment when contacted by BBC Sport.

The latest development casts further doubt on whether 777 can complete a lengthy takeover of the Toffees after agreeing to buy Farhad Moshiri’s 94% stake in the club last September.

The Miami-based investment firm has held discussions with a private equity firm specializing in “distressed debt” as it aims to conclude a deal that has not yet been ratified by the Premier League.

The 777 was in financial straits this week, eventually sending a late payment of £16m to Everton to cover day-to-day running costs, and the airline it owns went into voluntary administration.

Meanwhile, UK PR consultants for the 777 have stopped representing the company after they said the company had not made fee payments, and it remains to be seen whether they will restart.

“Everton is the latest shining object in Wander’s fraudulent scheme, regardless of financial solvency,” Leadenhall’s US court filing said.

“Upon information and belief, they wander and [co-owner Steven] Pascoe runs a giant shell game at best, and an outright Ponzi scheme at worst, taking money from investors and lenders and funneling it to various losing figures in the organization to hide their true financial condition.

BBC Sport contacted Wonder separately on Saturday for comment, and is awaiting a response.