Moshiri and Usmanov under the money microscope over Everton shareholdings

November 6 – Already in trouble on the pitch despite a come-from-behind victory on Sunday, English Premier League club Everton, who spent around £150 million in the summer to try and break into the top places, are now the subject of a television investigative documentary into who owns them.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has insisted his stake in the iconic club was bought with his own money after questions were asked in a BBC Panorama programme about his link to Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire who holds a 30% stake in Arsenal.

Panorama, which airs the second part of a two-part documentary tonight, cites leaked documents from the infamous “Paradise Papers” which claim to contain information of Usmanov funding Moshiri’s move for Everton.

The pair jointly held a 30% stake in Arsenal before Moshiri sold his shares to Usmanov in February 2016. Moshiri subsequently purchased 49.9% of Everton to become the club’s majority shareholder but the programme looked at whether an alleged Usmanov gift had financed Moshiri’s initial holding in Arsenal which would raise the question over whether  the Russian’s money is now in Everton.

Premier League rules state an individual who owns a stake of 10% or more in one club cannot hold a single share in another. But Moshiri’s legal representatives say he passed all the relevant Premier League checks and has funded all his football investments himself.

When confronted by a Panorama reporter, Moshiri said: “Are you crazy? Have you seen a psychiatrist? It wasn’t a gift, where did you get this idea? A gift makes it yours. Did he loan £100 million to me? If it is a loan, I owe the money back. It’s neither because I paid for it.”

Lawyers for Usmanov also rejected the claims saying there were “errors of fact and interpretation” in the allegations.

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