Sheffield United’s preferred buyer Mmobousi sued in US court for not paying staff

By Paul Nicholson

February 17 – Sheffield United’s preferred £90 million buyer Dozy Mmobousi, who has a court judgement against him in the UK for unpaid rent, is facing an even bigger problem in the US where he is facing demands for a jury trial over his failure to pay the CEO of his Tingo Mobile company close to $300,000.

Mmobousi (pictured) is closing in on the takeover of the Championship side and is currently undergoing the EFL’s owner’s and director’s tests. The latest revelation into his trail of unpaid debt stretching from Africa to Europe and now to the US, is unlikely to help his cause. It also raises further questions as to whether Mmobousi really has the cash to buy the club if he doesn’t have the cash to pay staff in his main business Tingo International Holdings, or even pay for the rent on his living accommodation.

See: Sheffield United bidder Mmobuosi has unpaid court judgements against him in UK

In the US, Sukhdeep Bhogal has filed his complaint in the US District Court of Connecticut requesting “damages in favor of Plaintiff, in an amount to be determined at trial, but in no event less than (i) $296,016.72, plus interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and (ii) 200,000 shares of THI (or the equivalent number of shares in the successor entities).”

Bhogal is asking for the award of civil penalties to the amount of $5,000, as well as the award of punitive damages to an amount to be determined at trial.

Bhogal entered into an employment contract, signed by Mmobousi, on January 21, 2021, where THI would pay him as the CEO of Tingo Mobile.

He received no pay, bonuses or the equity he was owed, except for a single payment of $9,975 in April 2021. Around that time Bhogal received assurances from  Mmobuosi that additional wage payments would be coming shortly as per his employment contract, and sent similar assurances by email in June 2021.

To date no payment has been made.

In June 2021 THI secured $400 million in capital from GEM Global Yield LLC SCS as part of its plan to go public. Bhogal claims that part of that value was achieved by his work that went unpaid. It is unclear what happened to the $400 million raised.

Bhogal filed his claim against Mmobousi on April 3, 2022. In July 2022 summons were served on Tingo and Mmobousi and again on December 28, 2022.

One of the problems appears to be the delays caused by actually finding Mmobousi in a location where he can be served.

His lawyers have played a long game, asking for the court for more time to prepare a motion to dismiss Bhogal’s claim.

While Mmobousi has been spinning time into the judicial by avoiding court summons and not paying his debts, he has still managed to work himself into the preferred bidder status for Sheffield United.

However, the longer the process goes on, the more is unearthed about Mmobousi’s past. He clearly would be better served, in terms of Sheffield United, by closing this deal quickly. The only cast iron certainty though is that at some point he will be served.

Mmobousi claimed, on CNN that he had already paid a deposit for the club, though did not say how much or what the terms of his acquisition were – whether it required money up-front or could be staggered once he took ownership.

Sheffield United look to be closing in on for a return to the riches of the Premier League. The club is second in the Championship and in an automatic promotion position, seven points ahead and with a game in hand over third placed Middlesbrough.

See: Doubts over whether Nigerian ‘billionaire’ has the cash for a £90m punt on Sheffield Utd 

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