Former Chelsea boss Granovskaia told court she felt ‘threatened’ by Zouma’s agent

April 24 – A football agent sent a threatening email to a senior director at Chelsea demanding a six-figure commission over the transfer of French defender Kurt Zouma, prosecutors told a London court on Tuesday.

Saif Rubie sent an email to Marina Granovskaia, one of football’s most powerful women and Chelsea’s director of football under former owner Roman Abramovich, in May 2022 after Zouma’s transfer to West Ham from Chelsea the previous year.

The 45-year-old has pleaded not guilty to one charge under the Malicious Communications Act. His trial began on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Arizuna Asante said Rubie – whose name appeared on court lists as Saif Alrubie – told Granovskaia that he and his partners were owed £300,000 over the deal.

Granovskaia gave evidence that Chelsea received a total of £29.1 million which included a £4.1 million severance payment to Zouma.

In an email to Granovskaia, Rubie is said to have written: “I’m sure you’ve heard the story about your other friend Kia when he owed me money for a year and how he ended up paying it. Wouldn’t want you to be in the same situation just because you have a personal issue with me.”

Asante told jurors that was a reference to an incident involving fellow agent Kia Joorabchian, who was allegedly accosted in a restaurant and was faced with demands for money at his office in 2008.

Granovskaia told the court she had a “vague recollection” of having previously heard of the alleged incident involving Joorabchian when she received Rubie’s email.

Describing her fears on receiving the email, Granovskaia replied: “It made me feel very nervous, it made me worry and it made me feel threatened.”

“Very uncomfortable would be an understatement. I felt physically threatened because of the language being used.”

The trial continues.

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