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The final day of Prince Abdullah’s evidence in the Sheffield United ownership trial is due to get underway at 10am. I’m currently on a train which was booked before they decided to bring today’s start time forward by half an hour! #sufc #twitterblades
We’ve also had a bit of a delay due to a problem with the track near Milton Keynes but I’m still hopeful I’m going to get to the court on time! If not I’ll only be five or ten minutes late #sufc #twitterblades
Just made it! #sufc #twitterblades
Downes begins by asking Prince Abdullah about evidence he gave earlier in the week about the £3m Charwell loan. Suggests the fact the Prince asked two lawyers about it prove he must have had some uncertainty about it #sufc #twitterblades
The Prince says he spoke to the two lawyers because he wanted to feel more comfortable about the loan and to be more assured about it. Downes says this is the same as being uncertain about it #sufc #twitterblades
Now taking about evidence from Wednesday in which Prince Abdullah said his financial position had improved by the end of 2016. Downes says he is going to show him documents that prove that can’t have been the case #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘The position was quite desperate, you were still behind by a million or so’. Abdullah: ‘Reorganising your facilities with the bank takes time. I don’t say there it no hope (of finding the money) or anything like that’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes puts it to Prince Abdullah has not made any disclosure of his financial situation during the whole of this trial. ‘Your financial situation had not improved. You just didn’t have the money,’ he says #sufc #twitterblades
Downes is now asking why no emails have been disclosed between the Prince and Dr Rakkan or Mr Bin Laden about the Charwell loan. The Prince says he doesn’t always communicate electronically and doesn’t even have Mr Bin Laden’s email address #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘It is remarkable is it not that there are these huge gaps in documentary evidence about this loan and these meetings’. Abdullah: ‘I think you made your point’. Downes shoots back that he has a couple of more examples #sufc #twitterblades
Downes now asks about a single one line what’s app message with no other messages around it that was disclosed by Prince Abdullah’s team. Says it makes no sense without more context. Prince says he can’t seriously expect him to remember everything #sufc #twitterblades
Downes asks the Prince does his assistant ever communicate by email and if so why haven’t they been disclosed. Also says there are no emails relating to the time when the call options were exercised #sufc #twitterblades
Downes asks the Prince who did the search for documents in his offices in Saudi and Los Angeles. Prince Abdullah says he doesn’t remember but adds when something is important he calls his secretary Ahmed and that’s why there is no documentary evidence #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘It is inconceivable that not a single document exists about all of these things and their absence shows that the search has not been done properly’. ‘No, I don’t accept that’, says Prince Abdullah #sufc #twitterblades
Now discussing a fee paid by the co-owners for arranging the £3m Charwell loan. Downes says Mr McCabe was being persuaded to agree to the fee on the basis that it was a professional fee not that it would be shared around Prince Abdullah’s associates #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘There is a fraud here being committed on Mr McCabe. It hasn’t even occurred to him that you might be in on the whole thing’. Prince Abdullah says half the money went to the fee and the rest was for his expenses. Downes says it is a fraud #twitterblades
The judge intervenes and says as the Prince has just been asked a question about whether he has committed a criminal offence and as such is entitled to decline to answer. The Prince says he chooses to decline to answer the question #sufc #twitterblades
Downes now saying the Prince always knew the £3m Charwell loan was a ‘soft loan’ that could be easily extended or made to go away. Prince Abdullah disagrees and says this is ‘100 per cent incorrect’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘The understanding was always that the obligation to repay the Charwell loan was fairly soft wasn’t it’. Prince Abdullah: ‘If you ask me the same question 10 times my answer will always be the same’ #sufc #twitterblades
We’re just going to have a short break for the stenographers and we’ll be back in about 10 minutes #sufc #twitterblades
We’re back and asking the Prince about his relationship with Dr Rakkan. Downes asks why Prince Abdullah stopped speaking to Dr Rakkan. Prince Abdullah says it might have something to do with him being attacked in the media by the new minister of sport #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says that is unbelievable and offers no explanation as to why Dr Rakkan stopped calling. Says a much more plausible explanation is that the Prince was much less useful to Dr Rakkan because he was no longer minister of sport #sufc #twitterblades
We’re now talking about the beginning of 2018 as legal proceedings started. Downes says the petition which first alleged the Charwell loan was a bribe appeared in May. The Prince says Yusuf Giansiracusa told him they were making ‘nasty allegations’ about him #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You were not going to repay that loan until you realised that it had been alleged that your failure to repay it was indicative of it being a bribe’. ‘No’, says Prince Abdullah #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says a government crackdown on corruption in Saudi where 300 people were arrested meant nobody, especially Mr Bin Laden, could be seen to do anything improper and that is why the loan needed to be repaid #sufc #twitterblades
Now talking about the role of Stephen Bettis again. Prince Abdullah says his impression of him was that he was a good person with a strong personality. Downes says another factor as that he lived in LA near one of the Prince’s houses. The Prince rejects this #sufc #twitterblades
Downes pressing the Prince about the meeting between the parties at Bad Ragaz and whether agreements were reached on the position of Jan Van Winkel and the invitation made to Deloitte’s to come into the club. Prince says he clearly remembers what was agreed #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘Your clear recollection on this matter is remarkable when compared to your lack of recollection on many other matters’. Prince Abdullah says he remembers it better as it was clear this was an important meeting #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘If the owner of a football club was in receipt of a bribe that would do serious damage to the reputation of that football club’. Says English football club owners have to pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says that the fact Prince Abdullah took advice from a lawyer on the £3m Charwell loan must mean he understood it could make him subject to accusations of bribery. ‘No’, says Prince Abdullah #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says the Prince raised the Charwell loan at a meeting of the partners because it had been provided as a favour to him and he wanted to make sure at least one half of it would be repaid. Prince Abdullah rejects this #sufc #twitterblades
Now taking about the rent the club was paying to McCabe. Downes says the Prince agreed that it would be reviewed in good faith and then reneged on that. ‘You complain that Mr McCabe doesn’t keep his word but you are just as bad’, says Downes #sufc #twitterblades
Now Deloitte’s. Downes says if it got out the club’s accounts were being looked at would be damaging. Prince Abdullah: ‘This is something that we should have done. It was necessary. If you have organisations a long time they need to be checked regularly’ #sufc #twitterblades
Now Jan Van Winkel. Downes asks the Prince whether he agrees his appointment could rock the boat. Prince Abdullah says he ‘can’t believe that Kevin did not see the advantage of bringing in Jan’ #sufc #twitterblades
Prince Abdullah: ‘Two times we agree and then he changed his mind. He has to my wishes into consideration. Because it was my idea he didn’t do it’. Downes: ‘I understand you disagree but do you not accept his caution was honest’. ‘No’, says the Prince #sufc #twitterblades
Back to Deloitte’s. Downes asks what the rush was in getting them in before January. The Prince says it had been agreed for some time they would come in in November. He says he was concerned they were overpaying people but Downes says he ‘overreacted’ #sufc #twitterblades
And that’s it for the morning session of evidence. We’ll be back with more Prince Abdullah at 2pm #sufc #twitterblades
Just as we left court the lawyers were discussing asking Prince Abdullah to slow down a bit when he talks as the stenographers were struggling to keep up. I know how they feel!
Just back after lunch and they are taking about slowing down for the stenographers. Decided that after long answers there should be a pause to allow them to catch up. Phew! #sufc #twitterblades
Talking Jan Van Winckel again. Downes says that agreed evidence shows Chris Wilder was unhappy about his attempt to have more influence over the team, particularly when he posted on social media after a 3-2 defeat to Barnsley #sufc #twitterblades
Prince Abdullah says some of the transfers during that time - one from Liverpool or Manchester United - were ‘very, very bad’, while Van Winckel‘s advice that the club should sign Aleksandar Mitrović from Newcastle were ignored #sufc #twitterblades
Were now back talking about the role of the finance director, who was told to report to the Prince rather than the club. Downes says it could lead to a conflict of interests over his duty to the company would conflict with his duty to one shareholder #sufc #twitterblades
Prince Abdullah says he doesn’t accept there was a conflict but does accept Mr Downes assertion that he appointed Mr Radcliffe ‘because he wanted his man on this inside’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says Prince Abdullah viewed his relationship with McCabe was a ‘fight for control of the club’. Prince Abdullah says they were going to try anything they could to try to make Kevin take us seriously #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You had decided to be deliberately obstructive hadn’t you’. Prince Abdullah: ‘We were doing what was in the interests of Sheffield United Football Club #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You were working on a coordinated attempt to cause hurt, embarrassment and distress to Kevin McCabe’. Prince Abdullah: ‘We were trying to stand up to him and say enough is enough #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You knew the only way out was the ‘Russian roulette’ call option. You wanted to push McCabe to into triggering the call options and you knew that would create a problem with the property options’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You hated Kevin McCabe and Mr Giansiracusa had come up with a scheme to evade the property obligations’. Reads out email in which Prince Abdullah says ‘fuck him’ of McCabe #sufc #twitterblades
Prince Abdullah: ‘I don’t hate Kevin McCabe, I prayed for his son when he was ill. I hate his management style and how stubborn he is’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says they even tried to stop Kevin McCabe from attending United games, he club he had supported man and boy. ‘You did it then and if you win you will do it again’ says Mr Downes. Prince Abdullah says Kevin McCabe would always be welcome at SUFC #sufc #twitterblades
Downes reads out emails from Prince Abdullah in which he says - allegedly about Kevin McCabe - ‘you should never wrestle with a pig because you both get dirty and the pig likes it’ #sufc #twitterblades
Another email from the Prince says ‘it is hard to win an argument with a smart person but it is impossible to win an argument with a stupid one’. Downes says that was again directed towards Kevin McCabe #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says Prince Abdullah’s assertion in an email that no one in Sheffield likes Kevin McCabe is disproved by a 2018 poll in the Sheffield Star which showed an 88 per cent approval rating for his ownership. Says the Prince just wanted to hurt him #sufc #twitterblades
Downes saying this hurt was intended to provoke McCabe to trigger the call options and furthermore to make it more likely that he would make a low offer. Prince Abdullah says he was only thinking about things that were in his control #sufc #twitterblades
Now talking about Stephen Bettis again and the unilateral decision McCabe made to stop his pay without informing him. Downes saying Mr Giansiracusa telling Bettis he could have a claim against the club was against its interests #sufc #twitterblades
Downes says Mr Giansiracusa actions show how angry he and Prince Abdullah were. ‘You were going to war with Kevin McCabe and the red mist had come down’ #sufc #twitterblades
We’re taking a short break for the stenographers again. Actually laughed out loud at the pig quote but fortunately want asked to leave court! #sufc #twitterblades
Back asking about Bettis’ departure. Downes: ‘You didn’t really care about the interests of SUFC and Blades and if Bettis could be persuaded to make a claim against the club that would be good for you but not the club’. Prince Abdullah denies this #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You were trying to besmirch Kevin McCabe’s name. Mr Giansiracusa threatened to affect his standing in the club and the community’. Prince Abdullah: ‘I thought it was a polite email. It has strong language but says we can fix the relationship’ #sufc #twitterblades
Now taking about the ‘Bin Laden’ loan again. Downes suggests that Mr Giansiracusa’s explanation to Santander about the loan’s repayment was ‘tricky’ and ‘potentially misleading’. Prince Abdullah asks why Downes is asking him about something Giansiracusa did #sufc #twitterblades
Now going back to the call options again. Downes: ‘You knew they had made a mistake that you were happy to take advantage of’ #sufc #twitterblades
Abdullah: ‘He put me in a very tough position. I either had to take a huge loss or exercise the property options and he knew I didn’t have the money to do that’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘Why did you not say I cannot afford to pay for these property options and unless you withdraw your offer we are going to have to rearrange our shares’ #sufc #twitterblades
Abdullah: ‘That never crossed my mind. Communication wasn’t good and the trust wasn’t there. He changed his word many times.’ Downes says by this time Prince Abdullah was heavily ‘lawyered up’ #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘You left it until the last moment to conceal what you were doing from SUL’. Abdullah says he left it until the last moment so hey didn’t have to pay any money they didn’t have to #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘Was the £1 ever paid when the shrares were transferred from UTB to UTB 2018. Was a contract ever drawn up’. Prince Abdullah says he doesn’t know. ‘Who is running this show’, asks Mr Downes #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘All that you can say is that you didn’t know anything about it this transaction’. Prince Abdullah again says he didn’t know anything about it #sufc #twitterblades
Downes: ‘Do you accept that that it looks as though you cheated Mr McCabe out of the property options and if it looks like that it could cause reputational damage both to you and the club. ‘No’, says Prince Abdullah #sufc #twitterblades
Mr Downes has now finished his cross examination of Prince Abdullah after three days in the witness box. The Prince is now being questioned about the evidence he has given by his own counsel, Andreas Gledhill QC #sufc #twitterblades
That was mercifully short and after a brief bit of housekeeping we’ve adjourned until 10.30am on Monday morning at which point Stephen Bettis will take the witness stand. My colleague @samcoopernews will be here for that. Have a nice weekend. Dan. #sufc #twitterblades
Just a brief addition in that I’ve been asked to make clear that the pig quote and the stupid person quote were both actually from tweets not emails and that Prince Abdullah denied that either were referring to Kevin McCabe #sufc #twitterblades
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