Revenue authorities investigate BVI and Swiss companies standing behind the Leeds’ purchase

In March we have discussed the selling of Elland Road, which is the home stadium of the football team Leeds United, to the little-known BVI company Teak Trading Corporation, and the following discussions on buying back the stadium and the Thorp Arch training ground, by the football team. Club’s chairman Ken Bates made the reacquisition of these assets one of his main objectives.

On Friday last week Bates put Leeds into administration and immediately formed a new company to buy the club back again. Going into administration and subsequent purchase of the club for an undisclosed fee leaves Bates and his Swiss backers Forward Sports Fund in charge of the club and remaining assets.

Revenue and Customs are to investigate Leeds’ offshore investors after the club went into administration. In his statement Bates said that three companies, Astor Investment Holdings, Krato Trust and Forward Sports Fund, “will collectively lose in excess of GBP 22 million”.

Bates used finance companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and Swiss companies to provide investment for his initial takeover of Leeds. He will also be one of directors of Leeds United Football Club Limited, a new company which has bought the business and its assets from the administrators.

Astor Investment Holdings, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, last month secured its loans to Leeds through a mortgage debenture. That development is expected to make it a preferential creditor in administration. Currently tax authorities will seek to uncover the identity of the individual who is behind the company.

In his statement Bates said that three companies, BVI-domiciled Astor Investment Holdings, Krato Trust and Forward Sports Fund, “will collectively lose in excess of GBP 22 million”. However, despite being leading creditors, they should not lose too much because Forward Sports Fund will be the owner of the newly formed  Leeds United Football Club Limited; there is also information that BVI-registered Astor Investment is the holder of a stake in Forward Sports Fund.

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