Derby County FC, an English football club, failed to sell to a Chinese businessman with serious criminal records, which was speculated by reporters on the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, whose investigation is being aired.
“The secret journalists of the intelligence unit (Al-Jazeera) were about to leave themselves as representatives of the Chinese criminal convicted of corruption and money laundering and finalize the deal to buy Derby County,” the statement said.
The club has twice won the English Champions League and is one of the oldest clubs in the UK, according to Al-Jazeera, with a selling price of $ 99 million (6 116.7 million). According to English Football League rules, no club can buy a player who has not been sentenced to more than 12 months in prison. Journalists meet Christopher Samuelson, “an expert in offshore trusts and a negotiator for deals in the world of football”. They said “Mr. X (the Chinese buyer discovered by the press) was very rich, he was sentenced to seven years in prison and smuggled his money out of China through casinos in Macau.” According to Al-Jazeera, “Now he wants to buy an English football club to launder his money.”
Samuelson tells the channel that “(Mr. X) can use coastal trusts to hide the money and identity of our criminal investor.” Journalists thus contacted “matchmakers” in Cyprus, a member state of the European Union, who offered their services to obtain a European passport under a false name.
Prior to the release of the documentary on Monday, Cyprus Attorney General George Sawwitz told reporters that any new evidence would be “adequately evaluated” by police and prosecutors. Mr. Samuelson’s lawyers told al-Jazeera that “Mr. X” had never told his client that he was guilty of money laundering and corruption.
Derby County owner Mel Morris told the Qatar Channel that the club would only sell to “appropriate” buyers and that they had no “official” relationship with Samuelson. The club did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.