It’s been a rough few weeks for bottom-of-the-table Premier League side Portsmouth ; not only do they face a potential shutdown at the hands of Her Majesty™s Revenue and Customs, but they’ve failed to make December’s payroll on two separate occasions. Adding insult to injury is a report in Wednesday’s Guardian in which Jamie Jackson calls Dr. Sulaiman Al-Fahim’s brief (42 day) tenure as Pompey owner “a golden age” compared to what’s happening now.
Among supporters’ groups much has been made of a conspiracy theory regarding the reported links between some of the advisers to owner Ali Al-Faraj (above) and Arcadi Gaydamak, the father of the former owner Sacha who is wanted in Israel to answer money-laundering charges. These include Roni Maneh, a businessman, Yoram Yosepov, a lawyer, and Levi Kushnir, a business partner of Balram Chainrai who has loaned the club £18m.
In September Chainrai and Kushnir sued Arcadi for £16.5m. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Gaydamak Sr has also fallen out with Maneh over a failed business deal. The Jewish Chronicle has since stated that Maneh claimed he told Faraj in October to appoint Avram Grant as manager, although Pini Zahavi, who is Grant’s adviser “ and who introduced Faraj’s regime to Gaydamak “ may also have had an influence.
Sources close to Gaydamak Jr claimed to the Guardian that any links are a coincidence, and that they are puzzled by the strategy of Faraj’s regime.
While any conspiracy theory seems unlikely, then, it has also been pointed out by some Fratton Park insiders that though the former owner Sulaiman al‘Fahim employed Ernst & Young to carry out forensic due diligence on the club ahead of his summer buyout, Falcondrone’s financial strategy appears to rely on Daniel Azougy. He is a disbarred Israeli solicitor and convicted fraudster, who drove Faraj’s takeover and is charged with restructuring the current debts while raising fresh finance.