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Thread: The Belokon vs Oyston Court Case

  1. #1091
    Coaching Staff giro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FootballcrazyP_ View Post
    I am not waiting for a Lasher's Pre-season Friendly. And although I am not part of the NAPM, I won't be attending Gloomfilled unless we are playing them and my health improves.
    I,ll be doing none of the above either. I genuinely hope your health does improve!

  2. #1092
    Youth Team
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    The 'March' to EFL is on a Friday, during working hours - early afternoon. Not making excuses already ;-) ... well apart from that one.
    Hopefully it will get sufficient media attention to heap more pressure and attention on the failings of the EFL. This is not just about BFC and Belokon, this is for football fans everywhere. Anyone is welcome to join in - even Preston fans. The more the merrier!

  3. #1093
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    Borrowed from AVFTT, here is the full judgement from 5th Feb Court hearing.... apologies, long post....

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    VB Football Assets v Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Ltd (formerly
    Segesta Ltd)
    2018 WL 00926211
    Case No: CR-2015-006989
    Neutral Citation Number:[2018] EWHC 254 (Ch)
    IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
    BUSINESS AND PROPERTIES COURT OF ENGLAND AND WALES
    CHANCERY DIVISION
    COMPANIES COURT
    Rolls Building
    Fetter Lane
    London
    EC4A 1NL
    5 February 2018
    BEFORE:
    The Honourable Mr. Justice Marcus Smith
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BETWEEN:
    VB Football Assets (VBFA) Petitioner
    - and -
    (1) Blackpool Football Club
    (Properties) Limited (formerly
    Segesta Limited)
    (2) Owen Oyston
    (3) Karl Oyston
    (4) Blackpool Football Club
    Limited
    Respondents
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Andrew Green QC and Fraser Campbell (instructed by Clifford Chance LLP) appeared on behalf
    Page 1
    of the Petitioner
    Matthew Collings QC (instructed by HHB Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the First to Third
    Respondents
    Hearing date: 5 February 2018
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Judgment
    Ruling
    Mr. Justice Marcus Smith
    1. Almost three months ago to the day, I handed down judgment in a section 994 petition. I do
    not summarise that judgment or its terms for purposes of this Ruling, save to say that the
    consequence of that judgment was to order a buyout of the shares held by the Petitioner in
    Blackpool Football Club Limited – the Fourth Respondent – for a consideration of some £31m
    odd. On top of that came the question of costs, interest and other matters.
    2. When I handed down judgment, on 6 November 2017, I was met with an application that
    the obligation to make a payment of the sums due pursuant to the judgment and the order
    consequential upon it be staggered, and I acceded to that application in the manner set out in
    the order I made on that occasion.
    3. The matter came before me again on 18 December 2017. By that stage, an initial payment
    of some £10m had been made by the First to Third Respondents (hereafter, the
    “Respondents”) to the Petitioner, leaving a balance of just under £25m. That figure, I should
    say, is something of a moveable (albeit generally increasing) feast because there are interest
    obligations and costs accruing in relation to that sum, but I shall refer to the figure as
    amounting to roughly £25m.
    4. At the hearing before me on 18 December 2017, I considered various options for the future.
    Having heard from both the Petitioner and the Respondents, I ordered that a sum of £10m be
    paid before 4.00 pm on 31 January 2018; that a sum of £7.5m be paid by 4.00 pm on 30
    March 2018; that a further tranche of £7.5m be paid by 31 May 2018; and that there be a
    rump payment, which I did not seek to calculate, payable by the end of June 2018.
    5. It is common ground that the bulk of the monies owed by the Respondents to the Petitioner
    will be payable, on this timetable, by the end of May 2018. The June 2018 payment envisaged
    by my order will be very much a minor balancing payment to sweep up the remaining
    obligations.
    6. The payment of £10 million, due on 31 January 2018, was not made by the Respondents. I
    Page 2
    am now met by a narrow application on the part of the Respondents to extend the time for
    paying this tranche to 19 February 2018. It is contended by Mr. Collings, Q.C., who appeared
    for the Respondents, that payment by that date could confidently be expected, and that the
    Respondents had done their level best to realise assets, had failed to do so, and needed this
    additional time in order to put in place what he called a bridging loan, so as to enable the
    tranche due last week to be paid.
    7. I should record that this application narrowed significantly during the course of the hearing
    before me. The Respondents’ initial application was one which sought to remove the various
    stages of payment, that is to say, the 31 January 2018 and 30 March 2018 stage payments,
    simply obliging the Respondents to pay the full amount due on or before 31 May 2018 as and
    when they were capable of realising their assets.
    8. A liberty to apply to extend this time frame was included in this proposal.
    9. That application was not pursued after certain exchanges between the court and Mr.
    Collings and, as I have indicated, the application on the Respondents’ part is a relatively
    narrow one, simply to extend time for the January 2018 tranche by some two weeks to 19
    February 2018, but to leave the rest of the regime as ordered by me on 18 December 2017
    unchanged.
    10. Mr. Green, Q.C., who appears with Mr. Campbell on behalf of the Petitioner, submits that I
    should revisit the order that I made on 18 December, and rewrite it in what Mr. Collings says
    is fairly swingeing terms. What he submits is that there has been a breach of the order that
    £10 million be paid on 31 January; that the conduct of the Respondents in terms of complying
    with the regime that this court imposed last year, shows that, to coin a phrase, every inch that
    is given by the court will be taken by the Respondents and that, therefore, so Mr Green's
    reasoning goes, no more inches should be given.
    11. What Mr. Green seeks on behalf of the Petitioner is the continuation of the freezing order
    regime that I imposed as the price of the staged payments of last year, that that stay in place,
    but that the staged payments set out in my order of 18 December 2017 effectively be
    abrogated and that the Petitioner be entitled at its discretion to take whatever steps it
    considers in its own interests best to enforce the judgment debt that it has.
    12. I consider that I made it sufficiently clear in my judgment of 18 December 2017
    (specifically in paragraph 6) that I regarded the sums due pursuant to my judgment in
    payment of the Petitioner’s interest in Blackpool Football Club as due as at the date of the
    judgment. In short, it is a present obligation that I found to exist, not a future one, and the
    effect of my orders has been to stay enforcement in respect of that present obligation rather
    than kick off the obligation itself to the future. I underline the holding that I made in paragraph
    6 of my judgment of 18 December 2017.
    Page 3
    13. Throughout the post-judgment hearings before me, I have had in mind the need to
    conduct a balancing exercise. The Petitioner self-evidently is entitled to payment of the sums
    articulated in my judgment and consequential order. The Respondents are, it has been said
    on a number of occasions before me, an asset-rich but cash-poor group. I have been shown
    lists of assets, mainly real property, which, so it is said, in value exceed by multiples the sums
    due pursuant to my judgment. What has been said on behalf of the Respondents, both in the
    past and before me today, very ably, by Mr. Collings, is that the Respondents to the petition
    need time to realise assets. In particular, both today and in the past, the risks of a fire sale of
    assets have been underlined to me.
    14. These factors all remain pertinent, but the balance insofar as the Petitioner’s interests are
    concerned have changed in two material respects.
    15. First, there is the fact that the timetable that I imposed last December has not been
    complied with; secondly, there is the fact that, as Mr. Steinfeld, Q.C. (who then acted for the
    Respondents) very fairly made clear to me on the last occasion, the Respondents were
    seeking to appeal my judgment, and that is a factor that I bore in mind. I read from paragraph
    14(a) of my judgment of 18 December 2017, which refers to three options. Paragraph 14(a)
    refers to the first of those options:
    “The first option, and to be fair to him, Mr. Green did not advocate for this, is simply to say
    that the monies due consequent upon my judgment should simply be paid now. That would
    involve an acknowledgment that the course that I strived to achieve on handing down
    judgment, which was to balance the interests of the Respondents, to give them time to pay,
    and the interests of the Petitioner to ensure security of payment, had failed. I have to say
    that the absence of satisfactory evidence is a very strong pointer to simply cutting the
    Gordian knot and leaving Mr. Green and his clients to their remedies. But I have very much
    in mind that there is an application for permission to appeal and there is an attempt to
    expedite it. It does seem to me, accepting as I do, in the abstract, that there are cash flow
    difficulties, even without any assurance on the evidence as to the particular state of the
    Oyston Group, that it would be wrong to take this course.”
    16. As I have indicated, Mr Green’s client now advocates this option, which was not so last
    time Mr. Green was before me.
    17. Furthermore, and this is the second material change, the application for permission to
    appeal has been dealt with and dismissed, and it is now the case that my judgment stands
    without the prospect of a reversal on appeal. Just as the prospect of appeal was a matter
    which I bore in mind when considering the desirability of the first option, so too I bear in mind
    now that there is a clear obligation on the Respondents pursuant to my judgment that is not
    susceptible of appeal to a higher court.
    18. In these circumstances, it is obviously right that I re-execute, or re-assess, the balancing
    process that I conducted on 18 December 2017. The position of the Respondents to the
    petition is much as it was before. I have some more evidence from the Respondents
    regarding their efforts to dispose of assets, but it is right to say that although there has been a
    Page 4
    great deal of mention of future, even future imminent, sales, in particular in relation to the
    Travelodge, these are all future sales. No sales have in fact occurred in the period since the
    judgment.
    19. What is more, in a very helpful schedule compiled by the Petitioner’s solicitors, there is
    there set out a list of properties indicating aspirational valuations in the past, valuations as
    they stand now, and offers that have been declined.
    20. I take just one example. This is Item 9 from Annex A of the third witness statement of Mr.
    Christopher Yates of the Petitioner’s solicitors. Item 9 of this Annex refers to 27 Wood Street,
    one of the properties owned by the Oyston Group, estimated value £252,350 (by Mr Owen
    Oyston) offered on the market at £600,000 from an unknown date. An offer was received for
    various properties, including this particular one, but also others, to be fair, in the amount of
    £750,000. The offer was rejected as being too low.
    21. The example is not clear-cut because there is, I regret to say, even at this stage, a lack of
    transparency in terms of the manner in which the Oyston Group is proceeding to seek to
    realise the assets that it has.
    22. There are other indicators that the balancing exercise that I sought to undertake has
    changed.
    23. There are, as I have indicated, certain difficulties in relation to transparency. The assets
    that are actually held by the Oyston Group, and more importantly, the encumbrances on those
    assets, are less than clear-cut. The flow of assets, in particular the flow of assets out of the
    group, is not clear-cut, and I do bear in mind the fact that on the last occasion there was the
    question of whether the obtaining of a loan to pay the first tranche of £10m was, in fact,
    obtained in breach of the freezing order that I had imposed. I found, on that occasion, that the
    freezing order had been breached, but I retrospectively validated the transaction that enabled
    the payment to be made.
    24. There is, as I have mentioned, also the non-sale of assets, with only future, and perhaps
    future imminent sales being clear. There is no marketing plan.
    25. There is also, as I find, considerable uncertainty regarding the present bridging offer that
    has been made in relation to the funding for the second tranche that was due last week. I
    have before me the evidence of Mr. Alan Andrews, a senior manager of KIS Finance and, as I
    accept, someone unrelated to the Oyston Group and Mr. Owen Oyston. I have before me two
    statements from Mr. Andrews, describing his attempts to obtain finance for the Oyston Group,
    and in particular, for the Respondents to meet their obligations pursuant to this court’s orders.
    Page 5
    26. I shall only refer to the first statement of Mr Andrews, which in paragraph 11 says this:
    “I have now obtained terms for a loan of 10 million from a company that manages loan
    activities for an offshore investor. I attach a copy of that loan offer as exhibit AMA 1. This is a
    formal offer, which we are proceeding with now.”
    27. Now, I take, as I should, this statement entirely at face value, but I must also have regard
    to the formal offer, as it is described by Mr. Andrews, that is exhibited to his statement. It is
    evident from the face of this document that what the Respondents have is very far from a
    formal offer of finance. In particular, the “formal offer” says:
    “You should not enter into any financial commitments based on this in principle offer.”
    28. Now, it may very well be, as Mr. Collings suggested, that Mr. Andrews, knowing his job, is
    confident that this offer going to translate into money that can be used to pay the obligations
    imposed upon the Respondents by the order I made on 18 December 2017. But Mr. Collings,
    very properly, had to confine himself, and did confine himself, simply to the evidence of Mr.
    Andrews. Accepting what Mr. Andrews says, as I do, I nevertheless am left with a
    considerable degree of uncertainty whether, even if I were to grant an extension of time to 19
    February 2018, as urged by the Respondents, that would be enough time, and we would not
    find ourselves in a similar situation with the Respondents seeking a further extension in a few
    weeks’ time.
    29. It seems to me that the balance has significantly changed for all these factors. I
    summarise them now.
    30. First, there is the failure on the part of the Respondents to progress the sale of assets
    over the time period since I handed down judgment.
    31. Secondly, there is the increased prejudice, simply caused by the effluxion of time, to the
    Petitioner of being kept out of its money, combined with the fact that -- and this is the third
    factor -- the judgment is effectively now writ in stone because of the order of Lady Justice
    Asplin dismissing an application for permission to appeal.
    32. I therefore find that the order that I made last December does need to be revisited, but not
    in the manner urged upon me by the Respondents. It seems to me that to grant a further
    extension of time, even if it is only a matter of two or three weeks, would be entirely wrong. It
    seems to me that the time has now come for this court to acknowledge, as I adverted to in
    paragraph 14(a) of my judgment of 18 December 2017, that the attempt on the part of the
    court to hold the ring and to control the enforcement process has failed, and that is my
    conclusion.
    Page 6
    33. It therefore seems to me that the only correct course in all the circumstances is to vary the
    order that I made on 18 December so as to keep in place the freezing order as it stands, and I
    should stress that by “as it stands” I include the freedom to use the money in the accounts
    that I identified on that date -- I do not want to change the freezing order regime to the
    Respondents’ disadvantage from one day to the next -- but apart from that (the keeping of the
    freezing order regime in place), I consider that it is now appropriate to remove the limits on
    enforcement that I imposed, to remove the stages, and to permit the Petitioner to act at the
    Petitioner’s discretion in terms of enforcing the obligations that have accrued and that arise
    out of my judgment of last year.
    34. I, simply for the avoidance of doubt, want to make clear that although Mr. Green made
    certain indications about the manner in which the Petitioner might or might not proceed as
    regards the Respondents’ assets, and I have in mind in particular what he said as regards the
    football club, it seems to me that it would be wrong to regard that as anything more than an
    aspirational statement, and I make clear that the Petitioner’s hands are completely untied so
    far as the assets of the Respondents, including the football club, are concerned.

  4. #1094
    Coaching Staff Bobbage's Avatar
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    Rich man wants to asset strip football club.

    Thought you were against that sort of thing?
    Member of the BHS Nobber Appreciation Society

  5. #1095
    Director raefil's Avatar
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    So, from reading the above, the judgement says that if Belokon wants the football club he can have it?

    From reading Belokons statements it seems that the football club isnt on his radar.

    Now this isnt pouring fuel on the "Rivalry," but I can see why Belokon would want other assets as opposed to the club. football clubs are a drain on finances, they arent appreciating assets.

    What a mess.
    .

  6. #1096
    Assistant Manager proton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro_Seasider View Post
    The 'March' to EFL is on a Friday, during working hours - early afternoon. Not making excuses already ;-) ... well apart from that one.
    Hopefully it will get sufficient media attention to heap more pressure and attention on the failings of the EFL. This is not just about BFC and Belokon, this is for football fans everywhere. Anyone is welcome to join in - even Preston fans. The more the merrier!
    Why dont you just hire a small plane, pulling a banner explaining your "thoughts" behind it, to fly over the building, you're good at that sort of thing.
    Blackpool the only town with two circuses

  7. #1097
    First Team Worthington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proton View Post
    Why dont you just hire a small plane, pulling a banner explaining your "thoughts" behind it, to fly over the building, you're good at that sort of thing.
    Apparently Blackpool fans now distance themselves from that and blame it on King Karl.

    Nice One.
    “He was world famous but he never won a championship medal or an FA Cup winner’s medal. He won something much more important: the hearts of his team-mates, the supporters, opposing players even and of the whole country.” - Jimmy Armfield

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