Everton‘s debt levels plus financial liabilities related to their new stadium mean the crisis-stricken club are now effectively more than £1billion in the red.
Some £200m of that is owed to a mysterious investment company, Image & Media Rights (IMR), which several industry sources have told In The Money is ultimately controlled by the British bookmaker, gambler and racehorse owner Michael Tabor. IMR did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to the IMR debts, Everton owe a further £490m in shareholder loans to current owner Farhad Moshiri, £140m to another lender, MSP Sports Capital, and a £20m loan to 777 Partners, the Miami-based firm who have agreed a deal in principle to take over Everton, pending regulatory approval. Everton also need to plug a £200m shortfall on the construction of Bramley-Moore Dock stadium.
IMR blocked a club sale to MSP over the summer under the terms of their loans, which mean they can demand repayment of debt owned to them before the club take on any further borrowing.
In another blow to Everton, the sale to 777, who have yet to prove they can afford to tackle the debt and invest in the future, faces a new threat. This follows a lawsuit being filed in the US containing allegations that the US investors are involved in large-scale fraud.
Everton are now effectively more than £1billion in the red owing to their upcoming stadium
The sale of Everton to 777 Partners faces a new threat (pictured – 777 co-founders Steven Pasko [left-centre with cap] and Josh Wander [to his right])
777 Partners had agreed a deal to acquire Farhad Moshiri’s controlling stake in the Toffees
Official documents, seen by this paper, state 777 use ‘a web of companies to move around money and assets to conceal a sprawling fraudulent enterprise’.
The damning accusation, lodged in US court papers last month, threatens to derail the Everton bid. If proven in court, it would be impossible for the sale to go through. The Premier League, Football Association and Financial Conduct Authority are currently conducting due diligence on their bid.
The 777 co-founders, Josh Wander and Steven Pasko, were at Goodison Park to watch Everton’s 2-1 defeat by Luton Town last weekend. Their firm, which already owns several clubs in Europe including Genoa, Standard Liege and Hertha Berlin, hope to complete a deal by the end of the year.
Any new potential owner of the club must publicly confirm funding plans, including reliance on debt. Sources close to 777 say they have already shown proof of funds to Moshiri and will defend the fraud claims in court. A 777 spokesperson said: ‘777 Partners does not comment on open litigation processes.’
The revelation is the latest in a line of financial concerns regarding 777 to emerge over recent weeks. They were accused of missing payments to the British Basketball League last week, while it emerged that Brazilian team Vasco Da Gama — among the company’s portfolio of clubs — missed scheduled transfer payments to a number of clubs including French side Lille.
The debt to IMR is particularly onerous. IMR, which was set up to lend cash to football clubs, has agreed loans with Nottingham Forest, West Ham and several clubs in Spain over recent seasons. IMR agreed six loans with Everton between 2016 and 2022, while it is understood the Merseyside club have agreed to loans with interest rates of 12 per cent. That means the club face crippling loan repayments worth up to £24m a year to IMR — equivalent to £460,000 a week.
IMR’s funding comes from offshore tax havens including the Bahamas and Cyprus, according to official documents. Tabor, 81, is believed to spend his time in Monte Carlo and Barbados.
Chelsea chase £60m shirt deal
Chelsea have continued talks with Saudi Arabian airline Riyadh Air over a potential £60m-a- year front-of-shirt sponsorship deal from next season.
Todd Boehly’s club belatedly announced a one-year shirt deal with Infinite Athlete this season
Todd Boehly’s club belatedly announced a one-year shirt deal with Infinite Athlete this season worth £40m, but club officials are determined to avoid the embarrassment of not having a sponsor going into next season.
They have continued conversations with the Saudi Arabian airline and remain optimistic that a multi-year deal may be agreed, which would cover the men’s and women’s teams.
It is understood the Saudis have insisted that the value of the deal would reduce in line with the Infinite deal, should the club miss out on European football next season.
Chelsea had been languishing in the bottom half of the table after a patchy start to the season under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.