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Mike Ashley tries to recover £3m from former Newcastle United employee in astonishing court case – Remarkable

4 years ago

Mike Ashley is in court yet again.

It is quite remarkable how the way he does business leads the Newcastle United owner to end up with the law/legal process having to sort things out.

From being found guilty of discriminating against cancer sufferer Jonas Gutierrez and being humiliated as a lying regime when losing the tribunal case to Kevin Keegan for constructive dismissal, to cases in his non-NUFC life where business deals are claimed to have been done in between bouts of vomiting into pub fireplaces.

Yet some media still claim Newcastle fans should be grateful to have Mike Ashley owning the club…

Tuesday saw Mike Ashley back (represented) in the High Court.

It is an ongoing case (see below) which sees him trying to get back £3m from Tony Jimenez, a ‘friend and business associate’, or at least he was!

Jimenez was unveiled alongside close friend Dennis Wise in late January 2008 as Newcastle United’s ‘Vice-President in charge of player recruitment’, despite having no visible CV that should have got him such a post at a Premier League club.

Recently, Jimenez tried to rubbish Kevin Keegan and revealed that rather than being employed from late January 2008 by Mike Ashley/Newcastle United, he was indeed one of those involved in interviewing Keegan for the job in early January 2008. Exploiting further the underhand and secretive way Ashley runs Newcastle.

As for Tuesday’s court case, it revolves around Mike Ashley giving Tony Jimenez/his company £3m as an investment in a golf development. Only for, according to Jimenez, Mike Ashley to later agree he could keep the £3m as payment for trying to find a buyer for Newcastle United.

Tony Jimenez claiming that he had set up somebody to buy NUFC in September 2008, only for Mike Ashley to allegedly “create a disturbance in a bar in Dubai” which ruined the chances of that sale going through.

A big part of the evidence which could decide the case is a letter ‘signed’ by Mike Ashley. Ashley’s legal team claim the signature/letter are fabricated, whilst Jimenez’ side say the Newcastle United owner could well have been ‘hung over’ when writing it.

Whatever the outcome of this case, it just reaffirms the type of people that Mike Ashley surrounds himself with.

Bloomberg report:

The dispute, which returned to a London court Tuesday, turns on a 3 million-pound ($3.9 million) payment Ashley made in 2008 to a company linked to Tony Jimenez, a friend and business associate and the former co-owner of Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Ashley…says the sum was “fraudulently misappropriated” by Jimenez or his company, South Horizon Trading Ltd., and should be repaid. Jimenez says Ashley agreed to let South Horizon keep the funds, and discussed paying an additional 7 million pounds, for work Jimenez had done to try to find a buyer for Newcastle United Football Club, the soccer team owned by Ashley.

Ashley had “created a disturbance in a bar in Dubai” in September 2008 that ruined a potential sale that Jimenez had lined up, according to Jimenez’s court filings. As a result, Ashley agreed to pay the money “for its efforts in connection with the sale of NUFC, whether or not a sale was eventually achieved,” Jimenez said. Ashley denies Jimenez’ account.

Ashley’s ‘Guilt’

“It is perfectly plausible that Mr. Ashley, motivated by a sense of guilt for having scuppered another potential sale of NUFC unnecessarily, and feeling indebted to Mr. Jimenez who had carefully managed the very difficult situation he (Mr. Ashley) had created, would wish to reward Mr. Jimenez,” Jimenez said in his court filings. “It is also plausible that Mr. Jimenez, greatly annoyed at having lost out on the possibility of a commission because of Mr. Ashley’s behavior, would have wanted to secure some financial return.”

For his part, Ashley said in court filings that Jimenez is “a proven liar who is lying in this litigation” and “has gone to extreme lengths to try to frustrate the progress of this litigation.”

“It is inherently improbable that Mr. Ashley would have agreed to have gifted Mr. Jimenez 10 million pounds regardless of success, even if Mr. Jimenez had assisted in relation to the incident at the Bahri Bar,” Ashley’s filings say.

Ashley says the case is “very similar” to a 2013 dispute between Jimenez and former English soccer player Dennis Wise over the same golf development, in which the High Court said Jimenez had been guilty of “considerable obfuscation in this litigation concerning the monies paid to him” and ordered him to pay 500,000 pounds in compensation to Wise.

Lawyers for Ashley and Jimenez didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment. Spokespeople for Ashley didn’t return phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Ashley originally transferred the 3 million pounds to invest in a golf-course development in France. He says that the “agreement and/or payment” was “induced by fraudulent misrepresentations.” Jimenez says Ashley “prevaricated” over the investment and as a result of that delay, it was too late to invest in the golf course — but Ashley agreed that Jimenez’ company should keep the sum anyway for Jimenez’s work on trying to find a buyer for Newcastle.

Jimenez says Ashley’s agreement to make the 3 million-pound payment and the 7 million-pound payment were recorded in a letter dated Sept. 17, 2008. Ashley says that letter, which includes his signature, has been forged.

Both men have produced reports from handwriting specialists to support their arguments. Ashley’s expert says there’s “conclusive evidence” that Ashley didn’t write the signature and it may have been traced from an earlier document.

The handwriting expert “dismisses the possibility that the questioned signature may have been modified due to unusual writing circumstances” and “does not seem to have considered the possibility that Mr. Ashley was hung over at the time his signature was applied,” Jimenez’ court filings say.

The case is Ashley v. Jimenez in the U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division case no HC-2017-000156.’


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