West Ham takeover bid: the legal dispute surrounding PAI Capital

West Ham takeover bid: the legal dispute surrounding PAI Capital

The consortium trying to buy West Ham is funded by an Azerbaijani millionaire currently embroiled in a “bitter legal dispute” over allegations of corruption in the former Soviet republic.

PAI Capital has made a bid of £400 million for the Premier League side but West Ham chairman and majority shareholder David Sullivan dismissed the offer, describing it as “derisory”, and claimed the London-based group “never produced any proof of funds”.

But in a statement issued to The Athletic this week, a spokesperson for PAI Capital said: “PAI and our legal counsel did submit a proof of funds to West Ham’s owners, and funds for the purchase are directly accessible, subject to a commercial agreement being reached with the current owners.”

This follows an earlier statement from PAI Capital partner and former QPR chief executive Phillip Beard, who said the £400 million offer was “in fact the figure that David Sullivan had initially asked for”.

The Athletic, however, understands that Sullivan and his fellow shareholders at West Ham, long-term business partner David Gold and American investor Albert “Tripp” Smith, are not convinced PAI Capital actually have the money.

This is because PAI Capital’s founder is Nasib Piriyev, the son of Nizami Piriyev, a businessman who was arrested by the Azerbaijani authorities in May 2015. The Azerbaijan government also issued an Interpol arrest notice for Nasib Piriyev, who has been based in London for several years.

The Piriyevs claim these actions were politically motivated and deny all wrongdoing. But the legal battle is far from over.

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