I’M NO GANG­STER

‘Don’t call me a crim­i­nal or there will be con­se­quences’

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE - BY KEITH JACK­SON

AN IBROX share­holder has de­nied hav­ing any links to or­gan­ised crime.

Le­banese lawyer Mazen Hous­sami spoke out af­ter Gers chair­man Dave King’s court­room bomb­shell.

Hous­sami said “there will be con­se­quences” if the al­le­ga­tion was di­rected at his firm Blue Pitch.

THE Mid­dle East­ern money man be­hind a mys­te­ri­ous Rangers in­vest­ment has bro­ken cover to in­sist he has no links to the crim­i­nal un­der­world.

Mazen Hous­sami, a lawyer based in Beirut, Le­banon, spoke ex­clu­sively to the Record af­ter a se­ries of ex­plo­sive court­room rev­e­la­tions made by the club’s chair­man Dave King in Ed­in­burgh last week.

King took to the wit­ness stand to drop the bomb­shell that four un­named in­vestors “linked to or­gan­ised crime and money laun­der­ing” had bought into Rangers, as well as an Amer­i­can firm al­legedly in­volved in “crim­i­nal­ity”.

Now Hous­sami has spo­ken out to deny that any of those links can be traced back to Blue Pitch Hold­ings, the com­pany he set up in 2012 to help fund Charles Green’s ill-fated £5.5mil­lion Ibrox buy­out.

Blue Pitch re­tain a hold­ing of four mil­lion shares in the Glas­gow club. But they had their vot­ing rights frozen by King three years ago over con­cerns about who else might be be­hind the money.

Hous­sami, though, in­sists he is in sole control of those shares.

He said: “I am the only share­holder of Blue Pitch – I am the only di­rec­tor – and it has been the case since day one. So there is noth­ing grey or even close to grey about Blue Pitch.

“I hope he’s not talk­ing about Blue Pitch… This is a very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion that has been made and, speak­ing as a lawyer, if this al­le­ga­tion is di­rected at Blue Pitch, then there will be con­se­quences for that.

“But I can hon­estly tell you, I don’t think he was talk­ing about Blue Pitch.”

The Record un­der­stands King’s regime have se­ri­ous con­cerns about a lack of trans­parency over a num­ber of shad­owy share­hold­ers with po­ten­tial links to or­gan­ised crime in New York and Italy.

As part of his on­go­ing dis­pute with the Takeover Panel, King told the Court of Ses­sion the club were aware of four share­hold­ers who are the sub­jects of an­ti­money laun­der­ing leg­is­la­tion.

The iden­ti­ties of the four were not dis­closed in court, nor how long they’d held their shares.

But King in­sisted he can­not law­fully buy them out de­spite be­ing or­dered to make a £19mil­lion bid for all the club’s re­main­ing shares.

Hous­sami bought his way into Ibrox in 2012, when Green needed fi­nan­cial back­ers to fund his pur­chase of the club’s as­sets from ad­min­is­tra­tors Duff & Phelps.

It is widely be­lieved all of Green’s ini­tial in­vestors were re­warded with heav­ily dis­counted shares when the club were floated on the stock ex­change later that year – with many help­ing them­selves to shares cost­ing just 1p.

Hous­sami, how­ever, in­sists he paid more than the 20p which King has now been forced to of­fer by the au­thor­i­ties.

He claims to have an­swered the club’s de­mands for full trans­parency but has de­clined to say if he in­tends to cash in on his hold­ing – which would land King with an £800,000 bill.

That will rise fur­ther if fel­low share­hold­ers who Hous­sami de­scribes as his “friends” should also de­cide to take King’s deal.

He said: “That will be as­sessed when we have the of­fer. Un­til now there has been no of­fer.

“If there is an of­fer of 20p, then that would be much less than we paid but, any­way, this is not about a busi­ness deal. All we are think­ing about is how to keep sup­port­ing the team.

“I don’t think what is hap­pen­ing now is be­ing very help­ful to the team.”

Hous­sami added: “If those al­le­ga­tions were made in a court­room to try to make some kind of low of­fer to buy ev­ery­body out, it will not work.

“It may then be­come a mat­ter of go­ing through the pro­ce­dures in or­der to re­gain our vot­ing rights, which is some­thing that is eas­ily done. But let’s just wait and look at the of­fer when it gets to us.

“We don’t want to be there if we are not wanted there. If the team are healthy and they don’t need the share­hold­ers any more, then we are happy to leave – but for the right amount.

“This could be part of a plan to buy ev­ery­one out at a low price but Blue Pitch are not of­fer­ing our shares to sell.

“Of course, we have a lot of friends who are also share­hold­ers and when­ever we de­cide what we are do­ing it is a joint de­ci­sion. So I still don’t know what we are go­ing to do about this. It’s too early to de­cide.”

A spokesman for King and Rangers said they had no com­ment to make on the claims made by Hous­sami.

This could be part of a plan to buy ev­ery­one out at a low price MAZEN HOUS­SAMI ON COURT­ROOM CLAIMS

WARN­ING SHOT King’s tes­ti­mony an­gered Hous­sami

BIG SHARE­HOLDER Lawyer Mazen Hous­sami CON­CERNS Dave King and Gers boss Steven Ger­rard at a share­holder meet­ing

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