By 90Min
November 06, 2017

Farhad Moshiri, Everton's largest shareholder, has denied claims of any wrongdoing in the investment he made in Everton and has rebuffed the notion of help from Arsenal investor Alisher Usmanov in the funding process.

The BBC recently aired Panorama, a programme which examined leaked documents known as the Paradise Papers. However, more specifically, the programme investigated the business relationship between Moshiri and Usmanov.  

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The two have history, as they jointly owned a 30 percent stake in Arsenal before Moshiri sold his to the Russian in early 2016. A few months after, Moshiri purchased 49.9 percent of Everton.

The theory behind the investigation was to find out if an alleged gift from the Russian Usmanov to Moshiri had financed the now Toffee's shareholders initial holding in Arsenal, and whether the wealth gained from that was used to buy Everton.

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The BBC cut to the chase and asked Moshiri outright whether this theory was correct or not. The Iranian strongly denied the claim.

"Of course it didn't,'' he said. "Not at all, no. It came from me. I had 10 percent in a conglomerate way before I bought [into] Arsenal. That's my money.'

"A gift makes it yours. If it is a loan, you owe the money back to him; if it's a gift it is yours.''

Lawyers representing Usmanov in the programme were quoted as pointing to "errors of fact and interpretation'' in the investigation, and they denied any influence he suggestively has at Everton.

The Premier League was given notice of the investigation and since then have clearly explained its procedures around the issue of club ownership.

The Premier League said: "We would not disclose confidential information about clubs or individuals but can explain our general rules and policies in this area.

"The Premier League has wide-ranging rules in the areas of club ownership and finance. These include prospective new owners having to meet the Premier League board and provide extensive detail on the sources and sufficiency of funding they have in place.

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"They must also submit information on the financial structure of any proposed investment, and a business plan demonstrating that all liabilities can be met for at least 12 months ahead.

"The league prohibits any club owner or director from having an interest in another club, or the ability to influence another club's policies. Should a prospective club owner have previously held shares in a different club, they must provide evidence that they have been divested.

"Only when these and many other rules have been applied, and due diligence completed, will the Premier League board allow an investment to proceed.''

The Paradise Papers represent the biggest data leak since the Panama Papers release last year, and if the claims are true both Everton and Arsenal shareholders could face retrospective action against them. 

Despite this news it is not all doom and gloom for Everton as they won their first league match under David Unsworth on Sunday, as his side came back to defeat Watford 3-2 at Goodison Park.

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