Newly promoted English Premiership side Sheffield United are ensued in a controversial power tussle as they have been reportedly being funded by a £3million loan from the family of Osama bin Laden, a court was told on Thursday. The Blades are in court as their club is embroiled in a power struggle between co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
But on Thursday, the fourth day of the hearing, it was revealed that a £3m loan received by the club, named ‘Project Delta’, can be traced back to the family for the former Al Qaeda figurehead. Barrister Andreas Gledhill QC, who is leading Abdullah’s legal team, alleges that McCabe knew who the money came from.
The Sheffield Star report that Mr Gledhill said Mr McCabe ‘knew the money had come from another source, namely a member of the Bin Laden family’.
Emails from Jeremy Tutton, a colleague of Mr McCabe’s at a property business who was added to the Sheffield United board of directors in 2017, were disclosed in court, one of which said he feared the local newspaper would run a story with the headline: ‘Blades launder money for extremists’.
Mr McCabe quickly quashed the content of the email, claiming it to be ‘banter’, but Mr Gledhill contested that it confirms he knew the origin of the money.
Mr McCabe, 71, and Prince Abdullah, 54, each have a 50 per cent stake in the the Bramall Lane club, who secured promotion to the Premier League for next season.The pair met in 2013 when Mr McCabe was seeking new investors and agreed to work together, on the proviso Prince Abdullah pumped £10m into the club, but reportedly fell out in 2017.
Mr McCabe’s company, Sheffield United Ltd, allege ‘conspiracy’ and ‘unfairly prejudicial conduct’ while Prince Abdullah’s company, UTB LLC, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders’ agreement. The trial will continue over the next few weeks. Osama bin Laden was disowned by his family in 1994 and killed in Pakistan in 2011 by US Navy SEALs.