BLADES IN COURT: Prince Abdullah accused of attempting to defraud Sheffield United co-owner over 'Bin Laden loan'

Former Sheffield United co-chairman Prince Abdullah has been accused of attempting to defraud his Blades co-owner Kevin McCabe over a £3m loan from the Saudi Bin Laden family.

By Dan Hayes
Friday, 07 June, 2019, 21:41

The allegation was made during the Prince’s third and final day of evidence at the High Court in London during the trial that will rule on the club’s long-running ownership dispute.

Paul Downes QC, for Kevin McCabe, said Prince Abdullah had misrepresented a fee paid to arrange the loan as a professional commission charge when in fact half of it would be used to cover his own expenses.

Prince Abdullah and Kevin McCabe.

He said: “There is a fraud here being committed on Mr McCabe, isn’t there? It hasn’t even occurred to him you might be in on the whole thing.”

At this point, presiding judge Mr Justice Fancourt reminded Prince Abdullah he wasn’t obliged to answer any question that could potentially relate to a criminal offence.

“I choose not to answer,” said Prince Abdullah.

The controversial loan came back again and again during the day as Mr Downes pressed Prince Abdullah on how - or even if - it was ever to be repaid.

He said: “The understanding was always that the obligation to repay the Charwell loan was fairly ‘soft’ wasn’t it.”

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“You were not going to repay that loan until it had been alleged your failure to repay it was indicative of it being a bribe.”

“And if the owner of a football club was in receipt of a bribe that could do serious damage to its reputation.”

Prince Abdullah said Mr Downes was ‘100 per cent incorrect’.

“You can ask me the same question 10 times and my answer will always be the same,” he said.

Later, Mr Downes asked about the breakdown in the relationship between the two men and subsequent legal action.

He said Prince Abdullah decided the only way out of the increasingly fractious relationship was to provoke McCabe into making an offer for the club first, safe in the knowledge that he had a scheme that would allow him to evade the pre-agreed property options.

“You knew they had made a mistake that you were happy to take advantage of and you left it until the last moment to conceal what you were doing,” said Mr Downes.

Prince Abdullah said: “That never crossed my mind. Communication wasn’t good and the trust wasn’t there. He changed his word many times.”

The case continues.