Would-be new Sheffield United owner named in overseas passport controversy

It has been claimed that Dozy Mmobuosi, the Nigerian businessman who appeared on the brink of purchasing Sheffield United earlier this year, is now in receipt of a Malawian diplomatic passport after his application was fast-tracked according to campaigning journalists in the east African state.
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Although two key ministries denied any knowledge of it being issued, researchers today reported that Mmobuosi received the document only hours after submitting his application. The report comes less than a fortnight after a leading financial website published an article questioning the methods of Tingo - the firm Mmobuosi established in his native country.

According to The Platform for Investigative Journalism, immigration officials in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, expedited Mmobuosi’s request to receive the passport which is usually granted to serving and former members of the government. During a recent visit to the country, Mmobuosi pledged to invest in a project designed to benefit families affected by tropical cyclone Freddy.

Sheffield United have long been the subject of takeover speculation: Simon Bellis / SportimageSheffield United have long been the subject of takeover speculation: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Sheffield United have long been the subject of takeover speculation: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
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Before his attempt to buy United appeared to collapse, when the exclusivity period he had been granted by owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz expired, Mmobuosi stated he had paid around £8m into an account controlled by United World - the organisation which oversees the Saudi Arabian’s sporting portfolio - as a gesture of goodwill. This was not disputed by either Prince Abdullah or any of his associates, although he did suggest that some monies promised by Mmobuosi arrived late. The English Football League, whose jurisdiction United were under before gaining promotion back to the Premier League, also demanded he demonstrate proof of funds after agreeing a sale price with Prince Abdullah. Mmobuosi suggested he was on course to do this, despite acknowledging he had yet to satisfy the governing body’s financial tests, before his discussions with United stalled.

Mmobuosi insisted he remained committed to taking control of United despite the fact relations with Prince Abdullah appeared to have become strained - repeating his statement during an interview with an Nigerian television channel a month ago, insisting he could turn them into a “world class” club.

However, little progress appears to have been made with Prince Abdullah now known to be exploring alternative avenues as he searches for either external sources of investment or another outright buyer. Mmobuosi has yet to respond to the PIJ’s story.

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