Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 19 News List

New Santander owner denies ‘serious allegations’

AFP, MADRID

The new owner of Spanish club Racing Santander, Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed, on Thursday denied “serious allegations” over the conduct of his business.

“The source of these serious allegations is known. They are manifestly false and defamatory,” said a statement by Ali and his company, Western Gulf Advisory, on its Web site.

Ali and his company’s business practices have come under criticism in the Australian press.

They are also the object of attack by a Web site, www.westerngulfadvisory.net, that has imitated the real address of his firm, www.westerngulfadvisory.com.

Western Gulf Advisory, based in Bahrain and Switzerland, threatened legal action against anyone repeating details of the allegations.

The company released a separate press statement accusing the attack Web site of having sent an e-mail attempting to extort money in return for halting the criticism.

“The e-mail clearly seeks to extort money from myself and my companies,” Ali said in the statement. “Of course, no payment was made and the consequences are there for all to see.”

Ali bought Racing Santander in January for an undisclosed amount but local paper Diario Montanes put the price at 30 million euros (US$42 million) to 40 million euros.

The club have never won a major title in their 98-year-history.

Ali has said he wants to focus on talent, and not big names, in his quest to create a “great” club.

He guaranteed himself a warm welcome after he announced in almost his first move as owner that tickets for his first match would be free to members of the club.

Ali made an unsuccessful bid to buy English side Blackburn Rovers earlier this season.

On his company’s Internet site, Ali describes himself as a legal graduate specializing in law and finance who was an advisor to “sovereign clients and high net worth individuals.”

“One of the main reasons Mr Ali started his own asset management company was that he believed in his own ability and qualifications to manage and invest his wealth,” the site says.

“Absolute trust has been the bedrock of relationships at Western Gulf Advisory [WGA]. A truth evidenced by Mr Ali’s mutually satisfying professional relationships with several clients in the Middle East, Europe and the Far East.”

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