Hicks Tries Every Trick In The Book

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks was accused of trying “every trick in the book” as his desperate bid to derail the sale of his soccer club to New England Sports Ventures was once again exercising London’s High Court.

Hours after effectively losing control of the world-famous club in the London court Oct. 13, Hicks was again trying to block the NESV deal by getting a restraining order from a district court in Texas.

Another last-minute London High Court hearing was called for Oct. 14, where Justice Christopher Floyd granted an injunction against the Texas court order. A day earlier Justice Floyd judged Hicks and co-owner George Gillett had broken written undertakings when trying to block the sale.

Justice Floyd said he was dismayed that Hicks and Gillett made submissions to the U.S. court without mentioning that earlier in the day they lost an ownership case in London’s High Court. He also criticised the two Americans for presenting evidence in Texas that was previously discredited in London.

He gave them until 4 p.m. UK time Oct. 15 to comply with his previous day’s order not to balk the sale of the club. That will involve them returning to the U.S. court and withdrawing their restraining order.

During the previous 24 hours, the drama unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic. News of Hicks getting a restraining order in a Dallas court – where he also filed a $1.5 billion claim for damages against the club, the board, and Royal Bank Of Scotland – came five minutes before the new board met to approve the sale of the club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

NESV chief and team owner John W. Henry flew to London to attend the board meeting at the offices of Liverpool club solicitors Slaughter and May, a meeting Hicks and Gillett attended via a phone link.

Hicks produced the 28-page deposition he’d taken to the Texas court, which described the selling of the club to NESV as “an epic swindle.”

Club chairman Martin Broughton accused Hicks of trying “every trick in the book” to delay the sale, while lawyers for the Royal Bank Of Scotland – which is now due repayment of a £237 million loan – said his actions were “an outrageous abuse of process.”

During the course of the Oct. 14 hearing, Singapore billionaire Peter Lim withdrew his £320 million offer for the club. He said the club ignored the offer and that he was convinced the board was intent on selling to NESV.

Whether that’s the end of the matter is up to Hicks and Gillett. They are believed to be continuing with their damages claim against the club and the directors.