Everton Business Matters – Series 3 Episode 6: General meeting special

AGM 20

John, Paul and Tom talk through the recent General Meeting with specific reference to the performance of the business, Marcel Brands presentation and how deep is the involvement of Usmanov.

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8 replies

  1. Another intriguing podcast from Everton Business Matters. I do think it’s very naive of you to believe Russian companies behave in the same way that UK based companies do. You differentiate between USM Holdings and Usmanov, in the UK this could be a fair conclusion, however the oligarchs do not run their businesses this way. The USM board only has 3 members, its Founder Usmanov and 2 additional board members Moshiri and Ivan Streshinsky (3% Stake). Usmanov controls 100% of the voting rights in USM Holdings, so when you say that it’s not Usmanovs decision alone to invest in Everton you are mistaken. Its disturbing to me that so much investigation of BK took place in the last decade, where the money was coming from was of great interest so lets please have a longer look at Moshiri.

    Alisher Usmanov is the 4th richest man in Russia and its a known trait of Oligarchs to use proxies as they conduct business around the World. Farhad Moshiris parents were not wealthy, he studied to be an accountant and worked for Deloitte as a Senior Manager until 1989 until he got his big break at The Hague as an expert financial witness. It was then he met Usmanov, who after working as the Director of the Foreign Economic Association of the Soviet Peace Committee (This is an intriguing detail of his CV, as it is now widely suspected that the Peace Committee was a front for the KGB) was jailed for 6 years until 1986 for financial crimes and rape. Usmanovs release coincided with the first days of perestroika, and soon he was back in Moscow, setting up a plastic bags business, with a KGB officer as his partner and Olga, the first wife of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. As Soviet Russia collapsed Usmanov seized control of the real source of wealth in Russia – its natural resources – acquiring steel, timber and mining concerns.

    When Farhad Moshiri first started working for Usmanov in 1993 he was not a wealthy man. Over the last 27 years Moshiri has acted as a conduit for Usmanov, managing his interests in the UK and disguising the level of Russian influence in many UK based firms. Moshiri has been rewarded extremely handsomely by Usmanov, the idea that he is somehow is own man and not explicitly linked to the oligarch is improbable. You have a voice within EFC, we need to understand who owns our club.

    • I know theres a lot here to look through but I missed out an important article you may find interesting from 2012 https://iranian.com/main/2012/apr/farhad-moshiri-billionaire.html?fbclid=IwAR1eNjsLa5yY2AhhGpMX2YE4OfNNPUqI4LAh-Q8Z0PQsL7Ni9LJsd5GCwAI&site=archive

      “Usmanov, 58, rewarded Moshiri, 56, for years of service as an adviser and confidant in 2008, granting him a 10 percent stake in Gallagher Holding Ltd., through which Usmanov controls Metalloinvest.

      “He was consulting me for decades on different deals and exercised his option, fairly getting the stake,” Usmanov said in a telephone interview from Moscow. Usmanov and Moshiri both declined to elaborate on the terms of the option.”

      Usmanov gifted Moshiri a 10% stake in Gallagher Holding in 2008, that is how Farhad Moshiri became a billionaire.

      • Thanks for your comments and sharing your research. I too have examined as much of what is available publicly about Usmanov, Moshiri and their links.

        I am sure you are aware that following the Panorama programme the BBC dropped all their allegations overnight.

        At the time I wrote this:

        For the Moshiri acquisition of Everton shares to go ahead the Premier League, however, had to give its approval first. That approval included an investigation into the arrangements between Moshiri and Usmanov.
        The Panorama team infer that because of the supposed gift, Usmanov’s money was used to acquire Moshiri’s stake in Everton. From a legal perspective this does not stand up, a willing donor makes a gift to a recipient, and the title (ownership) passes from one to the other. So even if it was a gift (denied by both Moshiri’s lawyers and Usmanov), it’s a strange conclusion for Panorama to reach.
        The Guardian have responded to the Panorama Paradise Paper special by the BBC by publishing an article that includes the following: “The Guardian has been shown a document in which Epion did acknowledge receiving payment from a company owned by Moshiri for his half of the Arsenal stake, in full.”

    • Just an observation. Usmanov although founder does not sit on the board of USM. Of the three shareholders only Moshiri does.

  2. I appreciate the reply, I understand that the BBC dropped these allegations but is this surprising considering the legal & financial jeopardy a public company is putting itself in by making these allegations against an Oligarch? The BBC lawyers would never let Panorama stick to its guns on this whether it had a case or not, just look at Usmanovs history with entities that make allegations about him.

    Firstly in regards to the legality, I don’t believe for an instant Usmanov and his cronies would make such a mistake. They would be able to act within the law when it comes to fairly simple financial doping, these guys commit serious crimes with no consequences on a weekly basis.

    Moshiri may have done an incredible job for Usmanov over 2 decades but to effectively gift almost £800 million in stock options to a senior exec is rare. Perhaps I am wrong and Usmanov runs a perfectly legitimate empire, maybe he is the exception to the rule and hes no usual Oligarch at all, but his close friendship with Putin makes this unlikely. Russian businesses operate like the mafia, in this case Usmanov is the Godfather and Moshiri is his Consigliere.

    I’m trying to be objective, I understand your scepticism but what drives me towards this research is the obvious gap in our finances that you have brilliantly articulated. I need answers and so far non other than this have satisfied me.

    • Thanks for the comments, much of which I agree. I am no fan of Usmanov in particular nor oligarchs in general and accept entirely the differences in custom, the different interpretations of title and ownership & what is deemed acceptable or usual business practices. The redistribution of state owned assets to a relatively few favoured individuals in return for patronage and some misguided sense of loyalty is nothing to applaud.
      My greatest concern is that a venerable and valuable asset (valuable in so many ways other than just financial) which has been connected to the city of Liverpool and generations of fans just becomes a plaything for wealthy individuals.
      The desire to be competitive means we sell our most valuable qualities too cheaply to people not worthy of their ownership.

      • I completely agree with your sentiment, especially a club like Everton.

        An optimistic view would be to look at the ownership of Manchester City and the development of the east of Manchester, the Emirates are no better than the Oligarchs. Maybe we do sell out a little, but if we can provide greater assistance in the community and fund projects that improve the lives of the people of Liverpool then so be it.

        Its unclear how the board works a USM Group but according to Official Board hes on the board with 100% of the voting rights:
        https://www.theofficialboard.com/org-chart/usm-holdings

      • My understanding is that Usmanov does not sit on the board of USM. Mind, given that he owns 100% of the voting stock of USM it’s a moot point!

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