Sunday 8 December 2019

Former Portsmouth owner Sulaiman Al Fahim jailed for stealing £5m from his wife to buy club

Sulaiman Al Fahim owned Portsmouth for six weeks in 2009
Sulaiman Al Fahim owned Portsmouth for six weeks in 2009

Jeremy Wilson

The disastrous past ownership saga at Portsmouth took another extraordinary twist when it was reported on Thursday that Sulaiman Al Fahim, the businessman who owned the club for six weeks in the Premier League in 2009, stole £5 million from his wife to fund the purchase.

Al Fahim was previously also the front-man for the Abu Dhabi United Group's takeover of Manchester City in 2007, although he was almost immediately sidelined from any involvement at Eastlands and later re-emerged in English football at Portsmouth.

According to The National, Al Fahim has now been convicted of forgery by the Dubai Criminal Court and sentenced to five years in prison. The report said that his wife had opened an account in 2009 with a fixed deposit and, when she checked for any profits in 2011, discovered that the money had been transferred to a UK Law firm to fund the Portsmouth deal.

At the time of becoming Portsmouth owner, Al Fahim had talked optimistically of building a new stadium by 2015 and becoming a top-eight Premier League club. As it was, Portsmouth had a series of other owners and ultimately fell into administration, suffered three relegations and were ultimately taken over by the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust.

A spokesman for the trust said that Thursday's report raised questions of the Premier League’s ownership rules, which were tightened up following the Portsmouth experience.

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