Judge 'does not trust' former Liverpool owners
Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 08:34
Texas-based Tom Hicks and George Gillett lost control of Liverpool, one of England's most successful sides, when the club was sold to New England Sports Ventures – headed by another American businessman, John W Henry – in a £300 million (RM1.48 billion) deal in October 2010.
Mr Justice Peter Smith Hicks criticised Hicks and Gillett when hearing evidence during the latest phase of litigation launched following the sale.
He refused to allow Hicks and Gillett to have "full and unrestricted" access to private documentation featuring in the litigation because of fears about "potential misconduct".
The judge said an American lawyer representing Hicks and Gillett had twice misled an American court in October 2010 following the Liverpool sale.
He said the duo had given "no credible explanation" for that lawyer's behaviour.
"I do not trust your clients," the judge told British lawyers representing Hicks and Gillett in the current High Court litigation on Wednesday.
"(They) have demonstrated... that if it suits them they will abuse the process."
Hicks and Gillett tried and failed to block the sale of Liverpool before launching damages claims in which they alleged the club was sold at a "substantial undervalue" and said the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and then Liverpool directors had "deliberately" blocked their attempts to "refinance".
Lawyers representing the bank said Hicks and Gillett had alleged a "grand conspiracy" but failed to produce "any evidence".
Smith said an American lawyer representing the businessmen had "misled" a Texan court twice in October 2010 – "untruthfully" saying an application could not be made in London because it was "late" and courts were closed and saying a similar application had not been made in the UK when it had.
"No credible explanation has been given, ever, as to how it was a lawyer retained by the defendants was able to mislead the court in that way," said the judge.
"Despite numerous opportunities, the defendants have not availed themselves of the opportunity to explain how it came about."