Reds owners under fire
Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been accused of 'outrageous' behaviour.
Last Updated: 14/10/10 5:37pm
Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been accused of 'outrageous' behaviour following their attempt to prevent the club from being sold.
The American pair blocked High Court orders allowing the Reds to be sold for £300million late on Wednesday, after obtaining a temporary restraining order from a Texas court.
Liverpool's board were hoping to secure a swift sale to John Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV), following a High Court decision by Mr Justice Floyd earlier in the day which appeared to rule the duo powerless to intervene on any deal.
Lord Grabiner QC, representing the Liverpool companies, has revealed that the board approved the sale of the club to NESV by three votes to two on Wednesday night.
Hicks and Gillett voted against the deal and are now calling on the Dallas court to jail directors and lawyers at the board meeting for contempt of the US court.
The club's main creditor, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), had won injunctions that would have seen them paid back a £200million loan which is due for settlement on Friday, with Mr Justice Floyd rejecting attempts from Hicks and Gillett to stand in the way of the sale.
However, following the Americans' last-ditch attempts to thwart the deal, which they are claiming $1.6million damages for and are describing as an 'epic swindle', more court action has been necessary.
Richard Snowden QC, for the bank, said: "Having lost in front of your lordship they simply went to another jurisdiction to resume the same debate.
"The owners' behaviour conclusively demonstrates just how incorrigible they are.
"They are absolutely determined to stop this transaction in its tracks and they have no lawful justification for behaving in this way.
"This is unconscionable behaviour of the worst possible kind and they are probably sitting there giggling now to themselves."
Meanwhile, Singapore business tycoon Peter Lim has withdrawn his interest in taking control of the club after revealing that the board were intent on agreeing a deal with NESV, to the 'exclusion of all other parties'.
RBS returned to the High Court on Thursday afternoon seeking anti-suit injunctions to nullify the decision taken in Dallas. Mr Snowden said they were forced to act after the American owners took the action.
He said: "About five minutes before the board was due to commence the meeting at 1830 hours, solicitors for the companies were informed that relief had been obtained from a judge in Texas, purportedly on behalf of the three English companies (which control Liverpool).
"The Texas court seems to have been told remarkably little about the proceedings in this court."
Mr Snowden revealed the Texas court had also allowed an injunction to stop RBS exercising its right to recall its loan.
"This is the most outrageous abuse of process," he added.
"The proceedings in Texas are plainly inappropriate. This dispute involves an English football club and three English companies and has no connection with Texas other than that Hicks and Gillett may reside there.
"It is a plain attempt to frustrate and impede the proceedings."
Mr Snowden said the American owners made 'scurrilous allegations' against the bank which had no basis in fact, while admitting that granting anti-suit injunctions always ran the risk of an affront to a foreign court.
He remarked: "But it is apparent the US judge himself was aware that what he was being asked to do might cause some ruffling of feathers in this jurisdiction."