BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Tahnoon Nimer’s hold over Charlton Athletic is set to be tested by a legal challenge from some of the club’s ex-directors – who are ready to take out an injunction to force control back to Roland Duchatelet.
We exclusively revealed on our website earlier this week that East Street Investments’ January takeover of the Championship outfit was set to take a fresh twist.
There were fears that there was a significant shortfall in funding for the Addicks to finish the campaign – and that was before the coronavirus outbreak halted the domestic football calendar and put extra strain on clubs.
But the EFL’s decision to bring forward “basic award payments” to help ease the crisis has boosted Charlton’s coffers by £800,000.
The ex-directors – Derek Chappell, Bob Whitehand, David Sumners, Richard Murray, Sir Maurice Hatter, David White and David Hughes – are due loans totalling £7million should Charlton win promotion to the Premier League.
Roland Duchatelet did not resolve the historic debt when he bought the Addicks in 2014.
Chappell and one other former board member have started legal proceedings with the threat of a mandatory injunction before the end of next week if Charlton is not reversed back to Baton 2010 Ltd. Baton is owned by Staprix NV, which Duchatelet has a 95 per cent stake in.
There are aspects of the takeover that would have required their consent. The question is whether their charge over Charlton Athletic has been compromised as a result.
If successful with their application then it is not clear what Duchatelet would do.
He already owns the freehold to all the land with ESI only stating before they had a “legal obligation” to buy inside six months.
Duchatelet had been looking to offload the club long before he struck a deal with ESI and seems unlikely to want to take back on the day-to-day running. One scenario is that he quickly agrees a deal with another party.
Nimer is the majority shareholder in ESI but the Syrian has not shown proof or sufficiency of funds to the EFL.
Those last hurdles – both significant ones – have been the stumbling blocks to gaining takeover approval from the governing body since the middle of January.
There is a “legal obligation” by ESI to buy The Valley and the training ground by the end of June.
Nimer has won his power struggle with executive chairman Matt Southall, who has stayed away from the South London club’s property since the end of last week.
Our paper tried to contact Nimer via Charlton Athletic but there was no response by the time we went to press.