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    Al Jazeera’s new documentary – How it relates to Cyprus

    Anxiety prevails in Cyprus regarding the new documentary by Al Jazeera which will be published today at noon at 13:00 and concerns the investigation of journalists under cover of the Arab network on money laundering in English football and the reasons that led to the investigation in Cyprus.

    Today’s story will be and reveals it to you.

    As the head of Al Jazeera’s investigative journalism team, Mr. Phil Rees said “The new documentary concerns the story that preceded the investigation that took place in the context of “The Cyprus Papers Undercover” and will shed light on the reasons we were led to the investigation of the Cyprus Investment Programme”.

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    According to information from Al Jazeera, in the video to be published today, the Arab network’s investigative team exposes how English football clubs are bought by criminals and turned into money laundering vehicles from their various crimes.

    This is a new documentary and podcast, entitled “The Men Who Sell Football”, which gives a shocking insight into the dark world that funds English football, the most popular league in the world.

    With the football world still shaken by the European Super League fiasco, Al Jazeera journalists under cover meet intermediaries who tell them they are able to hide dirty money behind opaque offshore trusts, report to hide evidence, use “dirty tricks” and give criminals false identities.

    Of course, under the regulations of the principles of English football with regard to the owners and managers of teams, anyone who has been criminally convicted with a sentence of more than 12 months is prohibited from buying a football club.

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    The Chinese investor

    As in the case of Cyprus, so here, the journalists under cover are presented as representatives of a Chinese criminal with convictions for bribery and money laundering, reaching five of the agreement to acquire Derby County, one of England’s oldest football clubs that were two-time champions of the English league.

    The Arab network’s covered journalists specifically meet Christopher Samuelson, a financial adviser, expert on offshore trusts and football club deals described as “the ideal man behind the scenes.”

    According to the Arab network, in the 1990s, through Valmet’s company, Samuelson transferred hundreds of millions of dollars of oligarchs out of Russia, including Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili. In fact, he has been investigated for money laundering in several European countries, but he has not been charged.

    As we will see in the video to be published today, al Jazeera covert journalists with hidden cameras tell Samuelson that Mr X – as they call the virtual investor they are supposed to represent – is very wealthy, sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison and smuggled his money out of China through a casino in Macau. He is then told that at this stage he wants to buy an English football club to launder his money.

    The shocking thing is that Samuelson is not bothered about the crimes of Mr X (Chinese investor). Instead it gives a guide on how to use offshore trusts to hide the money and identity of criminal investors. “No one can ever know who the shareholders are,” he tells reporters under cover.

    In fact, it assures them that it will ensure that the criminal investor they are supposed to be in is approved by the English Football League. As we’ll see in the video, Mr Samuelson tells Al Jazeera reporters: “I have an idea of how we can shape it to beat the English Football League (EFL). I can push the Football League,” he says. “We’ll manage it. We’re just going to make it up.”

    Samuelson then takes the covered journalists of the Arab network to derby, where they meet Mel Morris, owner of the Derby County team, and negotiate a deal to buy the club and the stadium for £99m.

    In the video Al Jazeera will also reveal how Samuelson created deals to buy two historic English clubs – Aston Villa and Reading – that were brought to the brink of financial ruin by the new secret owners.

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    In the game and former Scotland Yard police officer

    The financial adviser tells how he and one of his associates, Keith Hunter – a private investigator and former Scotland Yard detective – use “dirty tricks” to facilitate deals. When it came to Aston Villa, “we were watching what the Football League was saying behind the scenes,” Samuelson tells reporters at one point. “They didn’t know that, of course.”

    For his part, the private investigator confirms that he took the personal phone records of a British journalist to find the “mole” who leaked the name of a secret Russian investor, Boris Zingarevich (Boris Zingarevich), who wanted to buy Everton, a Premier League team. The leak killed the deal.

    Samuelson and Hunter also assure that they can help covered journalists obtain a new passport for their criminal client – and give him a new identity to completely deceive the football authorities. “We’ve done it many, many times for others who, I can assure you, are worse off than your boss,” hunter says.

    Al Jazeera will also refer to an internal Scotland Yard report it received revealing that Keith Hunter was investigated by the anti-corruption task force as a suspected corruption officer of the Metropolitan Police Service. Turns out he wasn’t charged.

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    Contacts with Cyprus

    At one point Keith Hunter talks to the journalists undercover about his contacts in Cyprus. This led the team of journalists undercover in Cyprus, where after a series of meetings with a network of people we saw in the al Jazeera documentary entitled “The Cyprus Papers Undercover”, who assured them that they are willing to help the Chinese investor obtain a European Union passport – under a new name.

    It is recalled that the story of Cypriot passports was chronicled in the documentary of Al Jazeera which was nominated for the BAFTA Awards and released in October 2020, entitled The Cyprus Papers Undercover. In fact, it led to the resignation of ACPL MP Christakis Giovanis and Speaker of the House Dimitris Syllouris, investigations by the Cypriot government and the EU, and finally the abolition of the Cypriot investment program with “golden passports” as well as mass demonstrations against corruption.

    According to Al Jazeera’s press release on the new documentary, Transparency International’s senior investigative officer Ben Cowdock said of the new video: “This investigation into the ownership of football clubs will be of great interest to the police and English football authorities.” He added that “The public may not have seen it so clearly because they knew them through bank documents or company records like the Panama Papers. But this is real, it’s happening right in front of our eyes. It’s the most brazen example I’ve ever seen.”

    “Football fans,” continued Ben Cowdock, “should be angry at this investigation because it shows how vulnerable the English football system is to funds of questionable origin and unsuitable owners for their clubs.”

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    The comments of the protagonists

    According to Al Jazeera, commenting on the investigation of the journalists under cover, Christopher Samuelson’s lawyers said they never told him that X had a criminal conviction for money laundering and bribery. “If he knew anything about his criminal activity, he would have immediately ended the discussions,” they argued.

    For his part, Keith Hunter declined to address the details of Al Jazeera’s journalistic investigation, but said he strongly disputes most of them. Hunter also mentioned that he left the police with an exemplary record.

    Asked to comment on the journalistic investigation, Mel Morris, owner of the Derby County team, replied that the club would only have been sold to “suitable persons” and that he had no “official relationship” with Samuelson for some time.



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