Leeds United: £950,000 loan repaid to Sport Capital

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Leeds United have repaid a loan of £950,000 to Sport Capital, clearing the way for the High Court in London to lift Sport Capital’s winding-up petition next week.

The YEP understands that the debt owed to Sport Capital - an offshore firm based in Guernsey - was repaid yesterday, a day after Sport Capital had its assets frozen by a court in Dubai.

Sport Capital lent money to Leeds in November of last year but moved to call in a £950,000 loan at the start of April, shortly before Massimo Cellino’s takeover of United.

Cellino refused to settle the debt before a deadline of April 24 and Leeds were served with a winding-up petition the following day.

The Championship club opted to contest the petition but were ordered by the High Court in London last week to paid back the money before this Monday, June 23.

United’s main bank account has been frozen in the meantime, preventing the club from meeting the players’ wage bill for May on time.

But that money is understood to have been transferred in the past 24 hours, despite FA rules preventing clubs from paying players via individual or third-party bank accounts.

Leeds’ bank account remains frozen but the club have been working in the past fortnight to find a way to pay the wage bill.

Money was also owed to casual staff at Elland Road, many of whom have gone without salaries due to the legal fight between Leeds and Sport Capital.

United are due to return to court in London on Monday where it is anticipated that the winding-up petition will be withdrawn. Their bank account is then expected to be unfrozen.

Sport Capital, however, is unlikely to have access to any of the £950,000 repaid by Leeds after a court in Dubai ruled on Tuesday that the company’s assets and shares should be frozen.

The ruling was part of a civil case brought by former Leeds owner Gulf Finance House against ex-United managing director David Haigh, a man with close links to Sport Capital.

Haigh is under arrest in Dubai and has been in custody for more than five weeks without charge, accused of financial irregularities by GFH.

The 36-year-old denies all the allegations against him.