Ratcliffe rival for Man Utd PULLS OUT of Inter ownership bid after 'malicious accusations'

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 29 Feb 2024 09:09 GMT
  • 3 min read
Thomas Zilliacus

A Finnish telecommunications businessman who bid for Manchester United against Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim has withdrawn from the process to buy Inter Milan in order to fight to clear his name against allegations of wrongdoing emerging in Singapore.

Thomas Zilliacus, the head of the XXI Century Capital investment group, was in the running to take over Man Utd but pulled out last year, calling the process “a farce”.

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The entrepreneur, 69, stated that majority owners, the Glazer family, were seeking to maximise the sales profit at the expense of the club.

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“Jim Ratcliffe, Sheikh Jassim and myself all were ready to negotiate a deal to buy United,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, last April.

“Instead Glazers chose to start a new round. I will not participate in a farce set up to maximize the profit for the sellers at the expense of Manchester United.”

He later announced that he would try to buy another club and settled on Inter.

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Zilliacus turns attention to Inter

“XXI Century Football Capital believes the price of Manchester United has reached levels where investments no longer make sense,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, last June.

“We therefore have turned our attention to other clubs.”

It has been claimed that Zilliacus was close to finalising his Inter takeover, which was submitted back in November 2023, but a press release from Milan issued on 29 February has confirmed that the process has been halted.

“Thomas Zilliacus stops process to buy Inter Milan, will focus on clearing his name from false and malicious accusations,” the press release from XXI Century Football Capital reads.

The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) halted trading in Zilliacus’s YuuZoo company back in April 2018 and asked the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to investigate claims that the e-commerce company provided information which misled the market back in 2015 and 2016.

Accordingly, arrest warrants and Interpol red notices were issued against the entire YuuZoo board from that period, when Zilliacus was chairman.

The allegations were published last week in Singapore’s Strait Times newspaper.

“In making the arrest warrant public, ST [Strait Times] and SPF have made him and he fellow board members look like criminals and fugitives when this is untrue and the fact is the complete opposite,” the press statement claims.

Investment group refutes claims

The newspaper has claimed that the board, all foreign nationals, has refused to return to hear charges, a claim which is refuted by lawyers representing XXI Century Capital.

The investment group claims that Zilliacus has pleaded with Singaporean authorities to conclude their investigation as soon as possible so he can clear his name.

While Singaporean claims are that Zilliacus is refusing to fly back to hear charges, XXI Century Capital says health reasons have prevented the Finn from making the 12-hour flight and, instead, he offered to attend court proceedings on Zoom.

The charges against Zilliacus now mean that other investors have pulled out of XXI Century Capital’s Inter bid with the financial future of the club again up in the air.

“Due to the false claims that have painted him as a fugitive when he has not even been charged with anything, some of the investors who already had signed investment agreements for the acquisition of Inter Milan, have stopped the investment process. As a result of this, XXI Century Capital is now forced to stop all work on the bidding for Inter Milan," the press release states.

Read more about: Serie A, Premier League, Inter, Man Utd

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