Belokon: 'I felt betrayed by Owen and Karl Oyston'

Valeri Belokon arrives at the High Court in London
Valeri Belokon arrives at the High Court in London

Blackpool FC president Valeri Belokon has told the High Court that he felt 'betrayed' by Owen and Karl Oyston - the owner and chairman - as they took millions of pounds out of the club.

The Latvian millionaire banker expressed his dismay at seeing the money, which had flowed in as a result of promotion to the Premier League, extracted in the same period that the Seasiders were relegated and tumbled down to League Two.

Mr Belokon said in a witness statement: "If even a small proportion of these substantial sums had been used to purchase and pay players, I believe the club would never have found itself in its current position."

Mr Belokon said: "Following the first payments in 2010, I was less involved in the club as I felt betrayed by Owen and Karl Oyston and have since had to endure watching this great club relegated three times since it reached its heights in the Premier League."

His QC Andrew Green had earlier accused the Oystons of treating the Lancashire club as 'the family's personal cash machine'.

In what could prove to be one of British football's most expensive legal actions, VB Football Assets, a minor shareholder in the club owned by Mr Belokon, is pursing a claim against the Oystons for 'unfair prejudice' against shareholders.

The claim is also against Blackpool FC Ltd itself and Blackpool FC (Properties) Ltd, a company with family links formerly known as Segesta.

The Oystons are vigorously denying the claims in a bitter five-week legal battle.

On Tuesday, the second day of the hearing, Mr Belokon went into the witness box to face cross-examination on his written statement with the aid of a Russian language interpreter.

Read more: Accusations fly in opening day of High Court case

The Oystons are being accused of 'improperly' extracting millions of pounds from club funds following promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and using the money for their own benefit.

Promotion led to an unprecedented influx of cash amounting to £106m over five years, the court heard.

Some £58m was in 'parachute payments' as the club was relegated first to the Championship and then on down to League 2, the fourth and bottom league of English professional football.

It has just gained promotion back to League 1.

Mr Belokon says his company, which had invested in the club, was excluded from key decisions, information and a fair share of profits despite a joint understanding with Owen Oyston that the club would be run with his company as a 50-50 joint venture.

Alan Steinfeld QC, cross-examining Mr Belokon on behalf of the Oystons, suggested he had been told by Mr Oyston there could be no so such agreement.

Mr Belokon replied: "We had an agreement, private to private, like gentlemen."