Blackpool chairman denies 'death threat' claims against president were made up
Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston has denied accusations that he and his father made up "death threat" allegations against club president Valeri Belokon to tarnish the Latvian millionaire's reputation.
Karl's father, club owner Owen Oyston, has filed a statement to the High Court saying the threats - against both father and son - occurred at an alcohol-fuelled meeting in London.
The Oystons are locked in a bitter five-week legal battle with Mr Belokon, who claims the family "improperly" extracted millions of pounds from Blackpool FC following its short-lived but cash-rich promotion to the Premier League in 2010, using the money for their own benefit.
Andrew Green QC, appearing for Mr Belokon, suggested to Karl Oyston during a second day of cross-examination: "This supposed death threat is evidence that is manufactured by you and your father. It was made up in order to tarnish Mr Belokon."
Mr Oyston said he had not been present when the threats were made, but he heard about them from his father soon after the meeting.
During a dinner at Claridge's Hotel in London, Mr Belokon had asserted he was entitled to 50% of Blackpool FC, but his father told him no such thing had ever been agreed.
Mr Belokon had got "raging drunk" and made the threats.
Mr Oyston told Mr Justice Marcus Smith, sitting in London: "I believe my father. He has never lied to me. The day after the meeting he told me in some detail."
Mr Oyston said there was "no particular explanation" as to why the police were not contacted.
But the threats were serious enough to stop his family travelling to the Latvian capital Riga, as they had been in the habit of doing, to discuss business with Mr Belokon and to socialise.
Mr Oyston said his family knew Mr Belokon had been a Russian special forces sniper and was "a crack-shot with a rifle".
He had also been at the centre of money laundering allegations, denied by Mr Belokon.
During the trial, the Oyston family have been accused of alienating fans by using the Lancashire club as their "personal cash machine".
Mr Belokon, acting through his company VB Football Assets, a minor shareholder in the club, is seeking a ruling that the Oystons are guilty of "unfair prejudice" against shareholders.
The Oystons have countered with allegations that Mr Belokon has incited fans to cause trouble, making it difficult to run the company in the best interests of the football club.