Belokon: My future with Blackpool FC is uncertain
Latvian millionaire Valeri Belokon says his future involvement with Blackpool Football Club is uncertain after winning the bitter High Court case against the Oystons.
The staggering court order, which will see the Latvian awarded an astonishing £31.27m, brings a conclusion to months of legal battles between the two sides in the unusual scenario of club directors being pitted against each other.
Justice Marcus Smith found in favour of the club’s estranged president after he pursued a claim against the Oyston family for ‘unfair prejudice’.
Belokon argued that Owen and Karl Oyston used the football club as their “personal cash machine” after it enjoyed a cash “jackpot” after winning promotion to the Premier League in 2010.
Justice Smith found that the Oyston family, the owners of Blackpool Football Club, acted improperly and paid £42m to their own companies.
The judge also ordered Owen and Karl Oyston to buy out Belokon's shares in the club, which amounts to £31.27m.
Belokon, who bought a 20 per cent stake in the club in 2006, must now be regarded as a 50 per cent owner.
Justice Smith labelled it “a very easy decision”.
In a statement released this evening, Belokon said: "Like many Blackpool fans, I have always questioned the large payments from Blackpool Football Club to companies owned by Owen and Karl Oyston following our great promotion to the Premier League.
"In finding that those payments were disguised dividends to the Oyston family, today's judgment vindicates what we have all been saying.
"The judgment reveals clearly for the first time the full extent of those payments and provides transparency as to how the club has been run. It is a shame that things have had to progress to this stage, but I felt that I had little option but to pursue the proceedings in the circumstances.
"I hope that the club's fans will understand that when they consider the findings.
"The future of this great club and my involvement in it is uncertain at this time. I will be taking the time to consider matters and my options with my advisors.
"What I am certain of is that, with the fan's support, today's judgment could mark a turning point in the club's fortunes.
"I would also like to thank the Clifford Chance team, led by Chris Yates, and our barristers Andrew Green QC and Fraser Campbell for their fantastic work over the past three years."
Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston has been contacted for comment.