Tuesday 26 May 2020

Tahnoon Nimer - The Fake Sheikh

As Charlton supporters everywhere wait with dread to discover the identity of our new owners and prepare for the next round of shelling, it's time to reflect on  His Excellency Tahnoon Nimer and to mark his card.

Nimer arrived as the mysterious 'money man' and it was his presence as the major shareholder in ESI which had some fans bellowing "we're fucking rich" in early January. At that time we had been lead to believe that ESI had bought the club, lock stock and barrel. Nimer had supposedly forked out £50m to acquire the assets and that we were about to see a rare spending spree in the January transfer window to address chronic squad injuries and ensure we were at no risk of relegation. 

Southall backed the myth but was soon spluttering about not having purchased the main assets because of a need to complete the deal quickly to maximise the transfer window. Instead, we were reassured, they had a six month option in which to complete Due Diligence on the assets and pay for them. This we now know was a lie. Not only that but subsequently learnt that the EFL had placed a transfer embargo on the club because Nimer had failed to provide proof and subsequently source of funds. Southall lied to us about his 'super-duper' deal phone as he made the most of his shabby football connections by pretending along with Peterborough's Chairman that we were realistically looking at Toney and Maddison. and had even agreed a £2m deal for Toney. We then discovered that the six month buy option on the Valley and Sparrows Lane was also a lie - they had negotiated a purchase option over a five year window - that's some Due Diligence.

So, Nimer's credibility as the money man was being called into question. He hadn't shelled out for the assets and we weren't spending big in January. We then had the extraordinary loss of composure from Nimer when he used his amateur Instagram page to issue a tirade about Southall's behaviour when he told us all about the "Range Rovers and Bitches." Nimer lost the plot at this moment, saying he was done with Charlton and accusing Southall of having spent "all my money." Southall's defence was pathetic as we know but he revealed very quickly that Nimer hadn't put any money in as had been agreed as part of the plan. This was an alarming discovery. Not only had they not invested heavily but Nimer hadn't actually made any commitment. Southall also accused him of using the club's bank account to pay for his trip to London and that one of the Range Rovers acquired was for his use in London. 

The next step in the sad story was news that Southall had been given a 35% stake in the shell company that ESI was. That was now to be a major bone of contention between the pair and we were all left wondering why Nimer would give Southall 35% when he was putting nothing in and when he was already on a good screw as Chairman. Indeed, Southall plundered £120,000 in January as part of his pay and 'bonus' for completing the deal as well as what looks like £80,000 to a business his wife owns that purports to offer 'design services.' All money that came out of Charlton Athletic's, not Tahnoon Nimer's bank account.

We then had a succession of mealy mouthed promises to sort everything out, rid the club of the greedy Southall and to put money in to move us forward. This was then contradicted by his conveniently worked defence that he wouldn't put money in whilst Southall was still a minority shareholder, despite the fact Southall had been kicked out the club and removed from access to the wonga.

The months have ticked by with no investment and the Fake Sheikh has suddenly gone very media-quiet on Instagram and we have been left with Marian Mihail trying to explain the whole mess but clearly not from a point of complete understanding of what Nimer's intentions were (it's still very unclear what Claudiu Florica's role in all this was supposed to be). 

With May's operating bill looming the game is finally up with Nimer attempting to cut and run. This was also Southall's last wish that he get another ounce of flesh as part of his 'stake.' This must be hurting the Fake Sheikh but I guess 65% of something is still a decent return when you have only risked a Pound Sterling. On reflection it now looks very clear that Fake Sheikh Nimer never intending putting up any serious capital and so could afford to be generous with the ESI shareholding because there would be no risk to him. 

That anyone is prepared to offer this pair of scrotes anything for the club is astonishing given the money they have already ripped out of it and the parlous state we are left in. It may only be in the region of £1m but just remember that the grasping Matt Southall will be getting £350,000 of that. Rewarding failure should never be possible but that's the mess we are in and the EFL have been completely and utterly useless in providing any real regulation or governance. A transfer embargo they kept a secret, another protracted period of inactivity into the Misconduct investigation they have supposedly 'launched' and the culprits about to swan off, possibly leaving us in a new ownership nightmare. Nimer never passed their Owners & Directors Test, but so what - he still managed to acquire the club for nothing and sold it for a profit. 

Luckily for Nimer he lives in the Middle East so is unlikely to bump into too many irate Charlton fans and I suspect he may decide to avoid south-east London like the plague if he is ever tempted to come here on one of his 'business' trips. Indeed that Arab garb could come in very handy if he does. The message for all Dinamo Bucharest fans is very stark - keep this parasite away from your club at all costs.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Good riddance to Southall and Nimer

Desperate Matt Southall has been trying everything he can to wring some final value from Charlton Athletic and his notional 35% of holding company ESI. Barred from the Valley and with no access to the control mechanisms at the football club any longer, he has been forced to the periphery of social media where he has been reduced, pathetically, to pleading with Nimer to do a deal and to exchanging insults with supporters. He even went as far as a feeble attempt to threaten the Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust with defamation for having printed a Q and A with CAFC Director Marian Mihail. His Twitter account has also been closed or suspended so sad Matt must be feeling the weight of it all.

Despite his taunting about owning the business premises at the Valley and grandiose notions of a return to his former role as Chairman, he must now simply be left looking to get a final pay-off for his 35% share in ESI. Logically that should be worth considerably less than the £1 they paid for it. Since taking control they have emptied the club's bank account, lead us into the relegation places and COVID-19 has ended the club's realistic revenue stream going forward. In short, the football club is a massive financial liability as things stand and no-one in their right mind would consider paying anything for it. However, the opportunity in the short-term is for control. Regardless of the ex-Directors claims over first-option on debt repayment and the fact that the club is worthless, someone might be prepared to pay something to take it on from ESI and therein lies the current danger.

You have to believe that Nimer is never going to put any money into the club and that his moment of truth and ultimate embarrassment is rapidly approaching. Indeed, you would have to assume he never anticipated putting money into CAFC in the first place having been cavalier enough to offer Southall a 35% stake for nothing. The plan must have been to bring other investors on board and use their money to get the club, moving and generating more cash. In the circumstances then, both Nimer and Southall are left looking for a return on their £1 and Nimer can effectively sell to whomever he wants. It would be some kind of Desperado who would be prepared to take on the current risks of the ex-Directors, potential ongoing liabilities to Roland Duchatelet as well as to finance the club in the short-term until revenue streams return. That's not to say there might be no shortage of such chancers and Nimer/Southall are hardly likely to give a toss about who they pass it onto if they can get a pay-off. 

So we face a worrying last couple of weeks of May when the club's ownership might possibly become even more complicated. Ordinary fans will be hoping that the next step is Administration in the absence of Nimer actually putting any money in to pay the bills this month. That would at least bring some due legal process and transparency to proceedings and may finally clear a few things up and remove a lot of the current uncertainties about the future running of the club. 

What I think we can all agree on is that any last ditch change of ownership with anyone willing to pay Nimer and Southall off would be a seriously troubling development and should be opposed with everything we have because no serious businessman with honest intentions would cut a deal with ESI that they don't have to.

Monday 4 May 2020

Nimer limps on but the end is nigh

The salaries and all main expenditure at Charlton Athletic were settled at the end of April. Marian Mihail confirmed as much in answering the latest round of fans questions posed by CAST. Indeed, Mihail was frank enough to confirm that the club was able to meet the costs from its budget and that Taynoon Nimer did not need to make any contribution.

Mr Mihail also told us that Nimer is unwilling to make any investment as things stand because of Southall's 35% holding in ESI and because of ongoing uncertainties caused by the EFL's misconduct investigation concerning the takeover. We therefore appear to be firmly on borrowed time and the prospect of May's costs being met look about as likely as Matt Southall deciding to stop sending the club spurious invoices seeking payment for whatever his latest wheezes are. Mihail confirmed that Southall and 'Charlton fan' Lee Amis have submitted yet more unsubstantiated invoices. They must be patently aware they won't be paid but presumably it's all part of a larger case they will continue to make in their attempts to fleece ESI and majority shareholder, Taynoon Nimer.

On the basis that Nimer either cannot or will not invest in CAFC via ESI, the club is headed for Administration and all that it entails. We do not know what teeth Roland Duchatelet's contract with ESI may have in terms of a commitment to acquire the remaining assets but I am inclined to think that the initial "6 month obligation" that became a "5 year option" may only cause Mr Nimer some further embarrassment as part of any exit from CAFC. 

What seems pretty clear in the current environment is no-one will rush in to prevent Administration. Why pay a premium you don't have to and who actually wants to acquire an EFL club in the current COVID-19 pandemic? There will be no significant revenues for a long time and even when football does eventually restart, revenue streams may well continue to struggle if social distancing remains an imperative. 

It looks very much like we will get a points deduction and whoever picks up the pieces will effectively have to factor that in to the first year of operation. We have to hope that our Championship status will be confirmed first and that any deduction gives us a fighting chance for our next season, whenever that begins.

With a host of playing staff due to see their contracts expire and huge pressure on others to defer wages or accept sizeable reductions, you can see the wage bill being trimmed and with staff furloughed, the club's costs should look relatively healthy but whoever steps in will need to fund what could be a big gap  until revenues begin to flow again.

In the meantime, the EFL somehow decided that Claudia Florica is a fit and proper person to operate as a Director, in spite of his $10m fine by Romanian authorities for the dodging of licence fees on Microsoft software. I am unsure what Florica's role is at Charlton and both he and Mihail positioned themselves as temporary employees doing a piece of work to help Nimer steady the ship. Mihail appears to have been down in the engine room and putting the hours in but just what is Florica going to bring in the current environment? Imagine trying to find an investor when the majority shareholder isn't willing to put money in because he fears 35% of it could be at risk because of a rogue shareholder? As for selling the club, who would give ESI anything for it when they publicly only paid a £1 and have clearly weakened the club financially since taking over?

Let us just hope that we get some real progress during June and hopefully see the back of East Street Investments and all the ugly characters they have visited upon us.