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More trouble in Belgium for Miami-based 777 Partners after court authorizes seizure of assets

May 19, 2024  By The Associated Press

Josh Wander, CEO of the 777 Partners Group, speaks at a press conference on the entry as new investor for Bundesliga soccer club Hertha BSC in Berlin, Germany, Monday, March 13, 2023. An Australian airline grounded. A lawsuit in a federal court in New York alleging $600 million fraud. A long-stalled bid to buy English Premier League soccer club Everton. These are troubled times for Miami-based investment group 777 Partners, one of the wave of United States owners in European soccer, bringing more anxiety for fans of its teams in several countries. On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, financial administrators of the collapsed 777-owned Australian airline Bonza confirmed all flights are canceled for one more week. (Andreas Gora/dpa via AP, file)

BRUSSELS (AP) — A Belgian court ruled Thursday that all assets in the country belonging to American investment group 777 Partners can be seized, in the latest legal setback for the embattled company that owns Standard Liège and several other soccer clubs.

The decision by a court in Liege came after Standard’s former owner Bruno Venanzi and shareholders of the company holding the club’s stadium requested the move, saying 777 had defaulted on a payment. It comes after a period of legal and financial turmoil for the Miami-based investment company, which has also seen its airline in Australia grounded in recent weeks and faces a massive fraud lawsuit in New York.

Belgian media reported that the court authorized the seizure of all 777 Partners’s assets in the country, including Standard’s accounts and shares, as well as shares in Immobilière Standard de Liège, which owns the Maurice Dufrasne stadium. The court declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

“Following the seizure of 777’s assets, including shares and accounts in Belgium of Immobilière and the club, we hope that this move will prompt 777 and/or its crisis manager to respond to our questions and requests, which have so far been ignored,” Immobilière said in a statement relayed by Belgian media.


“If there is no response from them, we will take further action to protect our interests and those of Standard Liège,” it added. “Our priority is to ensure the continuity and stability of the club in the short, medium and long term. We are at the disposal of the club’s management to help them find a lasting solution for Standard Liège.”

Fans of Standard, a 10-time Belgian champion, have stepped up protests this season against 777, whose financial problems led to the club currently being under another temporary transfer embargo. Last week, Standard was unable to play a league game when protesting fans blocked the team bus from reaching the stadium.

777’s other clubs include Genoa in Italy’s top tier, Hertha Berlin in Germany’s second division and Vasco da Gama in Brazil.

The company’s most ambitious move in soccer, attempting to buy storied English Premier League club Everton, has stalled for months as doubts have grown about closing the deal.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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