Removed Qatari president of Malaga C.F. owes club $10m: Court papers

MALAGA: Qatari businessman Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, who was removed as president of Spanish football club Malaga on charges including the alleged misappropriation of funds, owes the club 8.5 million euros ($10.07 million), court papers have revealed.

Al-Thani, who bought Malaga C.F. in 2010, was temporarily removed by a judge on Feb. 19 and judicial administrator Jose Maria Munoz has been running the business since.

Spanish court documents relating to the ongoing case, claim that Al-Thani and his family took additional money out of the club during their ownership for their personal use.

On Tuesday, a judge placed an 8 million-euro bond on him after the Association of Small Shareholders of Malaga C.F. (APA) requested bail be increased from 5.4 million to 11.7 million euros.

When Al-Thani took over the club, the team was playing in Spain’s top-flight La Liga after winning promotion in the 2008/2009 season. However, financial difficulties led to the club selling a number of key players and in 2018 the team was relegated to the second tier of Spanish football.

The APA filed a complaint against Al-Thani for “improper management, misappropriation of funds, and imposition of abusive corporate agreements.”

Al-Thani and his sons Nasser, Nayef, and Rakkan were dismissed from their roles as president and members of the board of directors, respectively, and were given five days to lodge an appeal against the ruling. But a court in Malaga rejected their appeal to end Munoz’s judicial administration.

Munoz has been managing the day-to-day running of the club, but still has to run any major decisions by the judge first.

On Jan. 22, Spanish authorities seized computers and documents during a search at Malaga’s La Rosaleda stadium. The APA requested the immediate seizure of Al-Thani’s assets, but its application was turned down by the court on the grounds that such a move would be premature.

Antonio Aguilar, the APA’s president, told Arab News that the group “only wants justice to be done. Malaga C.F. has 3,000 shareholders and this man (Al-Thani) cannot do what he wants.”

Al-Thani has continued to issue statements through his lawyers relating to the case and responding to allegations made by APA members.

“He hired an advertising agency, and in Malaga people are getting more and more indignant with the statements,” said Aguilar.

The club’s fans are also outraged, and Aguilar added: “He (Al-Thani) left the club on the verge of disappearance. If the judge had not intervened, appointing a judicial administrator, Malaga C.F. would have disappeared on April 30.”

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