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Busted for coke, done for kidnap, banned from Indian cricket - now he wants to buy Rangers

 

23:11, 6 February 2015

By David Taylor

 

CONTROVERSIAL Multi-millionaire Lalit Modi, mastermind behind cricket’s super-rich Indian Premier League, wants controlling interest in troubled club.

Lalit Modi and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at the IPL opening party

 

AN Indian tycoon with convictions for drugs and kidnapping wants to buy Rangers.

 

Multi-millionaire Lalit Modi, the mastermind behind cricket’s super-rich Indian Premier League, wants a controlling interest in the troubled club.

 

He confirmed yesterday that he contacted Rangers football board chairman Sandy Easdale this week to discuss the 26 per cent stake in the club over which Easdale has voting rights.

 

But Rangers fans will be stunned at the thought of the businessman, who is now banned for life from Indian cricket and living under guard because of mafia death threats, taking charge at Ibrox.

 

When Modi, now 49, was a college student in the US, he was caught with 400 grams of cocaine.

 

He was arrested in North Carolina on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, assault and second-degree kidnapping.

 

Modi, who was studying at Duke University, eventually pled guilty after a plea bargain to assault and kidnapping. He got a suspended two-year prison sentence and community service.

 

Sentence for drug possession was deferred on condition that a £32,000 cash bond was deposited with the court – normal practice in North Carolina in cases involving first offenders.

 

Modi has argued that the convictions, dating back to 1985, are no longer relevant. But they came back to haunt him in 2008 when he was taken to court in Delhi over a claim he was not a “fit and proper person” to be involved in Indian cricket.

 

 

He won that battle after arguing that the convictions were old and pointing out that the case had been brought by an old rival in cricket administration.

 

But after building the IPL into a multi-billion dollar business, with support from friends including Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty, Modi is now no longer welcome in his homeland’s national sport.

 

Cricket’s board of control in India banned him in 2013 after finding him guilty of rigging an auction for IPL franchises, selling media and internet rights without permission and showing interest in creating a rebel T20 league in England.

 

Modi insists he did nothing wrong. He also faced claims in 2010 that the IPL was a front for money laundering and illegal betting, which sparked angry street protests against him.

 

He now lives in London, under 24-hour guard because of threats to his life by gangsters in India and Pakistan. A hitman arrested in 2009 revealed plans to assassinate Modi, his wife and son.

 

Despite his chequered past, Modi is still on the lookout for opportunities. He seems convinced he has found one in Rangers.

 

He said yesterday: “Glasgow Rangers FC is an institution in itself, given the history and lineage of the club.

 

“Yes, I am looking at acquiring a stake in this Scottish institution, as I think the club is seriously undervalued.”

 

It is believed a price has already been discussed for the shares Easdale has proxy rights over, and a meeting could take place as early as next week.

 

Modi added: “Glasgow Rangers have a fabulous fan base, a solid home and heritage that dates back over 100 years, all of which make for great long-term value.

 

Indian protesters burn effigy of Modi

 

“I have thus initiated talks with a couple of shareholders to understand the situation on the ground, and am keen that these discussions lead to fruition.

 

“Having said that, these discussions are still at a very preliminary stage.”

 

Modi is best known for his stint in charge of the IPL, now worth more than £2.6billion.

 

But he also ran India’s Champions League of cricket, and struck a ground-breaking £640million deal in 1994 for US-based broadcasting giant ESPN to show T20 Champions League matches.

 

He was also a vice-chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India before his lifetime ban.

 

Modi’s dad is chairman of Modi Enterprises, a £3billion business

empire involved in everything from fashion, education and retail to health care and tea. Modi jnr is president and managing director of the business and executive director of huge tobacco firm Godfrey Phillips India.

 

But his legal issues continue. New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns won £90,000 libel damages from him three years ago when he accused Cairns of involvement in match-fixing.

 

Modi is now chasing Cairns to claw back £2.4million in damages and costs after the all-rounder was charged with perjury over the libel case. Cairns is due to stand trial in October.

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At best this will be an attempt to shift the toxic proxy and hope people vote with greenco and its new front.

 

I would assume that holding proxy over 26% does not mean that Easdale can actually "sell" as much as 26% on his own without consent of the other shareholders? Would not be surprised if the Easdales want to sell their own shareholding pre EGM and be done with this.

Edited by der Berliner
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I would assume that holding proxy over 26% does not mean that Easdale can actually "sell" as much as 26% on his own without consent of the other shareholders? Would not be surprised if the Easdales want to sell their own shareholding pre EGM and be done with this.

 

Not sure about that if it is true what we hear then every bid by the 3bears and King has failed because they will not accept Easdale on the board.

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Not sure about that if it is true what we hear then every bid by the 3bears and King has failed because they will not accept Easdale on the board.

 

Sure. But having proxy does not give him the right to sell more than his very own shareholding, does it? The non-acceptance of Easdale as a director (something he might expect if he holds proxy over a total of 26%) is another thing?

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I would assume that holding proxy over 26% does not mean that Easdale can actually "sell" as much as 26% on his own without consent of the other shareholders? Would not be surprised if the Easdales want to sell their own shareholding pre EGM and be done with this.

Correct. Surely he only holds the proxies and can't decide when to sell.

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