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Newcastle co-owner Staveley in court to dismiss £36M bankruptcy petition

Zac Goodwin - PA Images / PA Images / Getty

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Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley has made a legal bid to nullify a bankruptcy petition alleging she owes a shipping tycoon more than £36 million ($45 million), the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Staveley, who played a key role in the Saudi-backed consortium that took over the Premier League club in 2021, asked the Insolvency and Companies Court to set aside a demand served by Greek businessman Victor Restis in May last year.

The specialist court heard it is "common ground" Restis agreed in 2008 to arrange a £10 million investment in Staveley's business ventures, but that there was "some ambiguity" about whether this was a loan or another form of investment.

In May 2016, the parties entered an agreement. But Staveley's lawyer, Ted Loveday, said she was told to sign various other documents and instruments between 2017 and 2021, which ultimately said she was personally liable.

Loveday, in written submissions, said Staveley "worried for the safety of herself and her family".

"Ms Staveley felt understandably intimidated and felt she had no option but to sign," he added.

But lawyers for Restis said there was "no evidence" of "undue influence or duress".

Raquel Agnello KC told the court: "There is a real lack of reality in relation to an assertion of duress as to the agreements."

Agnello added an agreement signed on January 7 2021 "supersedes all previous agreements" and that under it, Staveley is liable.

The hearing before Judge Daniel Schaffer is due to continue on March 19, where Agnello will continue her submissions and invite the court to dismiss Staveley's application to set aside the statutory demand.

Newcastle, who finished fourth in the Premier League last season, slipped to ninth in the table after a dismal 4-1 defeat at title-chasing Arsenal on Saturday.

On Tuesday the Magpies, who have not won a major trophy since 1969, reached the FA Cup quarter-finals by defeating second tier Blackburn on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park.

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