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Forum Home > Club ownership issues > Balram Chainrai pledges to prevent liquidation of Portsmouth Football Club

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Chainrai in UK for survival talks

Story from the News Friday 10 February 2012

HONG Kong businessman Balram Chainrai, the former Pompey owner, is now in the UK sorting out the club’s future.

He revealed at the weekend he would be flying in to personally take part in talks about the survival of Portsmouth FC.

Yesterday the administrator of Pompey’s parent company Convers Sports Initiatives, Andrew Andonikou from accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, said that the businessman has returned to the UK.

Mr Chainrai owned Pompey with Israeli Levi Kushnir through their Portpin company after they took over from Ali al-Faraj at the start of 2010.

He again took ownership after the club exited administration in October 2010.

He sold it to CSI, who owed him £17m, and when they defaulted on a payment he placed a charge on Fratton Park so he would be given priority over other creditors when trying to get his money back.

Mr Chainrai told the South China Morning Post he and Mr Kushnir had covered the unpaid January salaries, but the club later confirmed these still remain unpaid.

He told the publication: ‘I still have a debenture over the club as security on the club’s full assets, so one way or another I’m going to get my money back.

‘But I don’t want to see the club liquidated. Anything I can do to help Portsmouth I will.’

Mr Andronikou confirmed Mr Chainrai is in the UK but said: ‘I don’t know why he’s here and will ask him when he turns up in London.’

February 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Report from BBC sport

February 22, 2012

Balram Chainrai could lose his £17m stake in Portsmouth

A leading insolvency expert believes Balram Chainrai may never get back the £17m that he is owed by Portsmouth FC.

The Hong-Kong businessman's hold over the club has proved to be a major obstacle for potential new owners.

That security could be devalued by the courts if administrator Trevor Birch asks for a ruling on it's true worth.

"The administrator can force a sale against Mr Chainrai's wishes if he can prove to the court what the assets are worth," Carl Foulds told BBC South.

  “It's all very well a secured creditor being owed £17m but how much are the assets that he has security on actually worth?” Carl Foulds

In October 2010, Chainrai became a self-confessed reluctant owner of Pompey - he had loaned the club around £17m the year before - and taken Fratton Park as security.

Protecting that investment was his priority, but South Today asked him at the time if he was the right owner.

"Me, the right owner? No. But I know the right owner is out there and we're going to find him," said Chainrai.

He did eventually find new owners - Convers Sports Initiatives - who agreed a deal to buy the club in the summer of 2011. Their main financial backer was Russian Vladimir Antonov.

But in November 2011 Antonov's bank was placed into administration in Lithuania. He was accused of asset-stripping, arrested and remains on bail pending extradition hearings.

Then, CSI - Antonov's company and Pompey's ultimate owner - was placed into administration.

Portsmouth were subsequently penalised 10 points after entering administration for the second time in three seasons.

But it also emerged that, although CSI had bought the club from Chainrai, the Hong Kong businessman still had security on the ground, and was still owed £17m through his company - Portpin - which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Anybody wanting to buy the club would have to address Chainrai's debt and deal with another former owner Alexandre Gaydamak - who owns the land around the ground.

"It's all very well a secured creditor being owed £17m but how much are the assets that he has security on actually worth?," added Foulds.

"And in this case I would say significantly less than the £17m so he'll only get what the assets, subject to his security, are actually worth in the open market."

Meanwhile, Pompey supporters will meet with administrator Birch on Wednesday to discuss further developments surrounding the future of the financially stricken club.


February 22, 2012 at 5:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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so he'll only get what the assets, subject to his security, are actually worth in the open market."

So what is the value of the assets? i.e. Fratton Park..

Anyone care to give a value?


February 22, 2012 at 6:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Saturday March 3, 2012 10:50 PM - 11:00 PM

Former Portsmouth owner Balu Chainrai has told Sky Sports News HD that he would be prepared to take control of the club again - if it prevents liquidation.

The Hong Kong based businessman is in London and hopes to hold talks with Trevor Birch from PKF who are Portsmouth's administrator.

Quote of the week

"I will definitely make efforts to become a reluctant owner, again, until a proper owner can be found."

Chainrai told Sky Sports News HD. "I will do my best not to allow him (Birch) to liquidate the club."

Chainrai sold Portsmouth to Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) last year but they went into administration.

He says he will consider injecting new funds into the club if it saves Portsmouth from closing down.

"I have to sit down and see if the administrator is going to contact me and tell me how much money is required for me to make my calculations to see whether I would be prepared to put in what is required," he admitted

Birch, in response to Chainrai's comments, said that he would be "more than happy" to meet Chainrai and he was "working day and night" to save Portsmouth.

Chainrai was speaking to Sky Sports News HD as part of a wide-ranging interview that will be broadcast on Sunday



March 3, 2012 at 9:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Richard said

No thanks. Many fans would rather see Pompey liquidated and start again than spend the next few years putting money into the pockets of Chainrai or any of the other shady owners we have suffered under in the past few years.No evidence has ever been produced to show fans how his alleged £17m was ever spent by the club. The deal that allowed him to hold a charge over the club was highly unorthodox in that one lawyer acted for both sides in the agreement anyway. There will be a season ticket boycott if Chainrai comes back.

March 3, 2012 at 9:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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graham says like or not if he saves our club so be it



March 3, 2012 at 9:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Article from Vital Pompey...

Balram Chainrai the saviour?

The same man that has had a hand in us going into administration not once, but twice in a few years!

 Also the same man that offered the club a £500,000 'sweetener' to keep Admin Andy as the administrator - you have to question why he would have wanted that...

 I am not looking to 'blame anyone' anymore or any less for our predicament now, we are were we are but what I DO NOT WANT is for Portsmouth Football Club to be put in a position where we limp on for a period of time before constantly finding ourselves back in the same position again as we are now!

 He has told sky sports that he is 'willing to become a reluctant owner' again and will 'inject fresh funds' to make sure we are not liquidated.

 Inject funds, I suspect a minimal as possible whilst as much as possible is taken out, and whatever it put in is then built up a further debt to the club as it is only 'loaned' to it!

 Plenty of talks of Express FM after the game today was of Chainrai 'possibly' coming back in again.

 Mark Mudie and Ray Crawford were both in support of this as they saw it as a way for us to regroup and rebuild...


 Do they, and others, really think that this would benefit Pompey in any other way but to mean that the club lives on in name alone?!

 The only to benefit in him returning, for me, is to him really. By living on he would just take out as much as he could, from parachute payments and player sales, until the money stopped coming, and then what?

 We are left to rot...

 I do not want anymore 'limping along' with the likelihood of 'lurching from one crisis to another' with nothing but a shell of a club left, merely being PFC in name alone.

 To make it abundantly clear I DO NOT WANT, and never have wanted, us to go bust but do we really have a genuine, and honest, way out this time?

 Is Chainrai the answer?

 I say thanks but no thanks as I cannot see that he is!

 I love this club, I always have and always will, but I cannot take seeing us limp on much longer - much like a loved one you do not want, nor can you stand, to see pain inflicted, or them in pain, time and time again...


Read more:



March 3, 2012 at 11:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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From the BBC

March 5, 2012

Portsmouth administrator confirms Balram Chainrai meeting

Portsmouth administrator Trevor Birch has said he has met with the club's major creditor Balram Chainrai as he continues to search for a new owner.

Birch confirmed a meeting with Chainrai - who is still owed £17m by the stricken club - over the weekend.

"I have had initial discussions with Chainrai. It is my duty to explore all possible avenues to try to save the club as a going concern," said Birch. 

In an interview on Sunday, Chainrai said he will not let the club go under.

The Hong Kong businessman said he will write off some of the £17m he is owed by Pompey if he can find someone else to take charge.

"I am taking over as caretaker, because if I don't the club will be liquidated," he said.

"I'd prefer someone else to come in to keep it going because I am quite upset to see it in the state it is in now."

Meanwhile, local musician Brian Howe, who made his name in 1970s rock band Bad Company, says he is hoping to form a consortium to save the club.

 "We don't give up in this city. I may fail but I am working diligently because I don't want this club to die, I really don't” Brian Howe

Howe failed in an attempt to buy Portsmouth in 1999, and says he is doing everything he can to find other investors to buy the club.

"I do believe there is a way of making this work and I am looking for it," he told BBC Radio Solent. 

"I am looking for people to help. If there is anyone out there who wants to chip in and contribute and form part of a team to do this then move quickly please and get in touch with me.

"This can be done but it needs to be done quickly."

Howe revealed there were people showing interest in investing in the club and admitted the situation at Fratton Park is becoming increasingly desperate.

"There are people waiting in the wings and I am waiting on two phone calls from America, so my fingers are crossed," he added.

"I am at the mercy of other people's decision making. I don't have enough money to do it on my own, if I did then I would.

"I hate to liken it to a game of poker but I think there are people playing poker and I wish they wouldn't. For me and for thousands of other people this is what we wake up for.

"I am as desperate as any other fan to try and bring this to fruition. I am not giving up, it belongs to me and 18,000 other people.

"We don't give up in this city. I may fail but I am working diligently because I don't want this club to die, I really don't.

"In my mind it is inconceivable that this club could disappear. I think if the council don't get involved they will regret it. It will be devastating to not have a club in the city."



March 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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April 26, 2012 report from the News

REPRESENTATIVES of former Pompey Balram Chainrai have again said the businessman will not see the football club liquidated. Chainrai would stand to lose the £17m he is owed as a secured creditor from his previous spell as Blues owner if the worst were to happen.

But his team have told fellow creditors at a meeting at Fratton Park the Hong Kong based businessman will not allow Pompey to be liquidated.

Administrator Trevor Birch said that liquidation would see the ground become asset of liquidators and they will sell it as they see fit. In March Chainrai told Sky Sports: ‘I will definitely make efforts to become a reluctant owner, again, until a proper owner can be found.

‘I will do my best not to allow him (Birch) to liquidate the club.’



April 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Comment by uppompey Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 03:39 PM

I wish TB would give us some assurance about this 17m + interest allegedly owed to Chanrai. My understanding was that Chanrai lent this sum to Al Mirage (whom I think was in fact Chanrai's alter ego as no-one has been able to prove his existence) to buy the club . Then he took control again from Al Mirage,( i.e. I would say himself ), put the club into administration to dispense with 80% of the debt with real creditors and claimed he is owed the 17million, which I don't think the club ever saw. This could be cynical speculation on my part, but Mr Birch needs to reassure us that this is not what happened. I maintain that this 17million is a fictitious debt cleverly engineered by Chanrai's money men!


April 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Comment by MattyPUPPTIDc MattyC Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 03:40 PM

BC Sued Ag for 17m. He won. Ag never paid BC. PFC got into trouble and AF (did not exist) became owner. Falconfrome was lent 17m by Portapin. The money was lent yes but never went through the PFC books. Business to business loan. Who is Falcondrome? Al Faraj? No BC but as it is BVI company we can not use the internet to see that is the case. BC came to PFC to get his money from AG. He succeded by way of getting us for nothing. YK was sold. The 4m is not in the club. The accounts are free to see and it is not there. BC said he would make certain payments. He had 18 months and did not. Plenty of time. He could have made them last week if he wanted. But he did not. ST porices rocketed under BC and players were sold. Bills were NOT PAID under BC and our reputation suffered................... this is just the tip of the iceberg as to why I dislike BC. He saved himself not us, we were just a by product of his little game............................. but BC or liquidation??????? Well if BC gives time for a real owner to come in and runs the club like a business and does not just put up prices and sell players then maybe, but with the TRUST then there can be trust. On his own he will carry on what he started. Killing us slowly...................... PUP PT??


April 26, 2012 at 1:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Comment by  Belbin Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM

Most people seem to focus on WHY BC would stop the club being liquidated. Shouldn't the question be HOW? That is, how would he stop it from being liquidated without losing more money? Has he found a miraculous way of making the club profitable? The para payments are 14m and his debt is (reportedly) 18.5m. That makes it a loss of 4.5m before he even starts. Or am I mis understanding this completely?


April 26, 2012 at 1:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Comment by lew11

.please forget this man,who was the catalyst for putting us into admin twice-stealing our beloved he put 14 million into the club in some capacity-but the only evidence thus far is that near 7 mill has been taken out with no monies put in.PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS THE MAN WHO TRIED TO BRIBE THE JUDGE AT THE LAST ADMIN COURT CASE-BY PLEDGING HALF A MILL-IF ANDRONIKOU WAS ALLOWED TO STAY IN CHARGE,WELL WELL WELL,NOW WHY DID HE DO THAT???


April 26, 2012 at 1:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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By Neil Allen

Published on Wednesday 22 August 2012 16:07

Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir have long been figures who have divided Pompey fans.

Yet their standing in the eyes of the majority of the Fratton faithful plummeted during an eventful past week.

Such has been the extent of the fans’ backlash, during the first game of the season at Plymouth supporters chanted songs against both Chainrai and his company Portpin for the first-time ever during a match.

Barely 12 hours later, Portpin released a statement announcing it would be pulling out of taking Pompey out of administration.

Personally, I have never had the privilege of meeting either Chainrai or Kushnir.

Therefore, like the Pompey fans, I can only judge them by their actions in dealing with the football club and their words issued through other media outlets.

My misgivings about Portpin have been voiced enough over the past three years via The News, Express FM, Twitter, talkSPORT and 5Live.

Of course, Portpin have not left the building, they still require negotiating with to release their charge on Fratton Park.

Still, let me take you on a trip down memory lane, accompanied with hindsight, to give you the opportunity to dissect Portpin and their tenure at Portsmouth Football Club, using their own words...

‘Portpin Ltd regrets to announce that it is withdrawing its bid for Portsmouth Football Club.

‘Unfortunately, our efforts to save the club once more from extinction have hit a wall of rejection and lacking co-operation from the administrator and other interested parties.

‘We are not the ones who have caused the club to collapse and we are not the ones to choose PKF as administrators.’

‘All of these facts have left us in a position that we no longer want to fight this battle we have zero support to save the club therefore we formally withdraw our bid and our honest attempt at saving the club.

‘We will sleep well knowing we did our utmost to save the club.’

Portpin, August 15, 2012, Press release

‘We are waiting for them (the administrators) to confirm this discount, so we can use all proceeds from the parachute payment to rebuild the club.

‘Monies will be used to rebuild this club from the bottom and, with the help of the manager and employees, I hope we get support from fans after saving this club, once again, from its grave.’

Balram Chainrai, August 12, 2012, Sky Sports

‘I am supportive of the Trust taking over the club if they can provide the necessary requirements of the administrator.

‘I would prefer the Trust to take over. If the players leave, take over the CVA from me.’

Balram Chainrai, August 2, 2012, The News

‘I always said I would not let the club be liquidated. I’m a businessman but I realise that the club will only have value if it is successful.

‘I now want to turn things around at Portsmouth Football Club and see the club regain its rightful position.

‘The success of this goal can only be achieved if all parties with a vested interest in the club’s business work together.’

Balram Chainrai, May 18, 2012, The Guardian

‘This is a free country. They (the fans) are allowed to feel and they are allowed to express. I respect them for that.

‘But I am not there to destroy anything or hurt anybody.’

‘I stepped in and lent money to the football club when no bank would lend them £1. So why am I the victim here? Why am I the culprit? Why am I being blamed? What have I done wrong?

‘I am an accidental owner. I am a businessman with emotions, that’s the problem.’

Balram Chainrai, March 4, 2012, Sky Sports

‘I am not the villain of the piece here. I am certainly not the one holding Portsmouth to ransom, anything but.

‘Yes, I took security on my loan. But I’m a businessman and, taking into account the money involved, it stood to reason why I would do that.

‘But I have not been obstructive and I have been prepared to wait for money, defer it and even discount it if the right buyer could be found.’

Balram Chainrai, March 3, 2012, The Sun

‘I still have a debenture over the club as security on the club’s full assets, so one way or another I’m going to get my money back.

‘But I don’t want to see the club liquidated. Anything I can do to help Portsmouth I will.’

Balram Chainrai, February 10, 2012, South China Morning Post

‘My intentions are to find a new buyer to stabilise it and inject new funds into it and take it back to its glory days.

‘We would not sell the club just to anybody.

‘I can understand the nervousness of the fans. I feel for them.

‘They haven’t been very happy with me so we would make sure any new owners are fit and proper.

‘I think supporters will be happy with a new group because they would come in with money to invest in the club.

‘Maybe I am slowly, slowly falling in love with the club. Who knows? I might be in love already. I’m not going to let just anybody buy the club.

‘I would like to be remembered as someone who put Portsmouth on the right path.’

Balram Chainrai (speaking months before selling to CSI), February 21, 2011, Sky Sports

‘There is a small group of fans – approximately a dozen – who are on their own planet and not the fans of the city of Portsmouth.

‘We were invited two weeks ago to a black-tie dinner at the halls of the Lady Mayor of Portsmouth in our honour, attended by the dignitaries and VIPs of Portsmouth.

‘We have all the people’s support in Portsmouth.’

Balram Chainrai, February 5, 2011, South China Morning Post

‘We have pulled the club from the intensive care unit. We have disconnected some of the tubes.

‘Now we are sharing the rehabilitation.’

‘We are creating an emotional attachment and I am excited by that.’

‘We could have walked away. We wanted out. We wanted our money back.

‘But we saw there was no other way but to step in and save the club.

‘To get out we had to get in, clean it up and build a new team.’

Levi Kushnir, August 16, 2010, The News

‘I feel sorry for Mr (Steve) Cotterill.

‘We should thank him. If I was him I would have run away.

‘I have pain when I see his face.’

Balram Chainrai, August 16, 2010, The News

‘I don’t want to sever my ties. Portsmouth has grown on me as well as the people of Portsmouth.

‘I definitely want to get back to the Premier League – and if I go in it will be with money to invest in the club.

‘I am not going to stay in the Championship.

‘The club can move forward – it could be with me for the future or it could just be the short-term.

‘The administrator has said that I’m the best person for the job.’

Balram Chainrai, August 6, 2010, Daily Mirror



August 22, 2012 at 7:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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