Sale of Marbella FC waiting for court hearing

Grinberg drinks water in the stand.
Grinberg drinks water in the stand. / J. R.
  • A hearing at the end of November will decide whether Alexander Grinberg can access his currently frozen shares

A Marbella court will decide on 27 November whether to unfreeze the 26 per cent of shares in Marbella Football Club owned by president Alexander Grinberg or maintain the current block. The decision is key to the future of the club. If the court releases the frozen assets, Grinberg can go ahead with the sale to sports management agency Best of You, agreed at the end of August.

Despite only actually owning a quarter of the shares, the Russian controls practically 98 per cent of the shareholders.

In five months Grinberg has signed two contracts for the sale of the club. In April he signed a letter of intent and a private contract with the Belgian-Dutch firm LDV Sports Management, whom he welcomed in an official statement. The deal was even authorised by the national sports council. However, Grinberg failed to show up to sign the deeds at the public notary.

After Grinberg held further meetings to try to sell his shares, first to local businessman Antonio De Cos and then to ex-footballer Vinny Samways representing US investors, LDV called for the court to freeze Grinberg's shares to prevent the sale.

The judge blocked his assets on 18 June, pending the hearing on 27 November.

Meanwhile at the end of August, Best Of You signed an agreement with the Russian businessman. The potential buyers have already paid the August wages and were expected to do the same with the September payroll this week.

However they cannot take over until Grinberg has access to his shares. If the judge keeps the assets frozen until a future court case over the ownership of the club, there is still the chance that both sides could sit down and settle out of court.

It is now just over a year since Grinberg was arrested and imprisoned after police searches at the Marbella Football Club offices and at his home as part of the Operation Oligarkh investigation into alleged Russian mafia organisations on the Costa del Sol. In February he was released on bail.