A relative of late al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, featured in discussions about potential investors in Sheffield United football club.
The revelation emerged during a High Court battle between the newly-promoted Premier League club’s co-owners, Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz al Saud – a member of the Saudi royal family.
Lawyers told Mr Justice Fancourt that during a meeting in Dubai in 2017, Saleh Mohammed bin Laden was mentioned.
Barrister Andreas Gledhill QC, representing a company controlled by Prince Abdullah, related some of the prince’s evidence to the judge.
Mr Gledhill said: “Prince Abdullah states in his evidence that at the Dubai meeting, ‘the possibility of new investment in the football club and the associated real estate from Saudi-based investors was discussed’.
“‘One of the investors mentioned at that meeting was Mr Saleh Mohammed bin Laden, a Saudi businessman and part of the bin Laden family’.”
He added that one of Mr McCabe’s sons, Simon, had reacted by saying: “It did cause me to sit up straight for a moment… my only thought was that we would not want to go into a partnership or an investment vehicle with ‘the’ bin Laden family.”
In a written witness statement, Mr McCabe told the judge he recalled “one such investor” mentioned at a meeting being “Saleh bin Laden, a member of the bin Laden family”.
Mr McCabe and Prince Abdullah are engaged in a battle for control after falling out following a six-year alliance.
Sheffield United Ltd, a company controlled by Mr McCabe and his family, is alleging “conspiracy” and “unfairly prejudicial conduct”, and is asking for damages.
UTB LLC, controlled by Prince Abdullah, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders’ agreement.