Convicted fraudster to help Pompey

By Simon Griver and Danny Caro, December 23, 2009

Israeli lawyer Daniel Azougy, a convicted fraudster, is reportedly in charge of managing struggling Premier League club Portsmouth’s finances.

Azougy, who was brought in by owner Ali Al Faraj last week to try to reduce the club’s £60 million debt, was convicted on four counts of fraud and sentenced to five months in prison in 2001 by the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court.

In 2002 he was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court of obstructing the course of justice by showing false documents to judges.

That same year the Israel Bar Association banned him from practising as a lawyer for 14 years.

In March 2009 he was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court of presenting false documents to the Israel Securities Association regarding the sale of his stake in a public company in 1999.

Azougy, will work alongside Portsmouth executive director Mark Jacob as an asset-stripper to help the club pay off mounting debts.

This includes an estimated £33 million owed to Devondale Investments, owned by the former Portsmouth chairman Alexandre Gaydamak. Gaydamak's father, Arkadi, is currently in exile in Russia after being sentenced in absentia to six years in prison by a French court for arms smuggling.

There have also been reports that Azougy is recruiting Israeli businessmen Roni Mana and Yoram Yosepov as investors in the club.

However, Mana has denied these claims, although he does admit that he and Yosepov are acting as business advisors to Al-Faraj and claims he persuaded the Saudi to appoint Avram Grant, as the club’s manager at the end of November.

A club spokesperson said: ‘’Daniel Azougy was brought in by the new chairman to help deal with the club’s finances.

“We can confirm he is working for the owners on finance matters, but he hasn’t got an official title.”

On the field, Grant continues to make Portsmouth competitive. Last Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Liverpool means the South Coast club are just three points away from Hull City in 17th place.

Last updated: 1:06pm, December 24 2009