Sheffield United received a £3million loan from a member of the Bin Laden family, a court was told on Thursday.
Details emerged on day four of the High Court hearing into the bitter battle for ownership of the Blades about the source of a loan at the heart of a dispute between the co-owners of the South Yorkshire club recently promoted to the Premier League.
Long-standing chairman and lifelong Blades supporter Kevin McCabe sold 50 per cent of the club to Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in return for an investment of £10million in 2013.
Although the relationship started promisingly it quickly soured and collapsed entirely two years ago.
Central to the breakdown of trust was a £3m loan in February 2017, secured by Prince Abdullah from a potential investor called Dr Rakan Al Harthy through a company Charwell Investments Limited.
The loan was supposed to be interest free and due for repayment in April 2018.
However McCabe alleges that it was never intended to be repaid and was in fact an inducement to the Prince in his role as Saudi Minister for Youth and Sports.
Prince Abdullah insists it was to be been paid back through sponsorship.
According to the Sheffield Star, Andreas Gledhill QC, representing the Prince, told the court that McCabe ‘knew the money had come from another source, namely a member of the Bin Laden family’.
And of an email exchange in which Jeremy Tutton, a colleague of McCabe who served on the Sheffield United board of directors in 2017, wrote that he would hate to see the headline, ‘Blades launder money for extremists’.
McCabe, who has spent two days being cross-examined in court, dismissed this as ‘banter’.
Osama bin Laden, infamous leader of the terror group Al-Qaeda responsible for the attacks on the United States in 2011, came from a large and wealthy family which has close connections to the Saudi royals.
The family disowned Osama many years before his death at the hands of the US military in 2011 but the name has become synonymous with the atrocities of Islamic extremists.
The trial continues and is expected to last for several weeks.
McCabe wants to sell his stake in Sheffield United but does not want it to go to Prince Abdullah who is keen to take complete control.