Osama bin Laden relative mentioned in Sheffield United investor talks

A Saudi businessman related to Osama bin Laden featured in discussions about investors in Sheffield United, a court in London analysing a fight between the promoted Premier League club’s co-owners has heard.

Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, are embroiled in a battle for control of the Blades before Mr Justice Fancourt. Sheffield United Ltd, a company controlled by McCabe and his family, has alleged “conspiracy” and “unfairly prejudicial conduct” and wants damages. UTB LLC, a company controlled by Abdullah, wants declarations in respect of its rights under an investment and shareholders’ agreement.

In a written case outline, Andreas Gledhill QC, who is leading UTB’s team, told the judge regarding a discussion in 2017: “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 explained 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.”

Mr McCabe told the judge in a written witness statement how he recalled “one such investor” mentioned at a meeting being “Saleh bin Laden, a member of the Bin Laden family”.

The judge has heard that McCabe is “a wealthy Yorkshireman” and lifelong Sheffield United fan, and Abdullah is a grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.

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Mr McCabe was born in Sheffield, had long been associated with Sheffield United and had invested about £100m, the judge has heard.

He had met Abdullah in 2013 after looking for new investors. They had started working together after agreeing Abdullah would invest £10m.

The hearing is due to last several weeks.



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