Terry Serepisos remains confident of receiving a US$100 million loan – and a separate sponsorship deal for Wellington Phoenix – from Western Gulf Advisory despite some of the company's bank accounts being frozen.
The Bahraini bank accounts of WGA, owned by Indian-born Ahsan Ali Syed, were frozen last week after allegations that he scammed an estimated A$100m from Australian investors who have described him as the Bernie Madoff of India.
The alleged scam is simple. Through WGA, which has offices in Bahrain and Switzerland, Mr Ali offers to lend troubled businesses up to US$200m from his personal fortune, which he claims to be US$8 billion. He then charges establishment fees for loans that never eventuate.
"There can be no doubt that WGA is a fraud," said Andy Bryce, a solicitor from Melbourne law firm Evans Ellis.
Mr Bryce is acting for up to a dozen WGA victims, involved in a wide range of industries, who have been defrauded of A$30m by WGA.
"We are looking at our legal remedies both here and internationally," Mr Bryce said.
Oh dear; Terry Serepisos might be optimistic about his fiscal salvation, but it seems as though he has little cause for such optimism. There was in fact a lot of scepticism when Serepisos announced that he was in negotiations with WGA a few months ago, and sadly, it seems that this scepticism was well founded.
Where does this leave the Wellington Phoenix? Ricki Herbert is probably wondering the same thing. He still doesn't have a full roster of players, and it's doubtful that he has a budget at present for new signings. Practices have started for the new season, but it can't be an atmosphere likely to produce a bouyant and confident team. There must come a point where intervention is required from New Zealand Soccer to ensure the Phoenix's immediate future.
Terry Serepisos is probably worried about his immediate future as well, despite the bullish response above. He may believe that the cheque is in the mail, but we wonder how long that will satisfy his creditors.