Liverpool former co-owner Tom Hicks cannot sue in US

Tom Hicks (r) and George Gillett Tom Hicks (r) and George Gillett wanted to sell the club for much more than £300m

One of Liverpool's former owners, Tom Hicks, has been blocked from suing in the US over the sale of the club.

The deal went ahead last year after judge Mr Justice Floyd granted orders preventing Mr Hicks taking court action in the US to halt the £300m deal.

At the High Court the same judge ordered that Mr Hicks can take action only in the UK.

Mr Hicks and former co-owner George Gillett want about $1bn (£620m) in damages from RBS and former directors.

'Defend vigorously'

The pair believe they are due compensation following the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) last October, and that the club was worth a lot more than £300m.

At the time, they described the sale as "an epic swindle".

Start Quote

[Sir Martin Broughton, RBS and NESV] will continue to take all steps necessary to defend vigorously any litigation threatened or commenced by the club's former owners”

End Quote Liverpool FC statement

Preventing Mr Hicks launching legal action in the US without prior approval from an English court, Mr Justice Floyd said: "I still find it difficult to imagine what possible real connection such a claim would have with any jurisdiction in the United States.

"The disputes concern an English asset, duties owed by English directors under English law to English companies and corporate governance arrangements governed by English law.

"I think the time has come when they need to state their case or accept that they do not have one."

Mr Justice Floyd also dismissed an application to strike out or stay claims by Sir Martin Broughton, the former chairman of the club, who is seeking damages against Mr Hicks for his actions while owner.

And an application by NESV, now renamed Fenway Sports Group, to be allowed to join the Broughton action was granted by the judge.

"We are delighted that Mr Justice Floyd has granted the applications requested by [former chairman] Sir Martin Broughton, RBS and NESV and that the anti-suit injunction prohibiting the former owners from commencing legal actions against these parties outside the EU has been upheld and clarified," said a statement from Liverpool FC.

"Sir Martin, RBS and NESV continue to maintain that there is no basis to challenge the propriety or validity of any actions by them or any of those involved on their behalf in the sale of the club.

"They will continue to take all steps necessary to defend vigorously any litigation threatened or commenced by the club's former owners."

Financial crisis

RBS had provided Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett with a large loan facility which they used to help buy the club.

The two US businessmen bought Liverpool in 2007 for £220m, shortly before the club reached the Champions League final for the second time in three years.

After initial investment in the squad, supporters quickly became disillusioned at what they saw as broken promises - namely to start work on a new stadium and not to load debt onto the club.

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, it became clear the owners did not have the financial muscle to compete with other Premier League teams' lavish spending.

After initially looking for fresh investment, they reluctantly agreed to sell the club last year, but were looking to make a handsome profit.

Fellow board members took the view that the price they wanted - reportedly around £800m - was wholly unrealistic, and forced through the sale to NESV.

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