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Zahavi hits back at Quest

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Mihir Bose | 19:23 UK time, Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Pini Zahavi, the Israeli who is often described as a 'super agent', has demanded a "prompt and unambiguous statement", which "would include an apology", from the Premier League and Quest, the private investigating firm used by the League to examine transfers.

Zahavi is angry at his handling in last week's Quest report, which alleged that he had not cooperated fully with the inquiry.

The agent's Tel Aviv lawyers sent the letter to the Premier League this afternoon and in their two-page letter, which I have seen, they set out why Zahavi feels so angry and aggrieved.

He says the Quest statement of non-cooperation is "false, misleading, groundless and legally invalid". The lawyers hold Quest responsible for "any damages resulting from the groundless and reckless publication", and are seeking to repair what Zahavi sees as international damage to his reputation.

Zahavi says that, far from not cooperating, he was willing to provide "relevant bank statements connected to all transactions and transfers that were under the scope of the inquiry".

Zahavi asked Quest for specific dates and transactions on which they wanted information. But the investigators wanted to see all of Zahavi's bank accounts and those of his companies, some of which have nothing to do with football. This he was not prepared to give.

Zahavi's contention is that Quest's decision to highlight his alleged failure to cooperate represents a diversionary tactic as the Premier League investigators failed in their primary objective. The remit of the inquiry was to find irregular payments to club officials or players.

Quest found no evidence of this and Zahavi's lawyers say: "It has become clear that the aim of the Quest has been diverted in order to find something against someone when actually there is, by Quest's wording, nothing to find."

Zahavi highlights that during the scope of the inquiry he was involved in 12 transactions. However five of these were not cleared.

"If the real reason for the five transactions to remain uncleared was due to our client's alleged refusal to provide a general overview of his bank accounts, there were no grounds to clear the other seven transactions," argue his lawyers.

Zahavi has also accused an unnamed Quest employee of leaking the responses he gave to the press.

The Premier League confirmed to me this afternoon that they had received the letter but would not comment on it.
Their lawyers will respond, but if this proves unsatisfactory to Zahavi, he may sue, possibly in Israel.

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