Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley accuses ex-Toon recruitment director Tony Jimenez of fraud


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NEWCASTLE owner Mike Ashley has accused his former recruitment director of fraud.

The Toon supremo is demanding £3.79million after launching a High Court claim against Tony Jimenez.

PA:Press Association

Mike Ashley has launched a case against ex-Toon vice-president Tony Jiminez

Kevin keegan was the Newcastle manager at the time of the claims made by club owner Mike Ashley against Tony Jimenez

PA:Empics Sport

Newcaslte legend Kevin Keegan was the Toon manager at the time of the claims made by club owner Mike Ashley against Tony Jimenez

In explosive documents seen by SunSport, which Jimenez “vigorously” denies, Ashley says he handed £3m to him for a golf investment.


Ashley feared Jimenez had failed to invest the money and instead diverted it for personal use.

But Newcastle’s former vice-president (player recruitment) insisted the cash was earmarked to help find a buyer for the club.

Ashley wants his £3m back, plus interest of £793,000. But Jimenez said: “His claim is without foundation and the allegations untrue.”

Newcastle has been rocked by the case on the even of their return to the Prem

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Newcastle have been rocked by the case – dating back to events a decade ago – on the eve of their return to the Premier League

Club owner Mike Ashley is in a legal dispute with a former senior figure at Newcastle

PA:Press Association

Club owner Mike Ashley is in a legal dispute with a former senior figure at the Toon

Family at Wor

MIKE ASHLEY treated Tony Jimenez like a member of his family.

Newcastle’s owner trusted him and listened to him.

Charismatic Londoner Jimenez always had someone waiting on the other end of the phone.

Footballers, fixers, property moguls . . . this super-smooth,  silver-tongued charmer appeared to have access to the lot.

Jimenez, a former Chelsea  season-ticket holder, seemed like the perfect playmate for Ashley.

When Jimenez was made vice-president of player recruitment at Newcastle, Ashley believed he was the perfect man for the job.

Now they are at war, squabbling in the High Court about a £3million payment Ashley claims to have made in return for a 5.76 per cent stake in a golf course development in Les Bordes, France.

Newcastle will hope manager Rafa Benitez and hsi squad are not affected by the off-field court case

Rex Features

Newcastle will hope manager Rafa Benitez and his newly-promoted squad are not affected by the off-field court case

The 15-page claim  lodged at the High Court — and denied by Jimenez, who says it is “without foundation and malicious fiction” — is damning.

It   accuses Jimenez, who went on to buy Charlton in 2011, of a string of lies and misrepresentations aimed at extracting the cash from the  billionaire Sports Direct owner.

Now Ashley wants his money back, plus £793,000 interest accruing at £233.61 a day. He will not stop until he is paid. He has made that very clear.

In the explosive documents, Ashley relies on a previous High Court case involving  former Newcastle executive director of football Dennis Wise.

Mike Ashley was introduced to Tony Jimenez by ex-Tottenham director Paul Kemsley

PA:Empics Sport

Mike Ashley was introduced to Tony Jimenez by ex-Spurs director Paul Kemsley

Jimenez, who was godfather to one of Wise’s sons, was ordered to pay the ex-Chelsea midfielder  back after he failed to put £500,000 of his cash into the golf project.

High Court judge Penelope Reed QC said: “His explanation at times was impossible to follow. I have treated the evidence of Mr Jimenez with extreme caution.”

Wise got his money. Now Ashley wants his.

Ashley accuses Jimenez of “fraudulent misrepresentation” and goes on to claim that he “deliberately concealed his fraud”  when his solicitor repeatedly asked for updates on the Les Bordes project.

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Jimenez later argued  Ashley had instructed him to use the £3m to find a buyer for the club.  Ashley insists this is untrue.  It is a remarkable twist, an ugly end to a relationship.

Ashley was introduced to  Jimenez by former Tottenham director Paul Kemsley.

Jimenez had helped bring Sevilla’s Juande Ramos to Spurs, with their cloak-and-dagger  pursuit   appealing to Ashley.

Jimenez, who speaks Spanish, acted as translator during the negotiations. He was still dining out on that story when Ashley invited him into Newcastle’s inner circle. Suddenly, he was Mr Big around Toon.

Jimenez got to work, bringing in Jonas Gutierrez,  Fabricio  Coloccini, Xisco and Ignacio Gonzalez  in  2008.

Jimenez, undoubtedly, could get things done.

Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle to the Prem title last season but has now seen the club embroiled in a High Court case

PA:Press Association

Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle to the Championship title last season but has now seen the club embroiled in a High Court case

They ran into problems when Newcastle realised they had bought a series of duds, players well short of the quality needed to take the club back to the top.

Kevin Keegan, exasperated by the haphazard structure of the club behind the scenes, left as boss in September after one win in the Premier League.

A month later, Jimenez left “to pursue other interests”. By then, Ashley had already forked out £3m to Jimenez, transferring his investment into the Les Bordes project on May 13, 2008.

In the months that followed, Ashley  claims he was fobbed off   by Jimenez’s lawyers when he made a series of enquiries.

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Ashley’s claim  states: “Given the trust and friendship that then subsisted between Mr Ashley and Mr Jimenez, Mr Ashley was content to accept what was being said on behalf of Mr Jimenez and took matters no further.”

It is a very different story now.

Ashley says he has  confirmation from Les Bordes owners that the £3m investment into the project was never made.  Instead, he   believes  Jimenez used the cash to fund his own lavish lifestyle and covered his tracks in a tangled web of complicated property deals.

Mike Ashley is invlved ina detailed court case just when Newcastle might want to focus on football

Mike Ashley is involved in a court case just when Newcastle want to focus on football

However, Jimenez countered by insisting that while a property investment was discussed, the investment funds were never provided and that the payment actually relates to management of property investments and Ashley’s failed attempt to sell Newcastle in 2008.

It is all coming out now, with Ashley serving a writ on a man he once considered to be one of his best friends.

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