Beelieve It Or Not

Seeing as how I have time for one more rant in 2016, I have chosen to raise more questions about our probable potential possible new ownership. After clearly reading my recent posts about the delays and also about their overall list of failures to date, Yonghong Li tried to explain a few things to allay our fears. Only it didn’t work. With every delay, his story changes. That’s not transparency, that’s just flat out lying. And with Milan’s recent history with potential mystery investors, I just don’t know if I can  Beelieve it or not.

It all starts with a handshake

So many words… where to begin? Let’s start with my favorite place: the lack of disclosure of who the investors actually are. First they said “We’re not telling.” Then they said it again. And again. And again. And when Fininvest asked for a complete list of names, they instead handed over another €100m to shut Fininvest up. But that was after they claimed that Berlusconi already knew the names, and was being kept up to date. So why did Berlusconi ask if he already knew?

Ahh, but now, after only seven and a half months, they have developed a new excuse: because of the government authorizations that are now suddenly necessary, they cannot disclose the names, as they are subject to government approval. If that’s really true, why didn’t he just say that on May 10th? Or June 25th? Or August 5th? Or September 10th? Or any of the other 200 days the deal didn’t close on this year since “exclusive negotiations” began? Or is it that the deal, originally planned to close within 45 days (with apparent knowledge of these “government authorizations”) hasn’t closed because the investors are still not actually firmed up? Just like a certain former suitor of the club?

Surely shaking hands with two guys is better than one

My favorite was when some random news source “leaked” the identities of all of the investors, and even normally careful journalistic sources went insane saying that the companies investing in the club were worth €3 trillion!! And yet none of those companies, nor Sino Europe, nor Fininvest, nor the Chinese investors have confirmed that any of them were involved whatsoever, let alone any news on their assets. One company claimed to be part of the group, but again, that has yet to be confirmed by anyone involved in the deal. So we still don’t know.

And this new “government authorization” story is rich. I’m not saying it’s not possible, only that the Suning group bought 70% Inter while the negotiations with Milan were ongoing (read: at the same time) with absolutely no problems gaining any kind of government authorizations whatsoever. I was told that it was because they used a Swiss company, suspiciously founded after the closing of the deal. But they are listed everywhere as the majority owner of the club. This after the original story was that Sino Europe Sports couldn’t get the money out of China, but then they did get €200m out without a hitch, so this new story came about instead.

I'm no expert, but that looks suspiciously like a Chinese company investing €270m in a foreign company

Yonghong Li claims that due to new regulations, they cannot own any part of the club until the authorizations are received, but why can the Chinese Suning Group then own 70% of Inter? And how is it that they just announced a new sponsorship deal with them, too? And if the Suning Group used some kind of loophole at the same time that Sino Europe Sports were negotiating, why didn’t Sino Europe Sports (even though they weren’t even called that then) do something similar? Then or in August? Or November? Or by December 13th? To meet the terms of the irrevocable contract? Someone suggested that Suning is a private company and that the potential investors in Milan are rumored to have close government ties, but Yonghong Li said that all Chinese companies are subject to these new regulations. Regulations that, like fairies, appeared after the deals with the English clubs, but somehow before the Milan deal, even though that happened at the same time as the Inter deal with Suning. Those aren’t fairies, people, they sound a lot more like lies.

Good news, though, Wednesday he proudly announced that next year they will invest €300m in a youth academy in China to train the young Chinese players. Because that is clearly what Milan need right now, and goes completely with the vision of the club and its history. And, of course, it’s not self-serving in any way… oh, wait. To be fair, they did offer the team a collective €1.5m bonus if they won the Supercoppa. If that doesn’t require the confidentiality and secrecy of this deal, and of course if it passes the government regulations that the deal is supposedly subject to, the players may see their money by say June 5th? Or maybe August 10th? Then that will get pushed back to November 20th, and then maybe the players can look to get their bonus from winning this Supercoppa by the time the next Supercoppa is played. Or maybe not at all.

I got €200m cash out of this deal so far, I have no problems with anything

So far, Fininvest is the only entity to profit from all of this, raising questions about Berlusconi possibly money laundering. Which I totally get, given his sordid history of all things criminal, including money laundering. But Yonghong Li was quick to dismiss those rumors. And well he should have. Berlusconi is a pro at both the lying and the money laundering. He would never be so naïve or sloppy.

But hey, if this new set of lies doesn’t pan out, at least, apparently now they have a “plan B.” Or is that “Plan Bee?” We all know where that “plan” ended up: promote one’s self and spin a web of lies as long as you can before getting lynched, then get out. Only Yonghong Li forgot the part about not giving away any cash. So he’s €200m into this deal, having already lost all other credibility and showing incompetency and a complete lack of knowledge or consideration of the club and football in general. Down two transfer windows and crippled by the need to get approval for every little move, maybe even using the men’s room, Milan are actually worse off now than when Yonghong Li and his imaginary friends filled Berlusconi’s head with euro signs. Will the deal ever happen? Will Sino Europe Sports even be capable of bringing Milan back to the top like they said they want to? Personally, I don’t Beelieve either fairy tale. But suit yourself: Beelieve it or not.

A very Happy New Year to all who read, and a hope that 2017 brings some closure to all of this.

This post inspired by the music of The Smiths’ “Miserable Lie”

Beelieve It Or Not Beelieve It Or Not Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
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