Australian football club walks away from takeover talks with controversial crypto firm

An Australian football club has walked away from takeover talks with a controversial British cryptocurrency firm. The owner of Perth Glory FC revealed that he had pulled out of the talks after his due diligence revealed that there was much more to the firm than met the eye.

The football club revealed in February that it had entered into an asset sale and purchase agreement with the London Football Exchange a fortnight ago. LFE was set to acquire 80% of the club for an undisclosed amount, subject to approval by the Football Federation of Australia. The owner of the club, Tony Sage, was set to join LFE as its chairman starting March, soon after the takeover deal was completed.

However, according to Australian outlet The New Daily, the deal has broken down after Sage flew to London to conduct due diligence on LFE. But this is just the beginning of a tale that involves fake identities and fraud.

The crypto company was established in 2016 with big ambitions of merging football and crypto. Two years later in 2018, it conducted an initial token offering. How much it raised is still anyone’s guess as the company never went public with the figures. Most estimates put the figure at around $70 million, although people close to the CEO Jim Aylward claim it might have been less than a million dollars.

LFE planned on buying out up to eight football clubs all around the world which would become part of its blockchain ecosystem. Every financial transaction for these clubs, from ticket sales to branded merchandise would be paid for in the native LFECash token. The plan seemed solid, except it wasn’t.

An investigation by Australian radio station 6PR revealed that Aylward was using a fake identity to escape a criminal past. In its report, 6PR claimed that his real name was James Abbass Biniaz. He had been convicted of attempting to defraud the British tax office in 2010 and had been sentenced to 22 months in prison. He had also spent time in jail in 2003 for robbery and fraud.

Aylward has also been sued by an oil trader from Turkmenistan for defrauding him of $2.2 million. The trader claims that he loaned out the money to LFE and was promised LFECash tokens in return. At the time, LFE told him the tokens were valued at $0.5.

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