We were wondering why Ken Bates suddenly had a pang of conscience and, late yesterday, plucked a better deal from out of the air for the creditors he'd previously stitched up with a one penny in the pound settlement of debts.
It could have been that his heart strings had been tugged by the thought of small businesses crippled which suddenly inspired him to find an offer of eight pence in the pound, plus an extension of the offer of an extra £5m to creditors should Leeds United return to the Premiership from five years to ten years. Bates also generously offered not to cash in his profits after six months by saying he wouldn't sell the club on before the end of the 2007-08 season at the earliest. All this was stated as being conditional on no one making a legal challenge.
The other possibility was that Bates' sources had given him advanced notice that HM Revenue & Customs had decided to go to court, so he was getting in his window dressing early, knowing he wouldn't have to cough up when the legal challenge did appear, whilst trying to cast the taxman into the position of bad guy.
At 3.00 p.m. this afternoon, an hour before the twenty-eight day deadline expired, HM Revenue and Customs lodged their appeal at the High Court. Now his hand has been called it will be interesting to see if Bates follows through his earlier assertion - a nice bit of attempted moral blackmail - that "the consequence will be liquidation and Leeds United will cease to exist" if anyone challenged his buying back of the club out of administration.
A spokesman for administrators KPMG, who have been under some pressure themselves for the way they claimed within hours of Bates putting the club into their hands that his was the only option to purchase they were prepared to consider (only for five other proposals to emerge later), stated they were now considering their options and were not in a position to comment.
We've not had time to study the Inland Revenue's notification yet.
The hearing will begin this coming Friday, 6th July.
As an aside, because of the legal challenge Leeds United remain in limbo. It means that the embargo on any transfer dealings which has been in place for the 28 day period after the CVA was announced will continue until the legal case is resolved.
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