Local Soccer: Snags arise in Aguiar's potential purchase of Betar

Brazilian-born businessman says legal and financial teams have discovered a number of lawsuits pending against Jerusalem's soccer team.

Aguiar 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy of Yossi Zeliger )
Aguiar 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy of Yossi Zeliger )
Brazilian-born businessman Guma Aguiar said Wednesday that his legal and financial team have discovered a number of law suits pending against Betar Jerusalem which could scupper his plans to buy the Israeli Premier League club. The 31-year-old was at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Wednesday evening to see Jerusalem defeat Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan in the semifinals of the State Cup. But although he stressed that he is "serious in intent and would be proud to be associated with this legendary team," Aguiar said his due diligence team is continuing "painstakingly exploring the ramifications of acquiring this team." "Preliminary findings indicate that a number of lawsuits which are currently pending against the team's owners and management, were not known to me when this process began," he added. "We'll be looking in to this further and we will have more comments in the next few days - hopefully." Last week Aguiar told The Jerusalem Post that he expected to finalize a deal to take control of Betar from Arkadi Gaydamak unless he finds unexpected "skeletons in the closet." The statement released minutes after Betar's game finished on Wednesday added that other legal issues have been found. "In addition, two serious liens on a significant part of the team's shares exist, and we do not believe any arrangement will be possible without the express cooperation of the parties which are currently holding those liens," he said. "The due diligence process will continue in the coming days, perhaps longer, until it is thoroughly and comprehensively completed and I'll be able to consider all conclusions and recommendations." The Jewish energy magnate, who lives for the majority of the year in Jerusalem's Yemin Moshe neighborhood, has given millions of dollars in philanthropic donations to organizations including Nefesh B'Nefesh and March of the Living in the past few months. However, on Wednesday he made it clear that any potential purchase of Betar would be "100% a business opportunity." "As I said, my intentions are serious, but I must emphasize that this is neither a personal whim nor a philanthropic undertaking," he concluded.