Greek shipowner Victor Restis has won his UK High Court claim for repayment of a loan made to a businesswoman in 2008.

Newcastle United Football Club co-owner Amanda Staveley will now have to repay a debt of nearly £3.5m ($4.4m).

Staveley, who controls 10% of the Premier League side with her husband, had contested Restis’ claim for the sum.

The total bill came to more than £36m after interest built up, but Restis’ lawyers had agreed to pursue only the principal sum, Reuters reported.

Judge Daniel Schaffer ruled on Monday that Staveley was personally liable.

He rejected her request for arbitration and her claim that the shipowner had placed any illegitimate pressure on her to sign documents.

The loan was part of a £10m financing package taken out by Staveley’s businesses.

Staveley’s lawyer said she had been misled by Restis and that the dispute should be determined by arbitration proceedings, Reuters reported.

Restis was also accused of threats of physical violence, which his lawyers said was ridiculous, as Staveley had since invited him to a Newcastle United match.

“There were clearly commercial pressures on Ms Staveley, but Mr Restis was perfectly entitled to press for payment,” Schaffer said in his ruling.

Bankruptcy petition

TradeWinds reported last month that Restis launched the legal claim in June 2023 to try to push London-based entrepreneur Staveley into bankruptcy and wind up her company, PCP Capital Partners, according to court filings.

Restis has until 22 April to present a bankruptcy petition against Staveley.

The money was received by Staveley when she was working with Middle Eastern investors to bail out the stricken lender Barclays Bank during the global financial crisis.

The purposes of the payment in September 2008 were disputed, with conflicting reports about whether it was a loan or an investment that was later converted to a loan.

Staveley was involved in the United Arab Emirates takeover of Manchester City and the Saudi-backed purchase of Newcastle United in 2021.

Restis’ Enterprises Shipping & Trading is the technical or commercial manager for 32 vessels, mainly bulk carriers and tankers, according to Equasis.

Download the TradeWinds News app
The News app offers you more control over your TradeWinds reading experience than any other platform.