Serie A: Former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong blacklisted in China after failing to pay back debts

Li Yonghong was one of dozens of wealthy Chinese investing in or simply buying up some of the sport's biggest clubs after President Xi Jinping declared he wanted to turn China into a football superpower.

Agence France-Presse October 18, 2018 14:25:28 IST
Serie A: Former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong blacklisted in China after failing to pay back debts

Beijing: The former Chinese owner of AC Milan has been added to China's blacklist of untrustworthy individuals over millions of dollars in unpaid debt, according to a local court, which ordered that his passport be confiscated.

Serie A Former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong blacklisted in China after failing to pay back debts

File image of former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong. Reuters

Li Yonghong emerged from obscurity to purchase one of Europe's most high-profile and decorated football clubs from former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2017.

He was one of dozens of wealthy Chinese investing in or simply buying up some of the sport's biggest clubs after President Xi Jinping declared he wanted to turn China into a football superpower.

But Li's control of AC Milan was plagued from the start and this summer a creditor took over the club.

The order from the Jingmen City Intermediate People's Court in central China this autumn, made public in October, is the latest indication of Li's declining fortunes. Li was on the hook for 60 million yuan ($8.7 million) in unpaid debt to a Hubei province investment company, and a 12 million yuan ($1.7 million) penalty, according to the court.

But the court found no assets to seize and repay the creditor as Li had no bank deposits or cars registered in his name.

Instead, Li's name was added to China's national blacklist of untrustworthy individuals, which restricts people from travel by high-speed train and airplane, staying in pricey hotels, or getting a credit card.

As a Hong Kong resident, Li's passport was ordered confiscated and he was prohibited from entering or exiting China, though his current whereabouts are unknown.

The $740 million deal for AC Milan faced payment problems, with Li's bid secured only by a last minute, high-interest loan from a US hedge fund.

In July, Li's group was unable to repay the loan and the hedge fund Elliot Management took control of the club.

Updated Date:

also read

Chelsea Football Club agree sale to Todd Boehly consortium for record $5.2 billion
Sports

Chelsea Football Club agree sale to Todd Boehly consortium for record $5.2 billion

Boehly's group of investors includes fellow Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.

Bournemouth beat Nottingham Forest to seal automatic promotion to Premier League
Sports

Bournemouth beat Nottingham Forest to seal automatic promotion to Premier League

Bournemouth join Fulham to earn automatic promotion into the English Premier League next season.

Serie A: AC Milan and Inter register victories to take title race to final week
Sports

Serie A: AC Milan and Inter register victories to take title race to final week

Reigning champions Inter had to win to have any hope of retaining their league crown after AC Milan beat Atalanta 2-0 earlier in the day.