The Texan former owner of Liverpool Football Club has been given the chance to launch massive damages claims over the sale of the Premier League side after orders barring action in the US were varied by a High Court judge in London.
Tom Hicks wanted Mr Justice Floyd to lift anti-suit orders which prevented him taking action in the Texas courts to halt the deal in which he claims he lost £140 million.
The judge dismissed that application but varied the anti-suit injunction to allow Mr Hicks to make applications in the US in support of any proceedings in this country if he gives seven days notice to the parties he is suing.
Mr Hicks believes he was the victim of an “epic swindle” when the club was sold against his wishes to New England Sports Ventures for £300 million.
Mr Justice Floyd also dismissed an application to strike out or stay claims by Sir Martin Broughton, former chairman of the club, seeking damages against Mr Hicks for his actions while owner.
New England Sports Ventures’ application to be allowed to join the Broughton action was granted by the judge. NESV bought the club after repaying a £237 million loan Mr Hicks and his former partner George Gillett took out with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wells Fargo and Co.
Mr Justice Floyd said the sale of Liverpool came about because of Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett’s indebtedness.
As the repayment date for the loan approached, Sir Martin arranged a board meeting last October to consider two offers, both of which were opposed by the former owners. The US pair purported to remove some of the English directors of the club and replace them with their own men.
Sir Martin went ahead with a board meeting which included the original directors and accepted the offer from Sports Ventures.
Of his decision not to discharge the anti-suit injunction, he said: “The reality of the situation is that the former owners have already started two sets of proceedings and openly asserted their intention to start more. They will undoubtedly start more proceedings if allowed to do so. There is a real threat that those proceedings will be in the United States.”