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Mar 28, 2013

Emails reveal Pannu payments

Birmingham City's financial difficulties are set to worsen with fears acting chairman Peter Pannu has been paid large amounts of money by the club according to the Guardian.

Serious questions are being asked of Pannu, who has been employed in the absence of current Chairman Carson Yeung as he fights charges of money-laundering, after internal club documents showed the former Hong Kong policeman wants complete control of the club and its business dealings.

However, lawyers for both Pannu and Yeung declared their clients had 'absolutely nothing to hide'.

Pannu's power grab surfaced after club emails revealed he had asked for £300,000 paid directly into his personal HSBC account after an arrangement made with Yeung entitled him to 10% of "whatever I bring into the club by way of earnings and profit".

The sum of money was deemed to be Pannu's commission for his role in Birmingham International Holdings Limited's (BIHL) £81.5 million takeover of the club from former owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

Pannu helped the club in its attempts to recover a supposed £3.1 million paid out by the club to Gold and Sullivan. However, other reports at the time suggested the sum had only been in the region of £400,000.

When pressed further by a club financial officer, Pannu said the agreement had been made in the presence of then director of BIHL, Steve McManaman.

But when contacted by the Guardian, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid winger said he had no knowledge of the incident.

"That is the first I've heard about it," McManaman said. "I don't know anything about that. It wasn't agreed in my presence."

And when financial officers asked for direct authorisation to make the payment, Pannu replied he would "get something in writing" and added "this is not theft, ok".

But a letter from Pannu's lawyers said he had been asked to help with the claim against Gold and Sullivan and "was remunerated for this", despite him "not an officer of BCFC and was not on the payroll."