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Lazio and Inter foreign investment reports dismissed

Lazio and Inter foreign investment reports dismissed

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SS Lazio has moved to deny reports that the Italian Serie A club is up for sale amid speculation linking Sheikh Khalid Al Shoaibi with a takeover bid, while Kazakh billionaire Bulat Utemuratov has dismissed reports linking him with investment in Internazionale.

SS Lazio has moved to deny reports that the Italian Serie A club is up for sale amid speculation linking Sheikh Khalid Al Shoaibi with a takeover bid, while Kazakh billionaire Bulat Utemuratov has dismissed reports linking him with investment in Internazionale.

Al Shoaibi is a group director of the Shoaibi Group, which operates in manufacturing, services, product distribution, and investment predominately for the oil, gas and petrochemical sector across the Middle East and North Africa region. Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported he was willing to buy Lazio for around Eur80 million, but club president Claudio Lotito has rubbished the speculation stating Lazio is not for sale, especially at this figure. Lazio currently sits seventh in Serie A, two points and two places behind Internazionale in the final European qualifying position. Lazio’s city rival AS Roma was acquired by Thomas DiBenedetto’s American consortium in August 2011.

Lazio said in a statement: “In reference to the news published by the newspaper La Repubblica…relating to an alleged offer to purchase Lazio by an Arab oil tycoon, SS Lazio denies in the strongest terms the existence of any dialogue with anyone for the sale of the company to third parties. We denounce the attempt to create, with the spread of unfounded news, alteration in the stock market valuation of equity…and foster a climate of tension amongst the fans in a time when the team’s sporting results have suffered setbacks.”

Meanwhile, Utemuratov has rejected speculation linking him with Inter. Forbes has estimated Utemuratov’s net worth at US$2.2 billion, money made through the mining, banking and hotel sectors. However, he said his sporting interests solely lie in tennis where he serves as president of Kazakhstan’s tennis federation. Utemuratov said, according to the Football Italia website: “The news in the papers yesterday was false, as there is no project to invest in Inter. I have no plans for sport other than tennis. I am focused on developing the sport of tennis in my country, work which absorbs most of my time.”