More trouble in Belgium for Miami-based 777 Partners after court authorizes seizure of assets

BRUSSELS — A Belgian court ruled Thursday that all assets in the country belonging to American investment group 777 Partners can be seized, in the latest legal setback for the embattled company that owns Standard de Liège and several other soccer clubs.

The decision by a court in Liege came after Standard’s former owner Bruno Venanzi and shareholders of the company holding the club’s stadium requested the move, saying 777 had defaulted on a payment. It comes after a period of legal and financial turmoil for the Miami-based investment company, which has also seen its airline in Australia grounded in recent weeks and faces a massive fraud lawsuit in New York.

Belgian media reported that the court authorized the seizure of all 777 Partners’s assets in the country, including Standard’s accounts and shares, as well as shares in Immobilière Standard de Liège, which owns the Maurice Dufrasne stadium. The court declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

“Following the seizure of 777’s assets, including shares and accounts in Belgium of Immobilière and the club, we hope that this move will prompt 777 and/or its crisis manager to respond to our questions and requests, which have so far been ignored,” Immobiliere said in a statement relayed by Belgian media.

“If there is no response from them, we will take further action to protect our interests and those of Standard de Liège,” it added. “Our priority is to ensure the continuity and stability of the Club in the short, medium and long term. We are at the disposal of the Club’s management to help them find a lasting solution for Standard de Liège.”

Fans of Standard, a 10-time Belgian champion, have stepped up protests this season against 777, whose financial problems led to the club currently being under another temporary transfer embargo. Last week, Standard was unable to play a league game when protesting fans blocked the team bus from reaching the stadium.

777’s other clubs include Genoa in Italy’s top tier, Hertha Berlin in Germany’s second division and Vasco da Gama in Brazil.

The company’s most ambitious move in soccer, attempting to buy storied English Premier League club Everton, has stalled for months as doubts have grown about closing the deal.


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