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EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATION: LFE sued for US$2.2m – And who is Jim Aylward?

The company that wants to buy Perth Glory has been sued in the UK by an oil trader from Turkmenistan who claims he has lost $US2.2 million following fraudulent misrepresentations he alleges were made by representatives of London Football Exchange.

And we’ve been shown documents that suggest that Jim Aylward, the self-proclaimed “founder” of London Football Exchange, is not his real name at all.

6PR has put all of this to Jim Aylward. He asked to “hold off on releasing the information, I’m happy to come back to you.” He was given an 8am deadline and as of now, there has been no further comment.

Extensive investigations by 6PR’s Gareth Parker reveal that sources close to Jim Aylward have suggested that he may in fact be called James Abbass Biniaz, a convicted fraudster who was sentenced to 22 months prison in 2010.

Biniaz, 40, and a co-conspirator, a Glasgow waiter, conspired to defraud the British tax office of more than GBP98,000 in a fake property deal.

 “You were at the heart of the conspiracy,” Judge Daniel Worsley told Biniaz. “It is impossible for me to do anything other than send you to prison.”

Biniaz was also jailed in 2003 for robbery and fraud, according to a BBC report.

The revelations cast enormous doubts over the future of London Football Exchange’s bid to buy 80 per cent of Perth Glory from owner Tony Sage.

Mr Sage has been contacted for comment.

The deal was announced by both LFE and Mr Sage on February 13.

Jim Aylward told Gareth Parker on February 13 that Perth Glory would be the first of “seven or eight” clubs that LFE intended to take a majority stake in.

He claimed LFE intended to build a “football group” whose assets – including tickets, merchandise, fan experiences – could then be purchased in an online marketplace using a cryptocurrency issued by LFE.

He claimed Perth Glory would be the first deal announced, with announcements to follow about an English Premier League Club and a French Ligue 1 club.

In the February 13 interview, Aylward refused to say how much cash LFE had in the bank.

He also refused to reveal the price LFE had agreed to pay for 80 per cent of Perth Glory, or the source of funds for the deal.

Aylward claimed that the Football Federation of Australia had already approved the finance structure of the deal, a claim Tony Sage was forced to walk back the following day, saying no paperwork had been submitted to the FFA.

6PR’s Gareth Parker has been investigating London Football Exchange since the deal was announced by LFE and Mr Sage on February 13.

That investigation has involved talks with sources in London, France, Switzerland and the United States.

It has also involved the discovery of troves of material online, much of it collected from internet chatrooms where LFE’s cryptocurrency token is being relentlessly promoted.

The LFE – through Jim Aylward and another UK national, – have been spruiking their plans for more than two years.

They have sold cryptocurrency via an initial token offering, though it is impossible to independently verify how much money they have raised as no accounts have been published and reports vary.

One report suggests the ITO raised $US71 million, though a source close to LFE suggested to 6PR it could have been as little as a few hundred thousand dollars.

Mr Aylward declined to say how much the ITO raised in his interview on 13 February.

Last week, legal action was launched against Jim Aylward, another LFE representative, a host of LFE-related companies and a Cayman Islands entity known as White Tiger Asset Management Limited which 6PR’s Gareth Parker understands to be controlled by the the other LFE representative. The lawsuit, in the UK’s High Court of Justice commercial court, is brought by an oil trader from Turkmenistanian named Murat Seitnepsov.

The lawsuit alleges that LFE, Jim Aylward, the other LFE representative, and others associated with LFE, on the basis of fraudulent misrepresentations, received and did not repay a loan from Mr Seitnepsov worth $US2.2 million.

The lawsuit claims Mr Seitnepsov was introduced to LFE by a Zug, Switzerland-based commodities trader.

In December 2017, the lawsuit alleges that the other LFE representative explained to Seitnepsov that he planned to create a cryptocurrency and community of football fans. LFE would generate revenue by selling the cryptocurrency tokens and use the proceeds to buy football clubs, shares of which would be available to token holders.

Mr Seitnepsov claims he loaned LFE $US165,000 and then $US225,000 and organised for LFE to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018.

In March 2018, Seitnepsov alleges that he was told that agreements were in place to buy shares of “tens of football clubs”. On a train trip from Zug to Lugano, Seitnepsov alleges that he was told that LFE needed an urgent $1.8 million loan to get the LFE exchange up and running, pay costs associated with the football club share purchases, and for LFE to attend a football conference in China the next month.

6PR has obtained an unpaid travel invoice from a New Jersey travel agent worth $US14,000 that shows Mr Aylward travelled under the name James Biniaz – to attend that conference.

The lawsuit says LFE offered to settle the $US2.2 million in loans by transferring 4.4 million LFE crypto tokens, which were said to be worth 50 cents each, and repay $3 million cash for marketing work done by Mr Seitnepesov.

The lawsuit claims the tokens were transferred, but then following a subsequent “token swap”, LFE refused to swap Seitnepesov’s tokens with the result that the tokens Seitnepsov received were worthless.

The lawsuit also alleges the $3 million cash was never paid.

Asked to comment on the lawsuit in an online LFE chatroom over the weekend, Aylward said: “Aware of it. Can’t comment but let’s await the outcome.”

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Gary Adshead