Deal to buy club could be in place within a fortnight

CHANGING HANDS? Fratton Park could be under new ownership in the near future
CHANGING HANDS? Fratton Park could be under new ownership in the near future
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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A DEAL could be struck within the next fortnight to buy Pompey, according to the club’s current owner.

Balram Chainrai made the revelation while speaking to the South China Morning Post, a paper in Hong Kong, where he is based.

He also said there are other ‘interested parties’ who have made an approach to buy the club, but it is the talks with Convers Sports Initiatives which are proving ‘positive’.

Speaking to the newspaper he said: ‘Talks are going well with CSI and negotiations are progressing.

‘Other parties are interested and we are still listening to all offers.

‘It’s too early to confirm anything, but the talks we’re having with CSI are very positive.

‘I hope for a decision to be made in the next two weeks.’

The News understands that while a deal could be in place within a fortnight, the new owners would still have to go through Football League procedures – meaning the takeover could take months, rather than days.

Mr Chainrai said: ‘I want to let Portsmouth fans know we are doing our best to find the right buyer who will inject the needed capital into the club.

‘It’s encouraging news for everyone and I hope it shows fans that we’re doing our best for Portsmouth.’

CSI was co-founded by Vladimir Antonov, its chairman, who is said to have a private fortune of around $300m.

He sits on the supervisory boards of various banks, and is the chairman of Lithuanian bank Snoras.

He was also the majority shareholder of Spyker cars, and its chairman, but was forced to step down while the company made a deal to buy Saab over allegations of money laundering and connections with the Russian mafia.

A Swedish government investigation cleared him of any links in December.

CSI’s second co-founder and president is Roman Antonov, whose company Workforce Bank Ltd, based above a shop in Enfield, is involved in bringing Russian cash to the UK.

The third co-founder is dotcom entrepreneur Chris Akers, who conducted a reverse takeover of Leeds United and became its chairman .

Bob Beech, chairman of SOS Pompey, said he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the new owners.

But he added: ‘The way things have gone for us over the years, we’ve got every right to be sceptical about it, so I’ll believe it when I see it.’