Liverpool takeover saga takes further twist

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Confusion surrounds Kenny Huang and his interest in buying Liverpool after claims about his links to the Chinese government were met with an apparent denial which was then subsequently dismissed.

Reports suggested Huang is fronting a bid backed by China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country's sovereign wealth fund which manages a £188billion portfolio.

Claims that CIC has sold £351million worth of shares in the global financial services firm Morgan Stanley, of which it acquired a 9.9% stake three years ago, in the last couple of weeks - a figure equivalent to the debts currently held by Liverpool - appeared to add credence to the link.

But then suggestions emerged that Huang's PR advisors had sent a statement to journalists in China refuting there was "any involvement of state-owned enterprises in his business dealings".

However, when contacted, a spokeswoman for Hill and Knowlton Asia denied any statement had been released and said they had not issued any clarification which referred to the Chinese government.

And, according to the Financial Times, a spokesman for CIC said they had never heard of Huang or a plan to buy Liverpool.

CIC has numerous multi-million dollar global investments, including a stake in Canary Wharf, but there has been scepticism in the Far East about them buying into a Premier League club.

And it is a view held by sports finance expert Tom Cannon from Liverpool University.

"I have serious doubts about this deal," he said. "It's not the kind of investment I'd expect from the Chinese government. Frankly it doesn't ring true that they are involved.

"Until the Chinese government come out and say 'We are interested' I don't believe it. It's hard to see what's in it for them."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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