Amanda Staveley fails to Set Aside Victor Restis’ £3.5 Million Statutory Demand

British financier labels demand an ‘abuse of process’ that should be settled through arbitration.

A recent ruling of the High Court has left Amanda Staveley, the co-owner of Newcastle United football club, facing payment of her substantial debt of nearly £3.5 million following a legal dispute with the Greek shipping tycoon Victor Restis. Victor had issued a statutory demand against Staveley, claiming that she was liable to pay him £3.4m owed from an investment he made in her business ventures over a decade ago.

Staveley had applied to the High Court to set aside the statutory demand from Victor Restis, claiming that she had significant grounds to dispute the liability and proposed that the matter was more appropriate to be settled through arbitration. Despite expressing sympathies, the Deputy Judge Daniel Schaffer of the Insolvency and Companies Court in the hearing of 25 March 2024, rejected her request, ruling that the dispute should be dealt with in court and upheld the validity of the demand amounting to £3.4 million.

Amanda Staveley v Victor Restis

The dispute stems from a £10 million investment made by Victor Restis back in 2008. Restis Initially sought approximately £36 million from Staveley, which included a significant sum in interest, Restis eventually scaled down his demand to around £3.5 million removing interest and costs. Staveley’s lawyers contested Restis’ demand on various grounds; that she did not understand her liability alleging that the agreements were signed under duress, and that the dispute was better suited for arbitration. The Judge ruled against her, stating her arguments weren’t strong enough and lacked credibility.

SD2 Statutory Demand against an Individual

A statutory demand is a demand for payment of a debt within 21 days served upon an individual in accordance with s. 268(1)(a) Insolvency Act 1986.  If the debtor fails to comply with the demand, the creditor may pursue further legal action by issuing a bankruptcy petition against an individual for the debt if the debt exceeds £5,000. A statutory demand is commonly employed to recover money owed by a debtor to a creditor. It’s crucial to confirm that the debt being pursued is within a six-year timeframe to avoid limitations in collecting it. IF you think you are owed more than £5000, our expert debt recovery solicitors can help you with the recovery of your debt.

Central to this legal battle between Restis and Staveley is a statutory demand—a formal ultimatum for payment of a debt—that Restis served on Staveley last year. The High Court in London upheld the validity of this demand, stipulating that Staveley must pay Restis within 21 days or face potential bankruptcy proceedings. Despite Staveley’s intentions to appeal the ruling, the court’s decision underscores the seriousness of the consequences of a Bankruptcy petition.

If you have an unpaid bad debt you can instruct our expert debt recovery Solicitors and Barristers to assist you in recovering your debt. Our lawyers specialise in recovering unpaid debts from individuals and companies so we know the best way to get your unpaid debts recovered quickly and efficiently which may involve insolvency proceedings, litigation or settlement out of court.

Bankruptcy Petition Following Non-Payment of Statutory Demand

If the debt of almost £3.5 million following a statutory demand remains unpaid for over 21 days, Restis can petition the court for a bankruptcy order against Staveley. A bankruptcy petition is a legal request filed by a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against an individual who owes the debt exceeding £5,000.  Once the court grants the bankruptcy order, a trustee is appointed to oversee the debtor’s assets and liabilities, and the process of liquidating assets or establishing a repayment plan begins.

If Restis’ bankruptcy petition against Staveley is successful, the Court will make a bankruptcy order within 28 days. Following receipt of the sealed order, Staveley will be attending an interview with the Official Receiver, who will notify the Land Charges Department that the bankruptcy order has been made and this will be added to the public register of writs and orders.

A bankruptcy petition is the ultimate legal challenge for an individual who owes you money. But such a petition requires expert care and attention as a faulty bankruptcy petition may put you at risk of not only failing to recover your debt but you may be asked to make a substantial contribution to the debtor’s legal costs.

Implications for Staveley

The court’s decision presents a significant challenge for Staveley, a prominent figure in UK sports finance. Her involvement in brokering the £300 million acquisition of Newcastle United in 2021 and her position on the club’s board underscore her stature in the industry. Staveley, however, remains resolute in her stance, expressing intentions to appeal the ruling despite a reduction in the claim amount.

As Staveley prepares to lodge an appeal, the outcome of the legal battle between her and Restis remains uncertain. If her appeal fails and she fails to pay the debt within the deadline of 21 days, she will be at risk of facing a bankruptcy petition by Restis against her. The implications of the court’s decision extend beyond the financial realm, potentially impacting Staveley’s standing in the sports finance arena and her future endeavours.

Consequences of a Bankruptcy Petition

If the appeal fails and Restis succeeds in his Bankruptcy Petition against Staveley, the consequences of a bankruptcy petition for Staveley may very likely be profound. Beyond the immediate financial implications, bankruptcy carries very significant ramifications;

  1. Financial Restrictions: Upon declaration of bankruptcy, individuals are subject to strict financial restrictions. These may include limitations on borrowing money, opening new bank accounts, or obtaining credit over a certain amount without disclosing their bankruptcy status.
  2. Asset Seizure: When an individual has been pronounced bankrupt, their assets are likely to sold to repay the creditors. While certain assets such as essential household items and tools of trade may be exempt, other assets including cars and luxury items may also be sold to settle the debts.
  3. Impact on Employment: A bankruptcy can affect your employment opportunities, particularly in roles that involve financial responsibility or trust. Some professions, such as law or finance, have specific regulations regarding bankruptcy that could affect licensure or employment eligibility for bankrupt individuals.
  4. Business Ownership: Bankruptcy has a significant impact on individuals who own or manage businesses. If you are facing a bankruptcy petition, your business may be forced to cease trading, your accounts frozen and your interests in any existing businesses may be subject to scrutiny or even liquidation to satisfy your outstanding debts.
  5. Credit Rating: Bankruptcy may have a significant adverse impact on your credit rating. It remains on credit reports for six years, making it difficult to access credit or loans during that time and potentially affecting future financial opportunities.
  6. Public Record: Bankruptcy is a matter of public record, which means it can affect an individual’s reputation and personal relationships. This public disclosure may lead to stigma and embarrassment.
  7. Future Financial Activities: Even after bankruptcy is discharged, its effects may linger. It can be challenging to secure loans or mortgages, and individuals may face higher interest rates when they do access credit.
  8. Restrictions on Overseas Travel: Bankruptcy may restrict international travel, as individuals are required to disclose their bankruptcy status when applying for visas to certain countries, including the United States. This may lead to the visa being rejected limiting your ability to travel overseas.

Expert Bankruptcy Petition Solicitors

If you are facing a bankruptcy petition, it won’t go away by itself, contact our leading experts specialising in Bankruptcy Petitions immediately. We regularly assist with issuing petitions or setting aside statutory demands or defending petitions. We also specialise in making bankruptcy annulment applications.

We can guide you through the minefield of complex bankruptcy rules and procedure and help your company to manage the entire process. We have years of experience in negotiating with creditors and their solicitors (in particular HMRC). We regularly represent our clients in the High Court/Bankruptcy Court and successfully obtain adjournments (e.g., to allow time to negotiate and settle or to defend a bankruptcy petition) or apply for annulment.

Book an initial Consultation with Expert Bankruptcy Solicitors and Barristers

We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers and are based in the legal heart of London in Middle Temple (one of the four prestigious barristers’ Inns of Court) adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice.

We are experts in dealing with matters surrounding bankruptcy including defending bankruptcy petitions; managing bankruptcy applications (including annulments); advising on bankruptcy petitions and offences; and liaising with the Official Receiver. Whilst we are based in London we provide national coverage across all Courts in England & Wales. 

Amanda Staveley’s Legal Battle Ahead

As Staveley likely prepares to embark on the difficult journey of appellate proceedings, the ultimate outcome of this legal saga remain. The ruling against Amanda Staveley in her legal battle with Victor Restis marks a significant development in a protracted dispute with far-reaching implications as explained above. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, navigating the complexities of financial disputes demands unwavering diligence, strategic acumen, and a steadfast commitment to upholding the principles of justice. The outcome will be closely watched by the legal industry observers and corporate stakeholders alike, shaping perceptions of accountability and legal recourse in the realm of sports finance.

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