Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a major blow just weeks before the new Premier League season starts, casting a dark cloud over the English soccer team.
Joe Lewis, the British billionaire and majority owner of Tottenham, has been charged in the U.S. with insider trading. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused the 86-year-old of giving tips to friends, associates, and romantic partners from 2019 to 2021.
Lewis owns Tottenham via his investment company ENIC, along with Daniel Levy — the club’s executive chairman and minority investor. Tottenham is the ninth-most valuable soccer club in the world at $2.8 billion, according to Forbes, and Lewis himself is worth more than $6 billion.
The team had no comment for the New York Times, calling the situation “unconnected to the club.” Should the situation worsen for Lewis, the club’s ownership structure could come under scrutiny.
Last year, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was forced to sell fellow EPL club Chelsea due to U.K. sanctions stemming from his close ties to Vladimir Putin. Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly emerged from a long list of suitors to acquire the club for $5.4 billion.
If Tottenham hits the market, expect similar interest from the world’s wealthiest figures, including strong bids from more Americans. During the Chelsea bidding, the Ricketts family (owners of the Chicago Cubs), Jets owner Woody Johnson, and new Commanders owner Josh Harris all showed interest in the club.