Football: Saddam and the investor

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The Independent Online
GIOVANNI DI STEFANO'S attempts to invest in the Scottish Premier League club, Dundee, suffered another setback yesterday when he revealed a "friendship" with Saddam Hussein.

The Anglo-Italian businessman has offered to invest around pounds 1m to enable Dundee to upgrade Dens Park and prevent them being demoted because of SPL ground criteria. But the SPL is investigating him because of his links with a Serbian war crimes suspect, Zeljko Raznatovic, known as Arkan.

Di Stefano, who described the potential deal as "a passive but positive investment", spoke openly as he tried to stress knowing controversial politicians did not mean he shared their beliefs. When asked about Raznatovic, Di Stefano said: "My political life has also brought me friendship with Yasser Arafat, Gerry Adams, Saddam Hussein and his son Uday. I am general sales agent for Yugoslavia for Iraqi Airways and visited [Saddam] in Baghdad."

Di Stefano, who aims to become a Euro MP, is concerned at unconfirmed suggestions the Royal Bank of Scotland might cease offering banking facilities to the club if Dundee accept his money. He is currently vice-president of Obilic, the Yugoslav champions, who are owned by Raznatovic.