Usmanov wants answers from Arsenal

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The Independent Online

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov wants a number of questions answered over the boardroom upheaval at Arsenal following the exit of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

Usmanov, a major shareholder with the Emirates club, has also denied he is set to increase his 24 per cent stake by purchasing Lady Bracewell-Smith's holding of just under 16 per cent.

Lady Bracewell-Smith left the north London club last week and has since hit out at her "appalling" treatment.

Usmanov has expressed his disquiet and is now awaiting answers from his London-based partner Farhad Moshiri who is ascertaining the reason behind the "sharp changes" at the club.

Usmanov told The Guardian: "What has happened in the last year poses questions.

"When in the space of a year four members of the board of directors are sacked, when the general director whom everybody had praised is changed, we consider that to be a huge matter - just to sack a major shareholder (Lady Bracewell-Smith) without explanation.

"Mr Moshiri is now in London and is trying to find out the reasons for these sharp changes and according to what explanation we get, we will decide our strategy."

The Uzbek metals magnate bought into Arsenal when he paid former vice-chairman David Dein around £75m for his 14.65 per cent stake in April 2007.

Despite concerns, Usmanov denies he is about to buy Lady Bracewell-Smith's stake.

"I have not held any negotiations with her about a purchase.

"I haven't seen her and so far she has not announced that she wants to sell.

"There is no point in discussing something that doesn't exist."

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