Scottish Premier League

UBIG news 'positive' for Hearts

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Fri, 26 Jul 2013 12:03:00

Evian striker Saber Khelifa knows of interest from Montpellier while he waits to return to France from Tunisia.

The 26-year-old has not reported for pre-season training with Evian while he tries to resolve paperwork issues for his family in order for them to join him in France.

The Tunisia international, recently linked with Southampton, netted 13 times for Evian last season, his second with the club.

"I don't want any trial of strength with Evian," Khelifa told L'Equipe.

"Even if there were offers, the priority is Evian. First contact? There is Montpellier, it is the only proposition I have had and it is a great club."

Khelifa's goals kept Evian just above the relegation zone in Ligue 1 last season, but he has yet to re-join the squad while he attempts to ensure his family can join him.

"I've already spent over 18 months without my family, I don't want it to go on," he added.

"Everyone at the club knows I am in Tunisia and I will not come back without my wife and son."

Bryan Jackson of administrators BDO claims the move will allow negotiations over securing the Kaunas-based bank's shares in the club to progress.

UBIG - which owns a 50 per cent share in the Tynecastle outfit and is owed £10million by the club - had its assets frozen earlier this year but administrators have yet to be appointed.

However, that process can now get under way following Friday's decision - although Jackson claims a final outcome is still some way off yet.

He said: "It's positive news for the club. At least the appointment of an administrator can now be made.

"Unfortunately, this is just the start of the process. From what I'm told by people in Lithuania, an appeal may be lodged and that can take up to 10 days.

"The initial timescale that I have been given is that it could take a number of weeks before we get a final resolution.

"However, the signs are good because we are finally getting to a point where the ownership of the shares will be resolved and we can start negotiations in the meantime."

BDO was appointed by the club last month and it hopes to find a new buyer for the club and settle their debts by way of a Company Voluntary Arrangement.

Three parties have submitted formal offers and proof of funding to BDO - supporters' consortium the Foundation of Hearts, HMFC Limited and Five Stars Football Limited.

BDO is now in the process of naming a preferred bidder.

As well as the money owed to UBIG, Hearts are also a further £15million in debt to another Kaunas-based firm, Ukio Bankas - which, like UBIG, was once controlled by former club owner Vladimir Romanov.

However, the bank - also in the hands of administrators - has a 29.9 per cent shareholding in Hearts and holds a floating charge on Tynecastle as security on its debts.

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