Russian billionaire completes Monaco takeover

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev completed his takeover of

Monaco on Friday and promised to invest a minimum of ?100 million

($130 million) in the struggling club over the next four years.

Monaco announced on its website that Rybolovlev’s company Monaco

Sport Invest (MSI) had become majority shareholder with 66.67

percent.

”I think this club has enormous potential,” Rybolovlev said of

the seven-time French champion which is currently bottom of the

second tier with one win in 18 games.

”I hope that it will be able to realize that potential fully

and completely, at both national and European level.”

Rybolovlev is among the world’s 100 richest people with a net

worth estimated at $9.5 billion. He made his money in fertilizer

products.

Rybolovlev bought U.S. businessman Donald Trump’s Palm Beach

mansion for $100 million in 2008, and his 22-year-old daughter

recently purchased a New York apartment that was listed at $88

million.

The new owner has a huge task to revive Monaco’s fortunes. The

club won the last of its French league titles in 2000 and was

Champions League runner-up in 2004, losing to Jose Mourinho’s

Porto.

An 18th-place finish last season saw the club lose its place in

the top flight and Rybolovlev may have to start spending straight

away with Monaco now in danger of a second straight relegation.

”I am a fervent football fan,” Rybolovlev said. ”Having lived

long enough in Monaco, I realize that AS Monaco isn’t just one of

the principality’s sporting teams, but also represents one of the

principal symbols of the principality, its pride and its

traditions.”

Rybolovlev has been elected president of the board of directors.

He is joined on the board by five representatives of MSI and three

members of l’Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club, which

has kept 33 percent of the shares.

Prince Albert of Monaco, who takes a keen interest in the

running of the club and regularly attends games at Stade Louis II,

said he was hopeful Rybolovlev was the right man to turn Monaco

around.

”The agreement that has been reached opens a new page in the

history of a football team that is so dear to the principality, and

that I hope will progressively regain the position which in the

past made it one of the jewels of sporting life in Monaco.”