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Troubled Leeds served with winding-up order

Leeds have been served with a winding-up petition for unpaid fees dating back to when the club was owned by Ken Bates.

Leeds-based law firm Ford & Warren has filed the petition for unpaid fees - reported to be around £150,000 - on behalf of former club director Melvyn Levi. The case is scheduled to be heard at Leeds Combined Court on January 13.

Bates, 82, sold Leeds to Bahrain-based investment firm Gulf Finance House Capital in December 2012 and the club changed ownership again in April this year when Italian businessman Massimo Cellino completed his takeover.

The petition has been served in relation to unpaid court fees. A case involving Levi was struck out in 2012 with the judge in the case ordering that Levi's fees be paid by the club.

Nick Collins, a senior partner at Ford & Warren, said: "This is not a dispute with Mr Cellino. This is something he has inherited from the previous ownership of the club. We bear no ill-will towards Mr Cellino and we wish him well. I genuinely hope we can resolve this amicably, but we must do what is necessary to protect our client's position." Leeds refused to comment on the petition, but it is sure to add to current owner Cellino's problems.

The Italian businessman faces an uncertain future after a judge in Sardinia was reported to have confirmed he acted dishonestly when failing to pay tax on his yacht earlier this year.

Cellino was found guilty of tax evasion, but won an appeal against the Football League's decision to block his takeover at Elland Road under its owners' and directors' test.

The appeal judge overruled the Football League but said in his report that if the judge in Sardinia confirmed the tax evasion had been a dishonest act in her written report, Cellino would fall foul of the fit and proper person's test.

The league's board is understood to have discussed Cellino's case at a meeting on Thursday and will come under increasing pressure to apply its rules over the club's ownership.

Cellino, who has been reported to have appealed against the Sardinian judge's findings, faces another court case in Italy for tax evasion on a second yacht.

Leeds, currently 17th in the Sky Bet Championship, will bid for their first win in nine matches when they play Blackpool at home today.


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