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No intervention but Johnson did ask to be updated on Newcastle takeover


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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked to be kept updated on the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United, but denied intervening in proceedings. 

Downing Street faced questions on Thursday regarding the level of attention paid by the Prime Minister to the potential sale of the Premier League club.

The Daily Mail claimed on Wednesday night that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked Johnson to intervene in the process.

Seventeen weeks after agreeing to Mike Ashley's a £300million (€345.6m) asking price, a consortium led by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) withdrew their offer to buy Newcastle.

The Magpies later accused the Premier League of acting inappropriately during the takeover proceedings.

Newcastle said they provided the Premier League "with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government."

The separation of the PIF from the controversial Saudi government proved to be a sticking point for the Premier League.

The Mail's Craig Hope claimed that on June 27 last year - a month before the deal collapsed - Bin Salman warned Boris Johnson that the relationship between the two countries would be damaged if the takeover fell through.

Mr. Johnson then asked one of his aides - Lord Eddie Lister - to look into the matter.

"This was a commercial matter for the parties concerned and the Government was not involved at any point in the takeover talks on the sale," a Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday.

"No, the Prime Minister didn’t intervene. The Government was not involved at any point in the takeover talks.”

Asked if the Mail's story was false, the spokesperson added, "The Prime Minister asked Lord Lister to check on the progress of the talks as a potential major foreign investment in the UK.

“He didn’t ask him to intervene.”

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Amanda Staveley Mike Ashley Mohammed Bin Salman Newcastle Newcastle United Premier League Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Takeover

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