Sheffield Wednesday’s owner-in-waiting Hafiz Mammadov has threatened legal action after reports he had been arrested and imprisoned in his homeland Azerbaijan.
Mammadov is waiting for the Football League to ratify his buy-out of the Owls, with chairman Milan Mandaric ready to sell the club.
But as the weeks have dragged on for the deal to be rubber-stamped, speculation has mounted as to the reasons behind the delay.
On Wednesday, reports from mainland Europe claimed Mammadov had been arrested and linked to financial problems.
But Mammadov has issued a statement, via the Owls official website, denying the “false and malicious speculation” and threatening legal action against those who initiated the stories.
The statement reads: “Following media reports circulated on 9 July 2014, Hafiz Mammadov has issued the following statement:
“Certain unfounded rumours have been spread in the press over my supposed arrest and imprisonment in Azerbaijan, which I obviously strongly deny, and which was immediately denied by State Border Guards.
“It seems today that false and malicious speculation over my situation is being used with the aim to create confusion and doubt over my financial holdings and commitments.
“There are no grounds for the allegations made by the press, and I will take all necessary legal actions against whoever has initiated these false rumours with the aim to harm my family and me.
“Made from Baku on this 9th day of July 2014.”