LONDON: A football agent accused of sending a threatening email to a former Chelsea director, demanding payment over the £29m transfer of Kurt Zouma to West Ham, has been cleared.

Saif Alrubie is said to have believed he was owed a percentage of the fee and wanted payment from Marina Granovskaia.

Mr Alrubie, 45, said he had intended nothing but the threat of legal action.

He was found not guilty of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety.
Prosecutors at Southwark Crown Court had accused Mr Alrubie, of Fulham, west London, of sending a “threatening” email to Ms Granovskaia on 22 May 2022.

Mr Alrubie told the court Ms Granovskaia was the “right hand” of Chelsea’s former owner, Roman Abramovich.

Threatening someone with the “might” of the Russian businessman behind them, he said, would be a “suicide mission”.

The prosecution claimed the agent implied Ms Granovskaia might “suffer the fate” of another agent, Kia Joorabchian.

He was allegedly accosted and intimidated by men demanding payment on behalf of Mr Alrubie, the court heard.

Mr Alrubie was asked about his reference to Mr Joorabchian in the email.

He told jurors Ms Granovskaia – the then director of football at the club – “clearly lied to hide the true facts and nature of the transfer fee”.

Mr Alrubie said his position was “a million per cent” that there was nothing in his email that amounted to a threat.

“There was no threat,” he said. “No threat made, no threat perceived, apart from the potential consequences of legal action.”

He added that he “never intended anything but” the threat of legal action.