Businesswoman Staveley seeks to throw out $46 million bankruptcy claim

Premier League - Liverpool v Newcastle United

By Sam Tobin and Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) - British businesswoman Amanda Staveley on Wednesday asked a London court to dismiss a 36 million pound-plus ($45.5 million) claim brought against her by Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis, who she says is seeking to push her into bankruptcy.

Staveley, who owns 10% of Newcastle United football club with her husband, denies she is liable for a debt that includes interest of 31.3 million pounds, accruing at 505,000 pounds per day, and alleges the claim is an abuse of process.

"The sums are remarkable and speak for themselves," her lawyer Ted Loveday said in court filings. "Bankruptcy is not a mechanism to collect disputed debts ..."

The courtroom clash pitches a high-profile financier, whose PCP Capital Partners helped Barclays secure billions of pounds of Abu Dhabi-backed funding during the 2008 credit crisis, against a tycoon active in Greek shipping.

The case against Staveley, whose PCP in 2021 fronted a consortium 80%-led by Saudi Arabia's PIF sovereign wealth fund to buy Newcastle for 305 million pounds, turns on a loan or investment by Restis in Staveley's businesses in 2008.

Staveley, who sat alongside her lawyers in court, is arguing that the dispute should go to arbitration and also accuses Restis of threats of physical violence.

Restis, however, strongly denies making threats and says Staveley effectively accepts she owes him money.

"Threats to enforce the loan either through proceedings or insolvency are not illegitimate and neither is chasing someone for payment of an outstanding loan," his lawyer Raquel Agnello said in court filings.

Agnello brushed aside Staveley's allegations that the "experienced businesswoman" might have felt threatened, noting that Staveley had messaged Restis in 2023 inviting him to watch a Newcastle game in the directors' box.

The judge noted the match had finished 0-0.

The case will resume on March 19.

($1 = 0.7913 pounds)

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley and Sam Tobin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)