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Mill Financial technically controls Gillett’s 50 percent stake after he defaulted on the loan used by Gillett to fund his part of the leveraged takeover in 2007.

It is the owners’ inability to repay around 285 million pounds ($453 million) of debt that led RBS to instigate a sale process in April and revamp the board to ensure the two no longer had a majority.

While RBS originally set a Friday deadline for the repayment of the owners’ debt to them, a technical breach of the April refinancing agreement already has given the bank the power to demand instant repayment or take control of the club and place it in financial administration.

“There are serious doubts about the solvency of Messrs. Hicks and Gillett,” the court was told by Anthony Grabiner, who is representing the non-owner board members _ chairman Martin Broughton, managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre.

Richard Snowden, a lawyer representing RBS, accused Hicks and Gillett of a “calculated breach of contract … to frustrate the sale process” by trying to fire Purslow and Ayre.

“It is breathtaking arrogance on the part of Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett,” Snowden told a filled court room, claiming later that “Hicks and Gillett are seeking to profit from the confusion.”

Hicks said in a witness statement that the English directors tried to keep the owners out of the loop and were “running the negotiations themselves.”

Hicks said he received an e-mail from Broughton on Oct. 4 regarding Lim’s bid and was accidentally also forwarded a message originally sent to the other board members _ but not the Americans.

“The e-mail chain confirmed to my mind that the other members of the board … were acting without involving Mr. Gillett and me, and keeping us properly informed,” Hicks said.

“I was very concerned about a reference to a “home team.” It appeared to me that the English directors regarded themselves as being in a position of hostility or competition with me and Mr. Gillett, and that we were no longer considered to be on the same side, and therefore not involved in the decision-making processes.”