Hearts bidder Angelo Massone ‘is a thief’

Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall has branded Angelo Massone “a thief” and insists that the Italian lawyer should – as is the case with former Rangers owner Craig Whyte – be banned for life from being involved in Scottish football.

'He [Massone] stole money from the club and made no attempt to pay anybody' Gordon McDougall. Picture: SNS

Massone drove the West ­Lothian club to the brink of 
extinction in 2009.

They were demoted from the First Division to the third after the Rome-based entrepreneur sold his shares to McDougall and Neil Rankine that summer – and now he’s trying to buy Hearts.

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However, McDougall was shocked at the extent of Massone’s double dealing once he’d taken over at Almondvale.

“While he was in charge of the club he sold Robert Snodgrass to Leeds United [for £275,000] and Graham Dorrans to West Brom [for £150,000],” he said.

“Robert was then sold to Norwich for £3 million last year but we didn’t receive a penny.

“It turned out that Massone had negotiated a sell-on clause in both transfers – and then later sold them to Leeds chairman Ken Bates and West Brom ­chairman Jeremy Peace for £50,000 each. I don’t know what the money was used for but what I do know is that the man is a thief.

“Our worst experience was discovering the two major deals done by him during his time at Livingston had then been sold from under the club’s feet.

“I don’t know what he did with that money – maybe he used it to pay the wages. You can dress it up any way you like but I would call that theft.

“This isn’t someone who took the club into administration because he fell on hard times – he stole money from the club and made no attempt to pay ­anybody. Meanwhile, he made quite a bit out of Livingston.

“He should never be allowed back into the game.

“As well as Hearts, I hear he has been sniffing about ­Dunfermline and Raith ­Rovers but he is clearly not a fit and proper person.

“If you rob a bank then you’re going to jail but it seems that, if you rob a football club, then there’s no chance of that ­happening.”

When Massone was called about McDougall’s accusations, he replied: “I’m sorry – I’m not really interested in speaking about him.

“You write what you want – it is all lies and I don’t want to speak about it.”

Asked whether he had sold the sell-on clauses for Snodgrass and Dorrans back to the buying clubs, he said: “I don’t want to speak about this.

“You have an agenda. Mr ­McDougall is not important and you are just creating problems.”

Five Stars Football Ltd, the company which has made the bid for Hearts, has an address in Glasgow but no telephone number or website.

Massone is the sole director of the company, which was ­incorporated in June 2012, has no recorded business ­history and has yet to file audited ­accounts.