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Singapore-based Newcastle bidders admit doctoring Obama images

Bellagraph Nova Group (BN Group), who have claimed they are set to bid for Newcastle United, have admitted to doctoring images with former US President Barack Obama, as part of marketing materials for the newly formed group.

The Singapore-registered company have also stated that information provided with the materials had been released too early or contained errors. The admission comes after Reuters found inconsistencies between information from BN Group and its partners.

Questions have been asked about the validity of BN Group after last week’s announcement about the possible acquisition of the English Premier League side, sparked a wave of investigations into the organisation by journalists.

Nereides Antonio Giamundo de Bourbon, head of BN Group’s investor relations, recognised that the firm had manipulated images to make it appear as though Obama had attended a meeting with its executives in Paris.

De Bourbon said: “We are serious people … the only ambiguous thing has been the photoshop picture…There wasn’t any malicious aim behind it.”

The admission came in response to questioning from Reuters, which has led to BN Group removing the edited photos from the website. However, Bourbon refused to acknowledge that the company had made false claims regarding its business.

BN Group claim via their website that they had a US$12 billion turnover last year and are the “world’s fastest growing conglomerate” whilst being headquartered in Paris. The investigation by Reuters uncovered that there was no Bellagraph Nova Group registered in France and after a reporter visited the given address, no company of that name could be found.

BN Group’s Instagram featured a post claiming that “with our world record number of private jets for a single entity, our over 10,000 private jets are ready to take you anywhere you wish to go with an unprecedented experience on board”, which was subsequently edited to remove the 10,000 figure.

Moreover, BN Group has said that Hydra X, a financial technology firm, is one of the entities as part of its trading system for the Singapore Exchange. Hydra X responded by denying those claims as well as the Singapore Exchange denying Hydra X is implementing a trading system.

Last week, the investment firm said that it was at an advanced stage in the negotiations for acquiring Newcastle United, enlisting the help of club legend Alan Shearer and Michael Chopra, with sources close to Shearer distancing himself from the rumours, although Chopra had tweeted a picture of himself in Paris with the firn. Sky Sports journalist, Keith Downie, supported BN Group’s claims of an official offer after saying that he had seen the official documentation.

Bourbon also told The Telegraph that BN Group had plans to sign five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and had been in “direct contact” with the player before The Straits Times reported that a source close to Ronaldo said that there had been no contact between himself and BN Group.

Author: Jake Wilkin