Huang launches Liverpool bid

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LONDON - Liverpool's major creditor, Royal Bank of Scotland, on Monday denied they were in talks with a Chinese businessman over the sale of the Premier League club.

But a source close to Chinese businessman Kenny Huang told Reuters talks to buy Liverpool's 237 million pound debt with RBS were underway as a first step towards a purchase deal for the 18-times English champions.

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British media have widely reported that Huang, a Guangdong-born U.S. citizen who already has interests in Chinese baseball and U.S. basketball, had approached the bank as part of a scheme to eventually acquire control of the club.

But an RBS spokesman told Reuters: "We are not in talks with any bidder about the sale of Liverpool football club."

Asked about the denial, the source insisted Huang wanted to buy the Anfield club, who were put up for sale by unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in April.

Huang, chairman of the Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Group, has not commented on the deal but appointed a British media relations firm to represent his interest in the five-times European champions.

Liverpool's owners, who bought the club in February 2007 from former owner David Moores for 218.9 million pounds, instructed Barclays Capital to find a buyer in April and appointed British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman to oversee the sale.

Barclays Capital refused comment on Monday.

The American duo have faced intense criticism and hostility from Liverpool fans, with frequent demands for their removal, after loading the club with huge debts.

Huang issued a statement in March denying comments attributed to him in the British media about the future of then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez but declining comment on his interest in purchasing the club.

He also owns a minority share in the U.S. basketball team Cleveland Cavaliers.

Media reports have linked Syrian businessman and former international footballer Yahya Kirdi with a deal for Liverpool, who suffered a dismal campaign last season, finishing in seventh place and missing out on a lucrative Champions League spot.

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