Juan Sartori and the Russian billionaire who could help Sunderland compete with Roman Abramovich

Juan Sartori has been confirmed as a Sunderland director '“ but who is he?

Friday, 1st June 2018, 3:10 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 3:13 pm

After being granted EFL approval, Sartori has now being confirmed as a Sunderland director and he will attend tomorrow’s season opener against Charlton Athletic.

Here's everything you need to know about the man joining Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven as a shareholder at the club:

Who is Juan Sartori?

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Sartori was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1981 and went on to live in France and Switzerland during his younger years.

He attended HEC - a world-renowned business school - and graduated with a degree in Business and Economics in 2002.

How does he know Stewart Donald?

Sartori has previously tried to take over Oxford United - where he dealt with Donald.

The Uruguayan believed he could take the U's to the Premier League but his takeover bid was rejected by chairman Darryl Eales.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail after Eales rejected his formal offer, Sartori said: “I am sad about it, but what can you do? “We worked a lot over the last three months and did due diligence, but it was Darryl’s decision to carry on at the club.

“We wanted to go as high as possible – the Championship and Premier League. Could we have made it? Of course."

What will his role be at Sunderland?

Don't expect Sartori to be hugely hands-on at Sunderland.

The Uruguayan has a 20% stake in the club with Donald remaining the majority.

His involvement could mainly be financial with the Black Cats' owner believing that he could help the club maximise their potential.

Speaking about Sartori coming on board, Donald said: “At this stage we don’t need his capital, as a League One club as long as the plan works we don’t need that level of investment.

“But should we get promoted then he comes along with an awful lot of long term benefits such as his connections with Monaco, his links with South American players which could boost our academy and we’ll be able to lean on his European connections as well.

“From a business perspective, he’s connected to an awful lot of wealthy people who like sport.”

What are his business interests?

Sartori is the founder, and current president, of Union Group in Uruguay - the largest business of its kind in the country.

He started the business in 2006 as a blueberry farming business and then branched out into several different forms of agriculture.

The business has continued to expand and now deals with energy, forestry and real estate as well as holding interest in oil and gas.

He formed Union Agriculture Group in 2008 and then sold his existing business to that new company.

By that point, he had already built up $1billion worth of assets.

Who are his connections?

While Sartori naturally has links with Donald, perhaps the most intriguing connection of his is with a Russian billionaire.

In 2015, Sartori married Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the daughter of Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Rybolovlev is the owner of AS Monaco and is currently placed 242nd on the Forbes Rich List with an estimated wealth of $6.8billion.

Donald said: “If we can get his father-in-law onside and his other contacts, we will hope to compete with a Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour.

“It might not work out that way but at the moment that is the long-term plan.”