Confusion over new Villa's owner assets

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The Chinese group set to buy Aston Villa has admitted to holding a controlling stake in just one listed company and not five, as first claimed.

According to the Financial Times, the Recon Group have blamed a "miscommunication" for a statement which considerably over-stated the number of companies they directly control.

A Villa press release, announcing the prospective sale of the club, had stated the group owned "the controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges".

But it has now emerged the group only has a controlling stake in Lotus Health. A spokesman for Recon told the Financial Times: "The acquisition deals for the remaining four companies are still being finalised and should come out soon."

The wording of the Villa's press release, which was published on the club's official website on Wednesday, has now been changed and reads: "Recon Group is a multi-national conglomerate group led by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia.

"The group holding company owns, directly and indirectly, the shares of several publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges."

According to the FT, the Recon Group's spokesman also denied another claim, made by Villa's current chairman Steve Hollis on Thursday, that Dr Xia's group had been involved in the building of Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium.

Hollis had told a press briefing: "You need to ask him but he is responsible for the Bird's Nest in Beijing and some of the other major iconic developments in China."

The Recon spokesman said: "Xia was never involved in the planning or designing of the Bird's Nest stadium. Xia's expertise is in urban design."

Xia's deal to buy Villa will be scrutinised by the Football League and Premier League, a process which is expected to take between two and three weeks.

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