Houston Rockets146617.5 Sacramento Kings101019.0 Golden State Warriors203238.5% Indiana Pacers107312.0 Cleveland Cavaliers96112.9 The NBA Western Conference finals between Golden State and San Antonio took a hairpin turn with just under eight minutes to go in the third quarter of Game 1. The Spurs were dominating the heavily favored Warriors on Sunday until MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard came down on center Zaza Pachulia’s foot, hurting his ankle and ending his night.1The play sparked a firestorm on social media, with many believing that Pachulia purposely crowded Leonard as the Spurs forward rose up for a jumper, limiting his space to come down cleanly. Pachulia denied any ill intent, while Leonard said he needed to watch a replay but didn’t believe Pachulia meant to hurt him. The injury immediately swung the momentum of the game2The Warriors went on an 18-0 run once Leonard left the game for good. and potentially changed the complexion of the series, given that Leonard may very well have to sit out Tuesday’s Game 2.But lost in the what-if scenarios being spun off from the controversial play3While the play is drawing scrutiny for good reason, it wasn’t the initial source of Leonard’s injury. Aside from having hurt the ankle during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, Leonard also tweaked that same ankle when he stepped on a teammate’s foot earlier in Sunday’s game. After further aggravating the injury on the play with Pachulia, he shot two free throws and then was out for the rest of the game. is the question of whether the Warriors, who were 23 points down when Leonard left the game, might have come back to win anyway.The suggestion, on its face, may seem a tad extreme. After all, the Warriors went on an 18-0 run immediately after Leonard went back to the locker room to have his ankle checked out, and it became clear that the Spurs had no one who could stop Kevin Durant and no one who could effectively create shots for other teammates.4This is especially true with Tony Parker out for the playoffs because of an injury. When Leonard was on the court in Sunday’s Game 1, 54 percent of the Spurs’ shots were uncontested. When he was off the floor, that number dropped to just 19 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. But in some ways, a Warriors comeback — even under normal conditions, with Leonard at full strength — wouldn’t have been all that surprising.Golden State has routinely erased big deficits over the past three seasons, winning an NBA-best 20 games5Counting both regular-season and postseason games. that they once trailed by 15 points or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. That puts their winning percentage in those games at 39 percent, nearly four times higher than the league average over that span. Orlando Magic6886.4 Washington Wizards107112.3 Philadelphia 76ers91346.3 New Orleans Pelicans7798.1 Table includes both regular-season and playoff games over the past three seasons. The league average winning percentage on these games, excluding the Warriors, is 10.2 percent.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Charlotte Hornets107312.0 Oklahoma City Thunder94716.1 Dallas Mavericks8858.6 Atlanta Hawks97311.0 Miami Heat106912.7 San Antonio Spurs93222.0 Milwaukee Bucks7857.6 Memphis Grizzlies7709.1 Los Angeles Lakers51233.9 Utah Jazz6678.2 Chicago Bulls97410.8 Phoenix Suns71006.5 Minnesota Timberwolves61025.6 New York Knicks31082.7 Portland Trail Blazers7679.5 Brooklyn Nets31142.6 Detroit Pistons128312.6 Toronto Raptors165921.3 Los Angeles Clippers75710.9 Denver Nuggets7877.4 TEAMGO ON TO WINGO ON TO LOSEWIN PERCENTAGE How often teams bounce back in games where they were down by at least 15, since start of 2014-15 season Boston Celtics136416.9 While the Warriors have demonstrated an absurd comeback ability in the last few years, this season they’ve been downright miraculous. Including Sunday’s victory, Golden State has now won seven of the 15 contests where they’ve trailed by 15 points or more. That includes a game in late March against the Spurs — when Leonard was healthy — in which the Warriors came back from an early 22-point deficit to beat San Antonio, 110-98, despite being on the road. And just last month, the Dubs erased a 17-point gap against the Portland Trail Blazers to win Game 3 of their first-round series.To put this into context, consider this: A 15-point halftime lead against a powerhouse like the Warriors is equivalent to just a nine-point lead against an average NBA club.6To arrive at this number, I used the win probability formula from Wayne Winston’s book “Mathletics.” Winston uses historical data to estimate the probability that a team will win, given the margin and time remaining in the game. Against an average team with a Simple Rating System (SRS) score of 0.0, the 11.35 SRS Warriors would have a 14 percent chance of winning if they trailed by 15 points at the half, according to Winston’s formula. For an average team to have that same 14 percent halftime win probability, it would need to trail by about 9 points.There seem to be a few reasons that the team is able to dig itself out of deep holes. Arguably the most important is its stingy defense, which is particularly effective when Golden State springs traps or double-teams to force turnovers7The Warriors have forced more turnovers (five) than they’ve allowed baskets (three) when they’ve sent hard double-teams at post players since the playoffs began, according to Synergy Sports. with its smaller, quicker Death Lineup, which uses Durant at power forward and Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Draymond Green as the team’s rim protector.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/aldridgedoubled1.mp400:0000:0000:08Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/aldridgedoubled2.mp400:0000:0000:10Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Looking at the Warriors’ regular-season splits, the club played its best defense by far — limiting opponents to 95.7 points per 100 plays, while outscoring them by a team-high 19.5 points8For context, the Warriors surrendered an overall average of 101.1 points per 100 plays and outscored foes by 12.1 points per 100 plays during the regular season. — when it was behind by 20 points or more, per NBA.com.The Warriors also show an improved level of focus on offense in these comeback efforts. They posted an 11.5 percent turnover rate when behind by 20 or more, which was easily the team’s lowest mark of any situation.9On average, Golden State turned the ball over more than 14 percent of the time during the regular season.The other thing driving the Dubs’ comeback machine is easier to spot: their outside shooting. Because three is worth more than two, a 3-point-dependent team like Golden State is built to quickly claw its way back into the game. Across the league, we’re seeing higher-than-usual winning percentages in games like these as teams become more reliant on 3-point attempts. This season, teams who were down 15 points or more came back to win the game 100 times, for a winning percentage of more than 11 percent, which is the highest either of those numbers has been in the 20 years for which we can calculate them.10The previous high was 89 and was set twice, during the 2013-14 season and again last season. Records go back to the 1996-1997 season, when Stats & Info began receiving play-by-play data to track in-game margins.It was just a few weeks ago, in the first round, that we saw Cleveland race back from 26 down to beat the Pacers, which in turn was shortly after the Cavs themselves had blown a 26-point edge against the Hawks during the last few days of the regular season.Even as these sorts of games become more common, though, one thing is clear: No lead is safe against these Warriors.Check out our latest NBA predictions.Neil Paine assisted with research for this story.
There isn’t an immediate or obvious reason why trades have spiked so dramatically. Rule changes — especially those included in a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) — could have contributed. Before 2012, teams were eligible to receive a draft pick in return for a free agent who left the team, even if he was traded to that roster midseason. Under the new CBA, which went into effect in 2012, the value of those potential free agents dropped, since a team could no longer get draft-pick compensation for them. But the increase in trade volume appears to be a gradual rise, not the one-time bump we’d expect to see immediately after the CBA was adopted if the change in rules was responsible for the rise.Likewise, we might expect the recent dramatic increase in front-office jobs (particularly in analytics) to help boost trade volume because all those new workers could increase a team’s ability to juggle multiple potential offers. (The older, smaller front offices likely would have been forced to focus on only one deal at a time.) But there’s also very little correlation between the number of analysts in a front office and the frequency of trades, so it seems like front-office expansion isn’t to blame.Two more legitimate contributing factors, however, might be the second wild-card slot (instituted in 2012) and the newfound prevalence of tanking in MLB. The additional playoff spot encourages more teams to try to contend, which has sometimes resulted in an arms race of acquiring talent at the trade deadline. Last year’s American League East featured three teams (the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles) buying pitching in July, presumably with the hope of vaulting into contention.Tanking works in the opposite direction: When teams are forced to decide between the playoffs and rebuilding, they have more incentive to either trade their valuable players or gain additional strength. The White Sox were frozen in mediocrity for a long time, but in the last year, they unloaded all their stars, from Adam Eaton to Jose Quintana, for prospects. Those kind of abrupt sell-offs have changed the structure of the league and moved dozens more players between teams.Quintana is an especially representative example, because more pitchers are getting moved than in previous years. Hurler trades reached a nadir in 2013, when only 41.6 percent of traded players were pitchers. Last year, however, that percentage had risen to 52.6 percent, a big swing in only a few years. And although we saw a buildup in bullpen swaps last year, with the Indians grabbing Andrew Miller and the Cubs obtaining Aroldis Chapman, the increase in pitcher trades seems to be evenly divided between starters and relievers. In the new, juiced-ball MLB frontier, it may be that teams put an extra premium on acquiring good pitching.Trades can sometimes reveal the strategies a team is employing or the type of players they value the most. But just as often, they are mysterious, the outcome of negotiations to which the public is not privy. Whether due to tanking, the wild card, or some other factor, trades are way, way up and more pitchers are switching teams than before. That makes the deadline more exciting than ever, but it’s also just another block of time in MLB’s trade-happy calendar. With the MLB trade deadline approaching, texts are pinging between front-office executives, general managers are holding hushed phone calls, and amateur internet sleuths are breaking major stories. But swapping players isn’t just a deadline pastime these days. Whether it’s the result of rule changes, smarter front offices or the natural ebbs and flows of the market, the last few years have featured more trades than ever before, both before and after the deadline, making the deadline less relevant in relation to the rest of the year.Regardless of your rooting interests, it’s always entertaining to watch the buyers and sellers jostling to make the best deadline deal. On a day-by-day basis, this part of the season has always been the busiest part of the baseball calendar for trades, and it shows few signs of slowing down.However, the percentage of all trades taking place at the deadline has actually gone down in the past eight years, with teams trading up a storm throughout the entire year. Since 2009 (the first year for which Baseball Prospectus has transaction data), the total volume of trades across MLB has increased by an average of 14 percent every season. Deadline deals used to make up about quarter to a third of all trades; in the last four years they only represented roughly one-sixth of of all trades.
“This osu tattoo stuff is silly. Cats been getting hookups on tatts since back in ’01.” Antonio Pittman and George Washington have more in common than their zero NFL touchdowns. Apparently, it’s not just the United States’ first president who can’t tell a lie. The former Ohio State running back leaked a bit of insider insight on his Twitter on Dec. 23, the day the NCAA announced suspensions of six Buckeye football players for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Whether Pittman’s claim is true, he seems to have foreshadowed one thing: Tattoo-gate was the tip of an iceberg large enough to make Jack and Rose quiver. “Cats” have apparently “been getting hookups” on cars in Columbus for quite some time, too. But don’t go telling the millions in Buckeye Nation that it’s “silly.” It’s more startling than silly, more frightening than foolish, more jarring than juvenile. The OSU football program is entering uncharted territory. First came discounted tattoos. Then came thousands of dollars worth of sold memorabilia. Then came the revelation that coach Jim Tressel knew about the situation but opted to keep quiet. Then came The Columbus Dispatch report that the OSU compliance department was looking into 40–50 transactions between two car dealerships and Buckeye athletes and their families. Then came news that OSU football players were receiving free stamps at the post office. Then came news that players were receiving Monopoly stickers from McDonald’s without having to buy any Big Macs. OK, I made up the last two. I’m just preparing. Still, this is no longer just a black eye on the program. Both eyes are swollen shut, and there’s no way of seeing what will happen next. When the NCAA delivers its knockout punch, it likely will take OSU years to get back on its feet. It’s like tugging on the string that pulls down the ladder leading to the attic, only when you pull, years worth of storage falls in your face that you didn’t think was there. The untouched boxes sat and accumulated more and more dust over the years. You didn’t pay close enough attention. Now, ridding of that dust will take even longer than it did for it to pile up higher than Mount Everest. It’ll take a monsoon to rinse the dust off compliance director Doug Archie, athletic director Gene Smith, even university President E. Gordon Gee. Thing is, NCAA compliance shouldn’t be relegated to the attic in the first place. For an athletic department sporting the nation’s most varsity teams and one of the largest budgets, for a football program rooted in the sport’s uppermost echelon of history and success, compliance must be the dining room, where nothing gets touched without permission. No one lays a finger on the expensive china without a university official overseeing the encounter. It’ll take much more than Tressel attending a five-day compliance seminar in early June to eradicate the problems running rampant throughout the program. “We’re very fortunate that we do not have a systemic problem in our program.” Smith said that the same day Pittman suggested otherwise. Clearly, ignorance is no longer bliss at OSU. Ignorance placed Tressel in murky water. Now it’s making Smith and the rest of the athletic department look naive. OSU is working its way toward the NCAA’s “death sentence,” in which it deems an athletic department to have a “lack of institutional control.” OSU avoided that charge in the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations sent to Gee on April 21. But that was before the car reports and before whatever inevitable infraction is unearthed next. Archie’s days appear to be numbered. Tressel’s days appear to be numbered. Even Smith’s clock could be ticking toward zero. It’d be “silly” to rule anything out at this point. “Cats” haven’t been caught red-handed like this before.
The Ohio State men’s golf team didn’t get off to the start it envisioned earlier this month in the NCAA West Regional Tournament. The Buckeyes sat in a tie for 11th place on the 13-team field after the first round of the three-round tournament. But, on day two, OSU ascended the leader board, jumping eight spots to third place and eventually earning a fourth-place finish, good enough to advance to the NCAA Championships. The team’s confidence has been high ever since. “My game feels like it’s peaking right now,” said senior Michael Cress, who finished fourth in individual scoring at the regional tournament. “Me and all of the guys, we’re all riding on a big wave of confidence.” Second-year coach Donnie Darr agreed. “They just have to play with confidence,” he said. “The light’s clicked on that, ‘Wow, we’re pretty good if we just believe in ourselves,’ so I expect big things.” The tournament will take place at the par-72, 7,407-yard Karsten Creek Golf Course, which is home to Oklahoma State’s golf team. Before coming to Columbus, Darr was an assistant coach for the Cowboys golf team at the school also known as OSU from 2006–09. “We should have a significant advantage over a lot of the teams,” Darr said. “A few of the teams have played the course before, but just my experience of being there for three years should really help us.” Senior Brad Smith agreed. “With his knowledge, I think it’s definitely going to help us once we get down there,” he said. The first three rounds of the tournament will begin today and run through Thursday. The top eight teams on the 30-team field will advance to match play, which begins June 3. The final two teams remaining will face each other June 5, with the winner being crowned the 2011 national champion. Cress said his team has what it takes to still be playing Friday. “I think we have a great chance to shock some people, do some damage in the match play,” he said. “Once you get to the match play, anything can happen.” Senior Bo Hoag said he was excited to have a shot at a national championship. “Just to have to a chance to win a national championship,” he said, “just to have that opportunity is unbelievable.” Joining Cress, Hoag and Smith as the starters in the tournament are juniors Dan Charen and Alex Redfield. “It’s great to see that these guys bought in to what I believe,” Darr said. “They worked hard; they did the right things and now they’re getting a reward for it.” Smith said the team may be getting the reward at a time when he and his teammates are playing at their full potential. “It’s really exciting,” Smith said. “We’ve had a good year and I think we’re kind of playing well at the right time. I’m really excited to see what we can do this week.” Tee times begin at 8 a.m.
Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison walks down the sidelines in the first half of the 2019 Spring Game on April 13. Gray beat Scarlet 35-17. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorNick Bosa is gone. Jashon Cornell is moving to defensive tackle. Junior Chase Young and senior Jonathon Cooper return as clear starters at defensive end. But the Buckeyes need depth to keep those two fresh.If Saturday’s Spring Game is any indication, sophomore Tyreke Smith is emerging as option No. 3.Smith led all defenders with 1.5 sacks, finishing with 3.5 total tackles in the game. Overall, the Ohio native appeared more confident, growing into his new role as a leader in the room.“Last year I was getting out there like ‘Oh, I don’t know what they’re gonna run,” Smith said. “I feel more comfortable out there, I feel like I can play faster, get off the ball faster.”Coming in as a four-star prospect, Smith went through the typical first-year learning curve with just nine tackles and zero sacks in 2018.Moving forward, he knows there’s plenty of strides to make before he finds a larger role next season.“Trying to hone my technique and just help the unit,” Smith said. “Get some more game-type reps for my guys, go out there and try to get some stops, get a look on how the defense is gonna be.”Head coach Ryan Day recognizes the importance of a strong third defensive end, particularly in the defense Ohio State will run. The Buckeyes have a history of rotating defensive linemen, a philosophy co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has said he intends to stick with this season.That’s why he’s stressed the importance of Smith’s development to the Buckeyes’ veteran defensive linemen. Young in particular said Day told him to take Smith “under his wing.”“Every chance I get to text Tyreke, or talk to him, try to get some things to work on with him, I’m gonna do it,” Young said. “I want him to be the best player he can be.”Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is also playing a critical role in Smith’s development.Johnson holds a track record of developing defensive fronts, producing six NFL draft picks since arriving at Ohio State in 2014. He’s motivating Smith to continue improving. “I gotta keep pushing, I can’t stop here,” Smith said. “Coach J tells me every day I’ve gotta keep working, just gotta keep going hard, keep going hard, keep using my technique.”As a whole, Ohio State’s defensive line is working on the mental aspects of football as much as they are the physical this spring. Diagnosing a play and knowing opponent tendencies helps a player gain that extra edge: When you know what’s coming, it’s easier to defend.“Athletic ability is a lot, but the mental part is a lot of it too,” Smith said. “When you can see a play before it happens, you can see the back on one side, you know it’s gonna be a stretch, that just helps you play faster.”Young sees Smith as a cog in Ohio State’s defensive line machine this season, one that he hopes will be well-oiled come fall.“The whole summer we gonna be working, we gonna be grinding,” Young said. “I’ve definitely got a confidence in my D-line.”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Passengers and staff at Elephant and Castle Tube station come to the rescue of a King Charles Spaniel on Thursday who had fallen down a gap next to a train.
The HR advice memo reads: “Feedback from managers strongly suggested that, when assessing performance, the rating ‘satisfactory’ was not effective.”The word suggests that you are adequate and reasonable, which are not pleasing words for people to hear about their own performance. It gives the impression you are ‘good but not good enough’ and can be demotivating.”This comment was raised by a number of staff, including members of Management Team. It has been proposed that the rating ‘satisfactory’ is changed to ‘good’.”Councillors are considering changing staff appraisals “to emphasise the responsibility of both the line manager, as the appraiser, and the employee, as the appraiser”.What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below. Council chiefs have come under fire over plans to ban the word “satisfactory” from staff appraisals over fears it will make them feel “not good enough”.East Cambridgeshire District Council is expected to approve the controversial idea after a report claimed the word would “demotivate” its staff. It suggests that the word “good” is used instead.A report by the council’s head of Human Resources, Nicole Pema, said the proposal came after “feedback from senior colleagues”.She said they “strongly suggested” that when assessing performance the word was not effective. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. We need things that accurately describe performance and there is a significant difference in ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’Cllr Bill Hunt In a report to the council’s Regulatory and Support Services Committee, Ms Pema said: “The word suggests that you are adequate and reasonable which are not pleasing words for people to hear about their own performance.”She claims the word gives the impression people are “good but not good enough”, which can be demotivating. She added: “It is proposed that the rating ‘satisfactory’ is changed to ‘good’.”The new rules are expected to be officially passed at a meeting of the Regulatory & Support Services Committee on Monday.The move has been criticised by some on the council, who say reports need to accurately reflect employees’ performance.Conservative councillor Bill Hunt said: “I think it’s just semantics. There is a difference between ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’. If I were to put ‘good’ on a scale, it would be a seven, and if I put ‘satisfactory’ at about five.”We need things that accurately describe performance and there is a significant difference in ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’. If these people have problems or difficulties they should just say it.”He added: “As far as I know, this is just about some disgruntled staff, but I’m no expert on this. Satisfactory is not what we want to be – good should be the bottom level for East Cambridgeshire District Council.”
The biography sent shock waves through the country and the British monarchy as it revealed Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles was a sham and that they had both had extra-marital affairs.Although Morton claimed to have received the private details for his book from unattributed sources, he revealed after Diana’s death in 1997 she had been the one who had fed him the information.The Queen later famously described 1992, the year the book was published, as her “annus horribilis”. The hand-written letter was written by the Princess to her close friend, the late interior designer Dudley Poplak. Show more “Please may we continue our conversation in January, when the pace of life isn’t so fast and furious, as I’d care to ask for your advice and relay to you my inner thoughts.”She signed off: “Lots of love from, Diana x.”Mr Poplak died aged 74 in 2005 and the letter is being sold by a private collector.Chris Albury, from Dominic Winter Auctioneers of Cirencester, Glos, said: “The letter sent in December 1991 is poignant in that it was written only months before all the public falling out following the Morton biography. “She must have been feeling even more isolated from the Windsors at a time when her marriage had fallen apart and she had just told her version of her Royal life to Morton, knowing that she was about to let a genie out of the bottle which would change her life for better or worse.”This heartfelt letter offers a unique window into Diana’s inner-torment at that time.”A second, shorter letter from Diana to Mr Poplak that is dated April 1991 in which she thanked him for sending her a book is also for sale at the auction.And a typed letter dated April 2000 from Prince Charles to the same recipient in which the heir to the throne also thanks him for sending him a book and how he hopes to meet up with him soon is being sold.Diana and Charles first met Mr Poplak in 1981 when he was called upon by her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, to work on Highgrove House – the Gloucestershire home of the Prince and Princess of Wales.The couple’s “amicable separation” was announced to the nation in December 1992 – a year after Diana wrote the letter – by then Prime Minister John Major.The letter has an estimate of £800. It is being sold on January 25. Princess Diana complained she was “continuously misunderstood” and “extremely isolated” in a letter sent ahead of the release of her devastating 1992 biography. The Princess described feeling continually on the edge of the Royal household and claimed she could see what was “coming to this country and this family”.The prescient letter, which has never been seen before, was written just six months before author Andrew Morton’s controversial book Diana: Her True Story was published. Prince Charles and Princess Diana kiss at a polo prize giving ceremony during a tour of India on February 13, 1992 in Jaipur, IndiaCredit:Anwar Hussein/Getty Images Dated December 3, 1991, and written on Kensington Palace letterhead, she wrote: “Dearest Dudley, I did so enjoy our lunch today – it was special for many reasons and in particular our conversation towards the end of our delicious meal.”I do feel extremely isolated more than ever now, as I see what’s coming to this country and this family.”During the last couple of years I have been through a self-development programme which has brought a deep understanding of those who suffer and those who need love and support, wherever its in hospices or in the street.”I feel that you believe in me, Dudley, and you’ve no idea what this means to me as I am continuously misunderstood by those around me. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. He claims that under the terms of his consultancy agreement with Princess Nauf he should have been paid a fee of 1.5 per cent of the sale price, amounting to £375,000. The total sum being pursued by Mr Hussein amounts to £6,079,342.97. Mr Hussein maintains that in May 2016 the Princess’s eldest son, Prince Sultan bin Fahd, promised he would be paid.Princess Nouf’s solicitors, Mishcon de Reya, said: “We do not comment on client matters; and our client looks forward to the High Court determining this matter.”CORRECTION: This article was originally illustrated, incorrectly, with a photograph of Princess Nouf bint Fahad bin Khaled and her husband Prince Turki Al Faisal. Neither of these individuals have anything to do with the matters covered by the article. We apologise for this error. The photograph has been removed. The daughter in law of King Salman of Saudi Arabia is being sued for £6 million after allegedly failing to pay fees on lucrative property deals, including the sale of her country estate to a Russian billionaire.A senior confidante to the Saudi royals accuses Princess Nouf bint Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud of withholding fees due to him for property deals he brokered in London and the Home Counties.Mohamed Hussein says the Princess failed to pay him his share of the deals after he made her millions of pounds more than she had expected.Lawyers for Mr Hussein maintain that as a result of his work “Princess Nouf was enriched at his expense” and that her refusal to pay is in breach of contract.Princess Nouf, 54, is the widow of Prince Fahd – the eldest son of the current Saudi ruler, Salman bin Abdulaziz, one of the richest men in the world.Following her husband’s death in July 2001, at the age of 46, Princess Nouf, who is supported financially by King Salman and her own family, has divided her time between Saudi Arabia, the US and her home in South Kensington,.In 2004 she arranged for Mr Hussein, her private secretary, who had previously held senior positions in the Saudi Embassy in London and the private office of the late King Fahd and the kingdom’s current ruler King Salman, to handle the sale of her 30 acre Harewood Estate, near Ascot, with its three palatial houses and extensive gardens. Mr Hussein claims he then went on to negotiate an £8.2m discount on the Wellcome Trust’s £21.5m asking price for the freehold of Princess Nauf’s Mortimer House home, in South Kensington, for which he should have received a fee of £66,500.The writ states that Mr Hussein also oversaw the multi-million redevelopment of two nearby mansion block apartments, in Egerton Gardens, on behalf of the Princess.Mr Hussein says he persuaded Princess Nouf the properties were a potentially lucrative investment and she asked him to arrange for her to buy them.As a result he oversaw the £14.6m purchase and redevelopment of the apartments, which were eventually valued at the significantly increased price of £18.5m.Mr Hussein, who lives in Old Windsor, maintains that as her agent and project manager he is now entitled to at least 10 per cent of the apartments’ value, at £1.85m.His duties for the Saudi royal family included accompanying them when they travelled abroad, and attending Prince Fahd at any hour of the day or night he required.In 1997 he became a director of Eirad, the company which managed the family’s properties, fleet of cars and vast collection of artwork.Mr Hussein is also claiming he is owed more than £3.4m in expenses and remuneration, as a well as unpaid rent of £30,000 on a property near Windsor Castle, where Princess Nouf housed several of her staff. Knight Frank and Savills estate agents both placed the property on the market for £22m, but then advised Princess Nauf to drop the price to £18m and even consider offers of £13m, as there had been little initial interest from prospective buyers.But Mr Hussein, 63, was convinced he could obtain the original asking price for Princess Nauf.He knew that a mansion at nearby Wentworth Park – which was not even as luxurious as the Harewood Estate – had been sold to the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, an opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin, for at least £18m.Berezovsky’s body was later found by a bodyguard in a locked bathroom at another home with a ligature around his neck. Although an inquest recorded an open verdict and police found no proof of foul play, there were claims Putin had masterminded the death.A writ lodged by Mr Hussein’s lawyers in the High Court said: “Knowing that other Russian businessmen were looking to acquire properties in that area, and . . . Mr Hussein advised Princess Nouf that the market value of the Harewood Estate was around £25m.”Indeed Mr Hussein went on to secure the sale of the estate to the billionaire Russian industrialist Andrey Melnichenko for more than £25m in December 2004. Russian tycoon Andrey Melnichenko and his wife, the Serbian model and singer Aleksandra Nikolic Melnichenko in DubrovnikCredit: Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock
Mohanned Jasim Four teenagers accused of planning to travel to Syria to join Isil have appeared in court on terror charges.The young men, who are all from London, were said to be plotting to carry out acts of terrorism abroad.Two of them are charged with going to the gym and paintballing as training for their plans while the other two are accused of buying flights and visas to Turkey and survival equipment.They are all also accused of having extremist material and swapping messages online discussing how to get out to the war-torn country.One of them allegedly had a video on his phone of battles, crusades and prisoners of IS being executed.Another is charged with having details about how to build a pressure cooker bomb.A fifth boy, aged 15, is accused of having terrorist materials, including Isil publication Inspire and a bomb-making video.All five appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, supported by their families. A 16-year-old from Lambeth is charged with preparation of terrorist acts and a 17-year-old from Hounslow has been charged with preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications.Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, 19, of Hounslow, and a 17-year-old from Merton, are each charged with a count of preparation of terrorist acts and collection of information contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Meanwhile, two men were sentenced on Saturday to a total of seven years and two months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to terrorism offences at the Central Criminal Court. Mohammed Mayow, 23, from Middlesex and Mohanned Jasim, 21, from Southall, were arrested at Dover Eastern Docks by Kent Police as they tried to leave the country in December 2015. Mohammed Mayow The four appeared together in the dock and were ordered to appear at the Old Bailey on March 17.The 15-year-old, of Waltham Forest, appeared in a separate youth hearing at the same court.He pleaded not guilty to one charge of possession and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications and is due to stand trial on May 2 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.Four of the teenagers were arrested at addresses in south and west London on Tuesday while the 15-year-old boy was arrested on Monday evening in east London. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Four teenagers accused of planning to travel to Syria to join Isil