The former owner of one of London's best known casinos is taking a client's bank to court to recover almost £7 million in cheques he wrote that later bounced.
The Clermont casino accepted a cheque from Ahmed Al-Reyeysa for £3.07?million on trust. Then, following alleged assurances from his bank that the money would be paid, it accepted another cheque for £3.61 million.
Neither cheque cleared.
Grosvenor, which owned the Clermont but has since sold it to the Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan, won a court judgment against Mr Al-Reyaysa, a 45-year-old businessman from the United Arab Emirates, in May 2001 to recover the money but claims it has yet to see a penny.
It has taken action against his bank, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, on the grounds that it is "bound by verbal approval to honour" the two cheques.
The High Court heard that Mr Al-Reyeysa was a regular at some of London's most exclusive casinos and thought little of gambling millions in one night. In an 18-month period he spent £150 million at the Clermont alone.
The court heard that in February 2000 he gave the Clermont a cheque for £3.07 million which he exchanged for chips he subsequently lost on the roulette table. The casino's bank, the Nat West, telephoned Mr Al-Reyeysa's bank to ensure that the money would be paid and was told by a manager that it would be. It said that on the strength of that it accepted another cheque for £3.61 million but neither cleared because of a lack of funds in Al-Reyeysa's account. The Clermont argued that it lost out because the bank manager approved the first cheque.
The Abu Dhabi bank said that the manager was justified in his comments because it was "inconceivable" that Al-Reyeysa could not pay.
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