A long-running legal scrap between two well known New Zealand poker players, Jamil Dia and Constantine Harach, is back in a Wellington court for the fifth time in an attempt to resolve a dispute over shares in a $500 000 win at Melbourne's Crown Casino back in early 2005, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The two men, formerly firm friends who have competed in international poker tourneys, have on occasion shared winnings. But not this time. When Dia achieved a major $500 000 victory and declined to share, Harach, who claims there was an agreement to share 20 percent of winnings between the two, has been angry ever since.
The Herald reports that so far the courts have said Dia holds the winning hand in the legal battle, the fifth round of which played out in the High Court at Wellington this week.
Harach had appealed against the decision of a lower district court judge, who was not convinced the two men had agreed to share the Melbourne winnings.
Justice Forrie Miller reserved his decision yesterday.
Earlier in the case another professional player had told a court that players often formed partnerships or percentage swap agreements to spread the risk of losing.
In the same Melbourne tournament from which Harach says he should have received $100 000 of Dia's winnings, Dia paid $75 000 to another friend, Dino Focas.
It was a handsome return for Focas agreeing to pay 15 percent, or $1 500, of the $10 000 tournament buy-in in return for 15 percent of the winnings.
Dia's lawyer, Andrew Davie, said his client paid Focas promptly, which illustrated that Dia paid his agreed obligations in an honourable manner.
Harach's lawyer said it was not clear why the district court judge had preferred Dia's claim that the two men had stopped sharing their winnings in 2002.