Grosvenor loses USD 14 million claim

A London casino chasing USD 14 million in cheques bounced by a high-rolling Middle Eastern gambler has lost an attempt to recover the money from an Arab bank.

Grosvenor Casinos, owner of the Clermont Club, sued the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) in an attempt to recover debts owed by gambler called Ahmed al-Reyaysa.

Ahmed al-Reyaysa is known on London’s gambling circuit, and is said to have gambled USD 199 million in 18 months. „Mr. al-Reyaysa wrote two cheques for USD 6.1 million and USD 7.2 million from his NBAD account to buy betting chips at the Clermont Club, an exclusive casino in London’s Berkeley Square, between December 1999 and February 2000. Grosvenor initially sued al-Reyaysa and won a repayment order against him, but could not enforce it as he is now beyond the jurisdiction of British courts in the UAE.

The casino then sued NBAD, claiming that it only cashed al-Reyaysa’s cheque after an NBAD employee had told Grosvenor’s bank, NatWest, in a telephone call that it would honour the cheque. Grosvenor argued that NBAD had acted fraudulently and was therefore liable for the debt.

But a judge at the High Court in London today dismissed Grosvenor’s claim, saying that the telephone conversation between NBAD and NatWest resulted in a “confusion or misunderstanding rather than dishonesty”.