Anorak News | Casino: Aspinalls And The Whale

Casino: Aspinalls And The Whale

by | 23rd, October 2007

FOUAD al-Zayat is nicknamed The Fat Man. He is a “whale”. We have no picture to hand of Syrian-born Mr al-Zayat and cannot say if this nom-de-guerre is founded on fact or irony.

But he is in the news. In spring of this year the High Court ruled that Mr al-Zayat must pay his gambling losses to London private members’ club Aspinalls.

Mr al-Zayat has been a customer of Aspinalls. In more than 600 visits, he bought £91m worth of gaming chips. He has lost more than £23m of them.

Mr al-Zayat was less than pleased with the ruling. The story goes that he stopped a cheque over a game which he thought unfair. He had asked that the croupier at his blackjack table be changed. He was told there was nobody else available. He later found this to be untrue. He owed £2million. He had written a cheque for the amount. And was then displeased enough to have the cheque stopped.

Al-Zayat claims the cheque was undated. He returned to the club and went on to lose over £10million over the next couple of years.

Aspinalls made limited attempts to recover the £2m until three days before the six-year validity of a cheque would have expired. Mr Zayat claimed that by not moving faster on the cheque, the club had broken the law against giving credit for gambling.

Lord Justice Sedley says: “Aspinalls, instead of burning their bridges with Mr al-Zayat by suing him on his cheque, permitted him for another six years to go on gambling so that he could lose millions more pounds to them. Then, at the last permissible minute, they sued him.”

Lord Justice Sedley says the matter “reflects no credit on either of them”. No pun intended…

Posted: 23rd, October 2007 | In: Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink