United Kingdom

Saudi sheikh 'sent 17 cheques that bounced' as casino pursued him for £2million gambling debt 

Sheikh Salah Hamdan Albluewi (pictured), 52, who is accused of failing to settle his £2 million gambling debt with a London casino, sent the establishment 17 cheques which bounced  

A Saudi Sheik who is embroiled in a £2 million gambling debt with a London casino 'sent 17 cheques that bounced' as he tried to settle his alleged feud with the establishment. 

Sheikh Salah Hamdan Albluewi, 52, who is accused of failing to settle the large debts he ran up last September, had said he would pay his bill before returning to Saudi Arabia, the exclusive Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair claimed.

The Park Lane casino, which featured in the 1962 James Bond film Dr No, went on to claim that the Sheik had an extensive 'tariff card' during his 26 years as a member there.

On Friday, the dispute, which has reached now reached the High Court, saw a judge remove a freezing order on the property tycoon's global assets which was imposed in February.  

The freezing order was enforced after the casino claimed it had been unable to contact the Sheikh and that he had 'gone to ground' after his cheques bounced in September last year, The Evening Standard reported. 

'It has also become apparent that Mr Albluewi has run up significant gambling debts with other London casinos and has simply walked away from them,' court documents from the casino's lawyers seen by The Times revealed.  

The club added that the Sheikh had gone to Saudi Arabia in October last year 'where such debts are completely unenforceable.' 

The club claims that the Sheik, whose company SAB Ventures owns a £45 million mansion in Carlton House Terrace, had assured them he would pay the money back but then returned to Saudi Arabia before doing so. 

The Sheikh accepted responsibility for the cheques not clearing but said he had warned the casino this would happen.

He also denied that he had 'gone to ground' and said he regularly travels between Saudi Arabia and London and had not picked up the initial communications from the casino. 

Mr Albluewi's lawyers told the court their client denied any wrongdoing. 

The exclusive casino in Park Lane, Mayfair, claimed that the property tycoons had an extensive 'tariff card' 

The casino in London featured in the 1962 James Bond film Dr No with actor Sean Connery 

During the dispute, the court heard the Sheikh was a 'significant player' at the casino since signing up as a member in 1993. He is said to have bought around £14 million of gaming chips and sustained losses of around £5 million.

In his ruling last week, Mr Justice Freedman said casino staff know the Sheikh is very wealthy and had visited his home in Carlton House Terrace.

He said the Sheikh had not been 'frank' about the state of his debts to other casinos, but that given his wealth and ties to London and Jersey there was little risk of that the casino wouldn't be able to retrieve its money.

Mr Albluewi's  company website, SAB Group, describes him as the Chairman of SAB Holding and a world-leading entrepreneur.

He has a raft of companies operating in the Middle East along with  investment arm, SAB Investment, that 'has created market defining businesses in the Communications. Logistics, Retail, Real Estate, Medical, Travel, Construction and Luxury goods sectors.'

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