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UK – Judge’s patience runs out with Ritz debtor

By - 19 April 2016

A judge has ruled that a billionaire businessman who owes London’s Ritz casino £2.2m should be jailed for ten months.

The High Court ruled that Swiss national Safa Abdulla Al Geabury, 52, who blamed the casino and the Devil for his gambling losses was ‘deliberately dishonest’ and that he must settle the debt with the Ritz.

Mr Justice Spencer said the defendant was in contempt of court by not declaring his assets, deliberately ignoring a worldwide financial freezing order and for not paying the debt back.

The businessman remained in Switzerland rather than attend court.
The judge said: “I’m sure on all the evidence that the defendant was well aware of the obligations to provide information as to his worldwide assets. I’m sure that he was sent the order promptly by solicitors. I’m sure he was notified by solicitors of the relevant terms of the order. I’m sure he deliberately chose to do nothing to comply with these orders and deliberately shut his eyes to the obligations upon him.”

Mr. Al Geabury had counter-sued the casino for £5.4m, claiming that management shouldn’t have let him gamble.

However Mr Justice Spencer said: “He manufactured evidence in relation to his supposed gambling addiction, and advanced numerous statements he knew to be false.”

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