US fund manager gives up on collecting $25m from Aussie betting syndicate

TAGs: Australia, betting syndicate, Canada, green valley ranch casino, Las Vegas Sands, semion kronefeld, william vlahos

australia-canada-gambling-debtsA US fund manager has dropped legal proceedings meant to recover $25m he claimed to be owed by an Australian horserace betting syndicate. The Edge betting club was operated by former horse owner William Vlahos, who claimed the club’s annual rate of return could range as high as 70% and that he had A$200m (US $179m) of investors’ cash in his bank account. However, Vlahos claimed to have no money whatsoever when the Edge filed for bankruptcy in December, one month after it was sued by fund manager Michael Carsley.

Aloga Ltd., a group including Carsley and 21 other investors, gave Vlahos A$3.83m between 2009 and 2013, for which they received quarterly statements listing the syndicate’s returns. Following the bankruptcy filing, Vlahos claimed that the Edge’s financial records resided solely on his laptop, which was destroyed when someone blew up his truck. In case filings seen by Bloomberg, Carsley’s attorney Robert Dick said “analogies about homework come to mind” and that he and his client treated anything Vlahos said “with utmost suspicion.” Victoria state police are presently investigating Vlahos for fraud.

Carsley says he’s no stranger to betting syndicates, having dealt with investors who backed US-based outfits. Carsley said he was “familiar with quantitative analysis undertaken” in horse betting but he found it unusual that investors were required to pay Vlahos directly “without proper management in place.” Apparently convinced you can’t get blood out of a stone, Carlsey’s attorneys sent an email this week to the New South Wales Supreme Court saying they would no longer pursue their claim.

In a far less forgiving mood are two Nevada casinos and state law enforcement, which has filed criminal charges against a Canadian businessman who allegedly welched on $12.9m in casino markers. Over a two-week span in October 2008, Semion Kronefeld reportedly ran up a $7.9m marker at Las Vegas SandsVenetian and another $5m at the Green Valley Ranch casino in Henderson.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday after Kronefeld was indicted in Clark County District court on 12 counts, including felony theft and obtaining money under false pretenses. The 43-year-old Kronefeld, who reportedly racked up an impressive $21m in gambling debts across America, declared bankruptcy in 2009 and his whereabouts are presently unknown. His case represents Nevada’s largest gambling debt case since Terrance Watanabe settled out of court with Caesars Entertainment (then Harrah’s) over Watanabe’s unpaid $14.75m marker.


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