Grosvenor Casinossues Abu Dhabi bank - Friday 15th of February 2008

One of Londons most prominent casinos is challenging the rules that underpin the free flow of money around the globe in an attempt to recover £7.36m from a high roller.

Grosvenor Casinos will on Monday launch a suit in the Royal Courts of Justice against the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) to recover money owed by Ahmed Al-Reyaysa, a regular at Grosvenors Clermont Club in 1999 and 2000, whose cheques for £3.07m and £3.61m bounced.

Grosvenor, which has sold the Clermont to Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan, won a court judgment against Mr Al-Reyaysa, a 45-year-old businessman from the United Arab Emirates, in May 2001 but claims it has yet to see a penny. It has taken action against his bank on the grounds that it is allegedly "bound by verbal approval to honour" the two cheques.

advertisementNBAD, which denies liability, has twice tried to have the action struck out but the application has been rejected both times. Grosvenor - owned by bingo operator Rank - says NBAD has a duty of honour to pay the cheques under the "uniform rules of collection" - governing the collection practices for cheques and bills of exchange drawn up by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Lawyers for Grosvenor claim if a precedent is set, banks could be bound to the rules, which are not currently legally enforceable and have never been tested in court. Grosvenor says if NBAD wins the case "the integrity of the system of international finance is undermined as a bank will have to wait for funds to clear before any goods can be released".

Grosvenor claims both cheques were given verbal approval by Mohammed Subh Al Sarraj, general manager of the Ajman branch of NBAD at the time. Grosvenor is seeking up to £9m, including interest and gaming tax paid to the Inland Revenue. It is being represented by Paul Fallon of City Law and Simon Philips QC. NBADs lawyers are Simmons & Simmons and Bankim Thanki QC.

NBAD was unavailable for comment.

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