Sensational headlines in recent days in the racing Post have centred around “Phoenix racing”, a so called ‘investment company’ who it seems have been (allegedly) laundering money, misleading investors and racing professionals and generally behaving fraudulently. One lady agent in the US has been left with $1.945 million worth of horses she signed for on their behalf plus another $300k for a couple of mares from Keenland sales.
The “fund” was never regulated and is now in liquidation to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. It seems there are several conspirators behind a fake cryptocurrency scam “Onecoin” busy with their money laundering programme and using horse racing as a means to do it.
Phoenix might have tipped the scales on this one in terms of the colossal amount of money they have helped launder, spend and generally misappropriate but they’re certainly not alone. A former owner once decided he too would set up a “fund” and having bought a stallion for less then 50k set about trying to sell shares to “investors” in order to raise 350k for the “minority share” in said Stallion. You do the maths.
On another occasion, an owner found himself suitably impressed by an asset fund manager (also an owner) to allow him to invest his considerable pension. Mr Nice Owner got a tad worried when he saw how much money Mr Investor was spending and, unimpressed by the direction Mr Investor’s moral compass was pointing, he decided to move his money.
So far so simple, but then it got complicated when Mr Investor failed to give Mr Nice Owner his pension money back. As the weeks ticked by and the excuses came thick and fast, the man from the PRU, who had been advising Mr Nice Owner was so concerned he called Mr Nice and told him “it wasn’t looking good”.
And this is where racing was almost treated to very similar headlines Phoenix is attracting, albeit on a smaller scale when Mr Nice Owners wife ‘Mrs Nice’ called the wife of Mr Investor and threatened to “go to every racetrack where you (Mr Investor) have runners with banners exclaiming Mr Investor and his company are crooked”.
The result? Mr Nice Owner got his money back in less then 48hours which is a lot quicker than the poor sods who have invested in Onecoin and Phoenix racing will see any return.
It just goes to show what a tremendously difficult job the BHA and other racing authorities have in regulating our sport.
Will Phoenix rise from the ashes? Follow the links and make up your own mind.
FBI document claims Phoenix boss enraged fraudsters with Royal Ascot celebration
Phoenix Thoroughbreds founder accused of stealing €100m from global Ponzi scam
Revealed: Phoenix racing fund was never regulated - and is now in liquidation