Horse Racing Ireland turns blind eye to OneCoin laundering
Following Frank Schneider’s arrest in May, one of the last key figures in OneCoin’s money laundering operation still free is Amer Abdulaziz Salman.
According to former CEO Konstantin Ignatov, Salman made off with €100 million in stolen OneCoin investor funds.
That’s on top of the money Salman allegedly laundered for OneCoin through his shell company Phoenix Fund.
Banned from further profiting off laundered OneCoin funds via horse racing in three jurisdictions, Salman has found refuge in Ireland.
An investigative report by Racing Post’s Peter Scargill reveals some interesting developments over the past year.
We last checked in on Salman (right) in November 2019. At the time he was hiding out in Dubai, the MLM scam capital of the world.
Since then Salman’s racing outfit, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, has been banned from competing in the UAE, France and the UK.
Australia hasn’t gone as far as to ban Phoenix Thoroughbreds, but has banned prize money on races won.
Over the past year the Racing Post also learnt that Mark Scott had directly invested OneCoin funds into Phoenix Thoroughbreds. This was revealed by Salman’s ‘former right-hand man Tom Ludt’.
Naturally Salman denies all allegations of wrongdoing but since Mark Scott’s indictment in 2018, has failed to come clean on Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ funding.
Salman has also failed to adequately respond to enquiries from racing authorities regarding Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ source of funding. This led to the bans in UAE, France and the UK, and seizing of prize money in Australia.
Racing Post has put to Salman the same funding questions and received no answer.
Peter Scargill first reached out to Horse Racing Ireland mid 2020.
I spoke with HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh, who outlined that discussions were taking place to establish the facts around Phoenix Thoroughbreds and that a conclusion would be reached in the matter after that.
In the subsequent months, I have repeatedly asked HRI for updates on the discussions, relaying – if it did not already know – what was going on elsewhere for Phoenix and Abdulaziz.
The most recent email reply came from a spokeswoman on Friday and, like all the others, it said: “As previously stated, correspondence is ongoing with Phoenix Thoroughbreds and HRI has no further comment to make at this time.”
Scargill states HRI’s response is “not satisfactory”. He also questions what HRI has been up to for the past year.
Frankly, it looks like HRI would rather not engage with the process and hopes it all goes away.
I have to agree. As other jurisdictions have shown, it doesn’t take a year to establish Salman likely funded Phoenix Thoroughbreds with laundered OneCoin funds.
By continuing to turn a blind eye, HRI is complacent in the continued laundering of OneCoin funds through Irish horse racing.
In addition to HRI turning a blind eye to fraud, so are Salman’s Irish trainers.
Six horses have raced for Phoenix Thoroughbreds in Ireland this year, winning three races, and their trainers – Ado McGuinness and Fozzy Stack – were about as keen to speak about the situation as HRI.
“I have no comment on that,” McGuinness said when asked about the owner he has five horses for. “I don’t discuss my business with any reporter or anyone else.”
Stack added: “I have no comment on that, it’s not my business.”
It seems nobody in Ireland cares that one of OneCoin’s top money launderers is splashing funds laundered through one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes around.
Well, at least not while there’s money to be made.