May 21st 2015, American Pharoah was participating in races where he won six out of seven and was preparing for the third leg of the Triple Crown, having won the first two; however his owner, Ahmed Zayat, who made his fortune by selling beer in Egypt and is noted as being one of the most successful owners in thoroughbred racing is now responding to a year-old federal lawsuit filed against him by convicted bookie Howard Rubinsky.
Rubinsky claims that Zayat has not paid about $2 million debt which he says was accumulated whilst betting on an offshore online casino website in Costa Rica.
The lawsuit against Zayat was filed in 2014 at the US District Court, in New Jersey by Rubinsky who is 58. In 2008, Rubinsky pled guilty for his involvement in an illegal bookmaking operation with Michael and Jeffrey Jelinsky.
At the time of the debt that Zayat allegedly racked up, Rubinsky was a sales associate for the Tradewinds sportsbook and his job was to obtain bettors for the website where he would then receive a commission, which was determined by the amount of bets placed and on the percentage of losses.
Rubinsky said that he opened a credit line of $3 million at Tradewinds Sportsbook for Zayat. Zayat then refused to pay and Rubinsky’s commissions were withheld. Rubinsky has claimed that he has lost $1.65 million plus interest.
Rubinsky also said that Zayat was winning at first so the arrangement was working well for him as he gathered $2.8 million. However, when Zayat started to lose, he apparently told Rubinsky to tell the operator of the sportsbook that he died in a car accident and offered Rubinsky $1 million to say this.
However, Zayat has said that he has not placed any bets with Rubinsky. He has also denied gambling with Tradewinds and other offshore websites.
The lawsuit though is not that much as a surprise as Zayat has been involved in these kinds of proceedings before. In 2009 for instance, Fifth Third Bank filed a lawsuit saying that he refused to pay out $34 million in loans.
Zayat says that the allegations against him are from those that are trying to extort him when he is doing well. He says that the only reason he gave money to Rubinsky was because he was having financial trouble.
In the weeks to come, Judge William Martini is meant to rule on whether to dismiss the case. Zayat requested for the case to be dismissed and his lawyers say that this is a claim without any merit.