One of the most iconic casinos in London – Les Ambassadeurs Club – got involved in a court battle as it is trying to recover over £10 million from a Chinese high-roller whose cheques bounced. Now, the casino has started legal action against the patron as it is trying to make him honour his alleged debts with the exclusive gambling room.
As a matter of fact, the High Court has already issued a ruling that Yu Songbo, who has once been considered as one of the 150 richest people in China, failed to pay back the debt he incurred with the club in 2018. Allegedly, the gambler whose net worth was reportedly almost £1 billion in 2014 has a debt of about £19 million.
Unfortunately for the casino, it failed to persuade the Court of Appeal to freeze Yu Songbo’s assets worldwide.
During the appeal in court, it became clear that Mr Yu started gambling at Les Ambassadeurs Club seven years ago. Back in 2018, the businessman cashed cheques worth £19 million in chips at the casino club, with the court being told that all of them were subsequently dishonoured. Later in 2018, the casino managed to reach an agreement with the Chinese high-roller in which Mr Yu agreed to pay back £16.54 million in instalments. However, he did not manage to meet the first instalment and ended up with the full amount becoming due immediately under the terms of the aforementioned agreement.
Chinese High-Roller Makes Several Payments but His Full Debt to the Casino Remains Uncovered
By the end of 2018, Les Ambassadeurs Club started legal action against the casino patron trying to win a court order forcing him to pay his debt back. Reportedly, the Chinese social media platform WeChat was used to serve the court papers on Mr Yu.
The Court of Appeal judge said that, at first, Yu responded to the calls by making a few payments to the casino – a move that had reduced his debt with the iconic London gambling room to about £6.5 million by the end of 2019. However, then another eight months passed with the gambler doing nothing to get in touch with the casino apart from him sending Les Ambassadeurs Club a Lunder New Year greeting, which eventually resulted in the gambling venue’s decision to resume its court proceedings against the Chinese high-roller player.
Although there were efforts to reach Mr Yu by both conventional means and social media, he remained silent. In November 2020, a High Court judge issued a ruling favouring Les Ambassadeurs’ claims, awarding a bit more than £10 million to the gambling club to cover the main debt, interest and legal expenses. After the ruling, there was still no word from the player and in April 2021, the casino addressed the High Court with an application for a freezing order on the Chinese citizen’s assets worldwide.
As mentioned above, the High Court judge rejected the application saying there was not enough evidence to prove that Mr Yu could try to hide his assets in order to avoid paying the original court award.
The Chinese high-roller also did not appear at the Court of Appeal challenge to the ruling. He did not have any legal representatives in court either. The lower court’s ruling was backed by three appeal judges.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.