The founder of a fund set up to invest in thoroughbred racehorses has “categorically” denied allegations it is funded by money stolen through the OneCoin crypto scam, despite being implicated by the brother of elusive OneCoin rep Dr. Ruja Ignatova.
Amer Abdulaziz was accused of involvement by Konstantin Ignatova, who is currently cooperating with U.S. law enforcement after admitting charges of fraud and money laundering, The Irish Field reported. Konstantin Ignatova told U.S. authorities under oath that Abdulaziz was “one of the main money launderers for Ruja”—claims he strenuously denies.
The allegations have caused a stir in racing circles, with Abdulaziz and his Phoenix Fund Investments well known for breeding thoroughbreds including Dubai World Cup runner-up Gronkowski and Group 1 winner Advertise.
It is alleged that the fund received some $110 million from the OneCoin scam in 2017, which was transferred to the fund through an Irish bank account. In the years since, the fund has acquired a stable of some 300 thoroughbreds.
Abdulaziz was first mentioned in connection with the scam last week during the trial of former OneCoin lawyer Mark Scott, who was convicted on counts of money laundering and fraud. Scott now faces up to 50 years in prison for his role in laundering money on behalf of the promoters of the OneCoin scam.
The British Horse Racing Authority has published a statement in response to the developments, saying it was “aware” of the allegations and was poised to take action “as a priority” to protect the reputation of the sport.
“The BHA is aware of the allegations which are emanating from a criminal case in the United States. We are in contact with the appropriate authorities and are continuing to make inquiries as a priority. We cannot comment further on the specifics of this case at this time,” the authority said in a statement to The Irish Field. “More generally, British racing takes its reputation – and its responsibility to protect its participants from potentially corrupt activity – very seriously. Wide-ranging criteria are in place for the suitability of those involved in the sport, and every application for registration as an owner is assessed in line with these criteria.”
It added, “If an individual is found to have acted in a manner which makes them unsuitable to be an owner then their registration can be rescinded. There are also strict rules against engaging in conduct which is prejudicial to the sport’s good reputation.”
In a statement responding to the allegations, Phoenix Fund Investments said both the firm and Abdulaziz had acted lawfully, and that they would defend all allegations made against them.
“Phoenix Fund Investments LLC believes that the firm and Mr. Amer Abdulaziz have acted according to the law at all times, and will vigorously contest all allegations of wrongdoing.”
For the time being, the elusive Dr. Ruja Ignatova remains at large.
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