Boss of syndicate named in fraud case

International racehorse syndicator Amer Abdulaziz Salman whose Phoenix Thoroughbreds interests extend to Australia, has been named in a New York court as a major figure in a fraud case.

The Racing Post reported Abdulaziz was implicated in a major money-laundering operation for an international cryptocurrency fraud from which he allegedly stole EUR100 million before launching his global racehorse ownership enterprise.

Konstantin Ignatov, the co-founder of fake cryptocurrency OneCoin, made the claim during his testimony under oath at the trial of US lawyer Mark Scott, who last week was found guilty of fraud and laundering $400m in illegal funds for the OneCoin founders.

The Dubai-based Abdulaziz, 56, launched Phoenix Thoroughbreds in 2017 as the "world's first regulated thoroughbred fund".

Among the horses Phoenix owns or part-owns in Australia are Group One winners Loving Gaby and Exceedance.

Ignatov, who pleaded guilty this month to money-laundering and fraud as part of the estimated $4 billion scam, has been co-operating with US prosecutors and alleged Abdulaziz was one of the operation's web of money-cleaners under the guidance of Gilbert Armenta, boyfriend of OneCoin's other co-founder Dr Ruja Ignatova.

Ignatov went on to claim Abdulaziz stole from the scam, which involved the creation of a fake cryptocurrency that investigators say in fact amounted to a Ponzi scheme.

Ignatov added the theft was not reported as "the money came from a criminal activity", while Abdulaziz is allegedly named in emails between Ruja Ignatova and her co-conspirators, the Racing Post said.

In an interview earlier this year, the Dubai-based Abdulaziz said he created Phoenix as an equine investment fund geared towards providing investors with a "sustainable return realised through acquisition and breeding of top-quality thoroughbreds" and claimed to have raised $250m.

Having initially had horses solely with former Newmarket trainer Jeremy Noseda, Phoenix has grown to an estimated 300 horses, including stallions and broodmares, with 27 trainers on five continents, according to its website.