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VP of Phoenix Thoroughbreds resigns over money laundering allegations

By Elizabeth Hearst

The vice-president of Phoenix Thoroughbreds Tom Ludt has severed ties with the controversy-stricken organization, amid money laundering allegations. 

The investment group, owned by Dubai-based businessman Amer Abdulaziz, has been at the heart of a scandal in which it is alleged that money from a fake cryptocurrency invested in the world’s “first regulated thoroughbred fund” was part of a global Ponzi scheme. 

Ludt joined the organisation in 2017 and oversaw the day-to-day operations at Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which now owns over 300 Thoroughbred horses worldwide. Ludt told the Racing Post that he had accepted a termination agreement following a confrontation with Abdulaziz over these allegations. 

In November 2019, the Racing Post reported that Abdulaziz was linked to the fraudulent cryptocurrency OneCoin, following allegations by former lawyer Mark Scott at his New York trial. 

Scott claims that Abdulaziz was involved in handling proceeds from OneCoin, which is estimated to have amassed $4 Billion in an elaborate scheme which tricked victims into believing they were investing in a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, but were actually implicated in a multi-layered pyramid scheme. 

The Dubai-based Phoenix Fund Investments, the parent company of Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Abdulaziz are alleged to have been implicated in the scandal, with the investment company and its subsidiary suspected to have been used as an integral part to launder funds. 

The former vice-president Ludt confronted Abdulaziz about these allegations and said that he admitted that Scott invested money into Phoenix through a series of investment vehicles referred to as Fenero Funds. It is suspected that these funds were then used to launder $400 Million in OneCoin proceeds. 

In an interview with the Racing Post, Ludt said: “I point blank asked him what was going on because I had spent the last two and a half years travelling the world for this company and I didn’t want to get dragged down with a bad reputation

“He continually denied it and indicated that he had investors from that company (Fenero) but never OneCoin…He told me that Mark Scott invested (in Phoenix) through Fenero but that’s all I knew. He did not deny Fenero funds had gone into Phoenix.”

It is alleged that the former lawyer, Mark Scott, who faces up to 50 years in prison established a string of funds, known as Fenero Funds. These funds were then suspected to have been used as means of routing OneCoin funds to numerous destinations. 

In response to these claims, Phoenix Funds Investments made a statement in November 2019, and said: “Phoenix Fund Investments LLC categorically denies all allegations made against it, and its owner, Mr Amer Abdulaziz, in legal proceedings against OneCoin and its conspirators in the US.”

“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.

“Phoenix Fund Investments LLC will fully cooperate with relevant authorities should they require any assistance.”

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