Everything Horse magazine February 2014 - Page 6

Ben Maher responds to ‘Secret Profits’ Lawsuit £700,000. Tackeray was purchased by the Bruheim family’s Nordic Lights Farm in March. In a Horse and Hound report on the sale Emma Phillips was quoted as saying she was unaware who brought Tackeray at the time of the transaction “It was done with agents and trainers, so we don’t know who has brought him and probably won’t until they bring him out” written by Fiona Kenyon London Olympic show jumping Champion Ben Maher has responded to a lawsuit from his long term backers Mike and Emma Phillips alleging that he made ‘Secret Profits’ of £700,000 from sales of their horses during an eight year relationship. In a second lawsuit the Phillipses are seeking the sale of Mahers’ Olympic winning horse Tripple X for which say they paid £250,000 for a share in 2009 , the horse is now worth potentially millions. Maher served as a blood stock agent for Quainton Stud, run by the Phillipses’ , on multiple occasions. He is accused of making ‘Secret Profits’ deals by providing them with false information regarding prices paid for the horses. 6 The battle over sale prices began when Vigolo was sold back to his original owners for less than the price paid. This aroused the Phillipses suspicions and they began investigating other transactions. Maher is accused of ‘Secret Profits’ in six sales. Tackeray was sold to an American buyer for $850,000 , rather than the $500,000 the Phillipses say they were told. They say that an invoice for third party commission ‘is a sham’. Amounts alleged as ‘Secret Profits’ from other transactions are Quainton Quinford €10,000, Avanti €50,000, Vigolo €150,000,Robin Hood £80,000, Wonderboy £222496. Totalling about Everything Horse UK Magazine • February 2014 • Issue 5 In papers, filed with the High Court in London, Mahers defence and counter-claim alleges that the Phillipses owe him for extensive services during their association which started in 2005. He seeks a legal declaration that he is due 10% of all stud fees and 10% on sales of horses he has competed. Maher agrees that Tripple X should be sold ,but disputes the Phillipses statement of a personal share, claiming the stallion is part owned by the Quainton Stud syndicate. horse dealing have come under scrutiny , with Maher saying that he and the Phillipses jointly acquired Wonderboy for £400,000, he says he paid for his share with four horses belonging to his father. Wonderboy was sold in May 2010 for €950,000, with Irish Olympic Rider Billy Twomey receiving €80,000 as broker. Mahers defence claim that the Phillipses then split the €810,000 equally, and that Mike Phillips told him to keep £200,000 as part payment of Quainton Stud’s share in Tripple X. Maher claims he is still owed £37,000. Maher who was the world no 1 until he was overtaken by Brash in early December, now spends part of the year in Wellington Florida, with American backer Jane Clark. Maher rode Clark’s’ horse Cella to team gold and individual silver at the European Championships, and victory in the New London Global Championships Tour in 2013. Mahers defence papers also say that no evidence of false invoicing has been produced. Maher says he keeps faith by continuing to compete despite the ongoing court battle. The Court papers filed reveal the split goes back to early 2013, with the formal business partnership being dissolved in early august. Mike Phillips also tried to obtain an injunction to prevent Tripple X from competing at Hickstead CSIO. The complexities of global Emma Phillips said “ Its a very sad end to a highly successful partnership”.“it is now in the hands of the court.” Issue 5 • February 2014 • Everything Horse UK Magazine The case is expected to continue for some time and then to be settled out of court. 7