The High Court has reserved judgment on whether to continue freezing the assets of a Qatari sheikh accused of being a serial defaulter on debts run up at auction.
Central to the application against Sheikh
Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani - "reputedly the world's largest
collector of objets d'art", the court heard - is a claim for $19.7m
relating to coins bought in the record-breaking Prospero collection
sale of Greek coins in New York in January this year.
At the High Court in London, Jeffrey Gruder
QC, representing A.H. Baldwin and Sons Ltd, Dmitry Markov trading
as Dmitry Markov Coins and N&M Numismatics LLC, likened Sheikh
Saud to an "inveterate gambler" who could not stop himself spending
millions on objects of his desire before walking away from his
In contrast, the sheikh's QC, Stephen Rubin,
denying the accusations on the sheikh's behalf, said he had been
"trying to pay" for the coins for the past nine months. "There are
no doubt timing issues which go to why he cannot pay at the moment,
but that's not a reason to make a freezing order against someone,"
previously in ATG, Baldwin still hold the coins pending
payment. In linked proceedings in the United States they are
insisting that the sheikh should be bound by his bid at
The case reached the High Court as the auctioneers' lawyers
urged Mr Justice Haddon-Cave to continue an asset-freezing
injunction imposed on the sheikh, who is a cousin of the ruling
emir of Qatar, on October 9.