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MTC Demands Rs 1.8 Billion in Legal Battle



MTC Demands Rs 1.8 Billion in Legal Battle
Image source: Le Mauricien

The Mauritius Turf Club (MTC), a historic organizer of horse racing events, has filed a claim of Rs 1.8 billion against the State, the municipality of Port Louis, and the COIREC, alleging illegal termination of contract, unjust enrichment, and a conspiracy to deprive it of its rights and properties.

This legal action marks a significant escalation in the dispute between the MTC and Mauritian authorities.

The MTC claims that its forced cessation of activities was the result of a conspiracy orchestrated by these entities in collusion with others, favoring the entry of a new race organizer, People’s Turf Plc, and effectively eliminating the MTC from the Mauritian horse racing scene.

The MTC, with over two centuries of existence and a close relationship with the Champ-de-Mars and horse racing in Mauritius, is focusing its claim on the “illegal” termination of a concession contract signed with the Port Louis municipality in 2008.

This contract granted the MTC exclusive use of the Champ-de-Mars for 20 years. The MTC alleges that it has invested heavily in the development and maintenance of the Champ-de-Mars over the years, making horse racing a significant part of the island’s cultural heritage.

The MTC claims to have suffered substantial financial losses, including rental income, the value of its properties, and investments in Champ-de-Mars infrastructure.

Regarding the COIREC, a company established by the government shortly after the concession termination, the MTC accuses it of unjust enrichment at the MTC’s expense.

The MTC claims that the COIREC has benefited from infrastructure built by the MTC, forcing its subsidiary, MTCSL, to pay rent to use these facilities for race organization.

The MTC is also seeking significant compensation from the COIREC for these damages.

The total amount of damages claimed by the MTC adds up to Rs 1,853,570,171, including rental income for the years 2022-2023, loss of rental income for the period 2028-2048, property values, investments in infrastructure, revenue losses from land sales in Floréal, interests, and liquidation fees for the MTCSL.

For the COIREC, the claim includes the rental income for race meetings in the years 2022-2025.

The MTC alleges a conspiracy involving the State, the COIREC, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), and other entities to eliminate the MTC from the Mauritian horse racing scene.

The MTC claims that this conspiracy aimed to favor the entry of an inexperienced company, People’s Turf Plc, whose principal owner, Jean-Michel Lee Shim, has deep political ties and financial interests in the betting industry, to the detriment of the MTC and the integrity of horse racing.

Source: Le Mauricien

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