Leon Tsoukernik Wins First Round of $2million Court Battle11 months ago
Leon Tsoukernik, the multi-millionaire owner of Kings Casino in Rozvadov which is set to host the WSOP Europe festival this month and next, has seen 8 of the 10 charges brought against him in a $2million case by Aussie high-stakes pro Matt Kirk thrown out of court.
Kirk claimed that he loaned Tsoukernik $3million during a high-stakes cash game in May of this year, alleging that only $1million of has being returned – with his legal team denoting the specific times at which cash or chips changed hands in the lawsuit filed in June of this year.
The Australian had lost $1.5million the previous day to Tsoukernik and claims he paid his debt in full in poker chips, but District Judge Linda Marie Bell this week ruled that gambling debts are not enforceable in law, and that “whether in the form of casino chips, cash, or gold bars, Mr. Tsoukernik received a loan for wagering against Mr. Kirk.”
The ten counts which Kirk and his lawyers had sought to enforce in court included ‘breach of contract’ for each loan, as well as ‘fraudulent inducement’ and ‘unjust enrichment', and although the majority of the counts were dismissed, Judge Bell indicated in her ruling that Kirk could still pursue redress - along with potential punitive damages - on the ‘fraudulent inducement’ and ‘unjust enrichment’ accusations.
She also took the line that, “Tsoukernik entered into the contract intending to use its unenforceability to refuse repayment. If proven, this could place Mr. Tsoukernik at the greatest moral fault in this matter,” and Kirk’s lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, plan to focus their pursuit of the cash on those two claims, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal website.
“We’re pleased with the court’s ruling that we are able to maintain our lawsuit and seek damages from the defendant,” Schonfeld said after the ruling.
Kirk claimed that he recorded each loan via sms to Tsoukernik during the high-stakes heads-up battle – also claiming that video evidence from the Aria’s security cameras which would back up his case.
Tsoukernik, through his lawyers, had stated of the lawsuit: ‘While Leon will not comment on the specific issues raised… because there is an ongoing litigation where he is represented by counsel, he would like to ensure everyone that he will provide a detailed explanation of this dispute upon its final determination.’
The statement ended: ‘He has a lot of respect for the American legal system and a lot of confidence that justice will prevail.’
His Las Vegas lawyer, Paul Bernard, claimed this week that the remaining ‘charges’ should also have been thrown out, according to court papers, and responded to the judge’s recent decision by stating:
“My client intends to defend vigorously the two remaining claims and to pursue claims of his own as well.”
Leon Tsoukernik has become one of the biggest players in the poker world, his Kings Casino on the Czech-German border attracting a host of top name stars and huge events and Leon himself cashing in several high-roller tournaments.
He has, however, faced a lot of criticism for his seeming unwillingness to settle some large poker debts, the Kirk case preceded by a similar debt claimed by Elton Tsang, in a Calvin Ayre interview.
When asked to comment on Tsang’s claims, Tsoukernik ‘sent a statement to Lee Davy essentially calling Tsang a liar and implying that people often try to take advantage of him because of his position’, Highstakesdb.com reported.
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