Iranian prince files wine fraud lawsuit
14th February, 2013 by Rupert Millar
An Iranian prince has filed a lawsuit against his French business partner claiming the latter stole US$500,000 from their New York-based wine importer for his own use.
Cipriani Downtown, where Moreau is alleged to have bartered bottles of fine wine for free meals.
Prince Kamran Abbas-Vahid, who described himself in the court papers as “the grandson of Her Royal Highness Princess Asharf Pahlavi, the twin sister of the late Shah of Iran,” claims in the suit that his business partner, Charles Moreau, used company funds to pay for his rent in New York’s Financial District, his clothing, his cable bills and his daughter’s tuition.
Furthermore, Moreau is alleged to have taken thousands of dollars worth of wine from the cellars of Lions Wines and bartered them for meals at expensive restaurants such as Cipriani Downtown on West Broadway and Georgica in East Hampton.
General manager of Lions Wines, Alex Herringshaw, said in the affidavit that: “He (Moreau) would pay for his personal expenses but would not pay for business expenses like the rent, the storage, the phone bills, employees and taxes.”
According to the New York Daily News, the two went into business together in March 2011.
Each apparently agreed to invest $450,000 but Abbas-Vahid claims that Moreau did not put up all of his agreed share and then opened several bank accounts in the company name and forged the prince’s signature to make his deception easier.
The prince also claimed that Moreau is being pursued in France for a similar fraud case and for roughly the same amount of money, as well as being pursued by another business partner for failing to repay a $60,000 loan.