Judgement goes for Edwards

Civil Court of Qatar ruling clears Tracy Edwards, allowing her to lodge personal injury claim

Monday April 3rd 2006, Author: Sean O'Brien, Location: United Kingdom
Tracy Edwards has won a landmark ruling in her legal battle in Qatar to clear her name after her Oryx Quest 2005 yacht race was left with £2.6m of debts.

The ruling from the Civil Court of Qatar, in Doha cleared Edwards of financial responsibility following the compulsory liquidation at the end of 2005 of her company Quest International Sports Events Ltd, which ran the Oryx round-the-world yacht race.

This leaves Tracy Edwards, 43, now of south-west London, free to pursue a personal injury claim against the Qatari Government in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

In London yesterday Edwards received confirmation of the judgement from her legal team in Doha and she said: "This is such an important result for all those who worked so hard to make the Oryx Quest 2005 race the huge success that it was. It is important to me, and those who have supported me through the past two years, to prove that I did nothing wrong and to set the record well and truly straight. This is the first step in our legal action to justly compensate the Quest creditors, my team and me, for the debt that is owed".

Edwards' company went bust after £6million of sponsorship was not paid by Qatar Sports International (QSI), which was set up by the now Crown Prince of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Khalid Al Thani, to promote the image of the Gulf State. QSI was then dissolved at the beginning of 2005.

The £6million was promised in a legal agreement as part of a four year £38m sailing programme in the Gulf state.

When QSI reneged on the deal, Edwards was left with the seven-figure debt, which included $500,000 (£286,200) prize money to the winner, Britain's Brian Thompson, and the second place prize of $350,000 (£200,340) to Tony Bullimore.

Edwards personally borrowed $14.5 million (£8.3 million) to ensure the success of the event, believing that agreements with QSI would ultimately be honoured. In the two years it took to set up the round the world race all the suppliers and employees had been paid in full, it was only after the race was over that QSI refused to pay and Quest was unable to meet the final liabilities owed.

As a consequence Edwards was left with substantial personal debts and was forced into bankruptcy shortly afterwards in September 2005, and lost her £1m home in Reading.

The amazing and incredible story of her recent time in Qatar, the Oryx Quest 2005 round-the-world yacht race and the true story surrounding her recent bankruptcy, will form the basis of a book and major TV documentary to be released in 2007.

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