Schelstraete Equine Lawyers launches a new sport horse investment service

In any other line of business, whether it being purchasing a business, investing in real estate or even hiring high level employees, you would naturally do a certain amount of due diligence pre-sale, examine the legal and financial consequences of your purchase and then draft and negotiate and adapted agreement.

For reasons pertaining to the way the horse market works, based on a certain amount of trust in relationship, many buyers invest without doing any pre-purchase due diligence.

Unfortunately, recent cases and litigation involving investing in sport horses show that simply trusting people is not sufficient. Eric Lamaze, Canadian Olympic showjumper, is facing a lawsuit by two of his long term owners who are accusing him of creating a scheme to “induce plaintiffs to transfer large sums of money to his companies, purportedly for the purchase of horses for investment purposes”, to “deceive plaintiffs regarding the purchase of the horses” and ultimately “betraying them regarding their sale”.

In addition to this, investments are being increasingly subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-laundering regulations requiring that you check where your money is going.

Based on our significant experience in equine litigation, we have created the first sport horse investment service around four axes:

  • Pre-sale due diligence covering all issues related to the sport horse such as vet, sport, breeding, ownership history and seller identity and legal structure,

  • Legal, financial and tax analysis regarding the purchase and recommendations of how to structure the purpose and optimize your investment,

  • Drafting a protective sales agreement based on the issues uncovered during the due diligence operations.

  • Post-sale & change of owner formalities.

In a recent case, one of our clients was interested in investing in a high-level show-jumping stallion.

We were able to determine that the person that the client was about to pay the sales price to was not the actual owner of the horse which was not in line with our clients’ anti-corruption regulation. In addition, we discovered that the seller had also taken a stock of straws and had planned to continue to sell it after the sale.

We were therefore able to draft an adapted sales agreement including specific distribution rights for the sperm collected by the seller pre-sale.

Thanks to our international network of specialised equine law firms and our unique expertise in equine litigation, we provide this investment service in an efficient and discreet manner so that you may move forward with the sale as quick as possible.

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