Peter Hounam Investigates

Daily Mirror, Friday, June 4, 1993

IT was the gift that saddled John Major with a diplomatic headache… a prize stallion from the icy wastes of Central Asia.

The Premier didn’t want it. But when Downing Street hired horse dealer Ron Meddes to sort out an embarrassing wrangle over the $10,000 gift, they backed a loser.

backing a loser low res

It’s been interested in riding — and, in any case, Government rules prevent him from keeping the horse himself. Mr Niyazov became angry when the animal remained undelivered and started getting “flabby.” Britain blamed health regulations for the hold- up. But diplomatic sources said Mr Major simply didn’t know what to do with the Fiasco Into the fiasco stepped Meddes who had read of the problems.

For 54-year-old Meddes is a convicted crook — jailed for a £6 million City fraud. He is now alleged to have wrecked a West Country horse trainer’s business through non-payment of debts. And the bizarre affair has cast a shadow over the publicity circus planned for the thoroughbred’s arrival at Dover docks.

The stallion, named Maksat, was a 50th birthday gift to Mr Major from the president of the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan.

The Premier was said to be privately embarrassed when President Niyazov gave him the present during a visit. He contacted Downing Street who agreed a £6,000 deal to bring the stallion to Britain.

Mr Niyazov became angry when the animal remained undelivered and started getting “flabby.”

Britain blamed health regulations for the hold-up. But diplomatic sources said Mr Major simply didn’t know what to do with the animal.

Fiasco

Into the fiasco stepped Meddes who had read of the problems. He contacted Downing Street who agreed a £6,000 deal to bring the stallion to Britain. But no one seems to have checked on the horse dealer’s background.

But no one seems to have checked on the horse dealer’s background. Meddes, based at Epsom in Surrey, runs the Russian Horse Society and imports hunters and show jumpers from Russia and former Soviet republics.

backing a loser pic

Debts

One night, 20 of the horses disappeared from his stables— together with his hay and feed. Mr Davis claims Meddes owes him €30,000. “I was left with huge debts by Meddes and my business collapsed,” he said.

“He nearly caused a divorce between me and my wife. “

Last June, Meddes embarked on a new venture — rescuing the gift horse.

A British diplomat said at the time: “No one knows what to do with the bloody thing.

Meddes seemed to have the answers. The horse is now in quarantine in Moscow, but is due to arrive in Britain within a fortnight. He’ll join the Household Cavalry for royal ceremonial duties.

Meddes says he owes Mr Davis “nothing ‘ When the Mirror questioned him about his crooked background, he put down the phone.

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