JP McManus loses US court bid over $5.2m backgammon winnings

DC-based US court of federal claims rejects Limerick businessman’s case

JP McManus loses US court bid over $5.2m backgammon winnings

JP McManus: Lawyer says appeal will be considered

JP McManus has reportedly lost his US court bid to recover $5.2 million (€4.9 million) withheld in taxes in gambling earnings he won from a US billionaire during a backgammon match.

The Washington DC-based US court of federal claims has rejected the Limerick businessman’s bid to recover the seven-figure sum withheld in taxes from $17.4 million he won from US businessman Alec Gores during a three-day backgammon match in California in 2012.

According to today’s Irish Times, Judge Nancy Firestone denied the Martinstown racehorse owner and philanthropist’s request to direct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to hand over the $5.2m that Mr Gores withheld on the money paid to Mr McManus on the basis that the winnings might be subject to US federal income tax.

Mr McManus’ US based lawyer Terry Giles said – according to the Irish Times – that they were “disappointed” by the ruling and that he planned to talk to his client to determine whether to appeal the decision, the reasons for which have not been made public as Judge Firestone’s judgement was sealed by the court before being entered on Friday.

A redacted judgement will be published at a later date, according to the report.

“Obviously it is a delicate issue and everything needs to be reviewed. We have a while...before we have to appeal. Everything will be taken into consideration,” said the Texas based Mr Giles.

The IRS had earlier claimed that Mr McManus did not qualify for a tax exemption on the $17.4m made from betting on a “serious backgammon match” as he was not a “resident of a contracting state” under the double taxation treaty between Ireland and the US.

Mr McManus had argued that his winnings should be exempt from US income tax under the treaty because he was an Irish citizen who paid the domicile levy of €200,000 to Ireland in 2012.