SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Rich Ricci can only get richer if he wins case

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Financier Rich Ricci can only get richer if he wins High Court case

He has amassed a £100 million fortune and owns a country house with its own vineyard, not to mention a string of star racehorses.

But that doesn’t mean that the aptly named financier Rich Ricci is prepared to turn a blind eye to a late payment — even if it’s only a few days overdue.

Anyone who doubts that fact need only study a legal action now unfolding in London’s High Court.

It’s been initiated by online casino specialist, Gaming Realms, in which Ricci owns more than 17 million shares, and concerns the sale of one its subsidiary companies for £11.5 million — £1.5 million of which, it claims, was still outstanding by the deadline for final payment on December 31.

When that payment allegedly failed to materialise, Gaming Realms, whose operations include an online version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, snapped into action — claiming payment of the £1.5 million, plus interest, just a week later, on January 6, from Malta-based River Game Operations, and its parent company, River Tech.

Aptly named financier Rich Ricci (pictured centre) could be adding to his £100million-fortune if he wins a High Court case [File photo]

The case at London’s High Court (pictured) was initiated by online casino specialist, Gaming Realms, in which Ricci owns more than 17 million shares, and concerns the sale of one its subsidiary companies for £11.5 million — £1.5 million of which, it claims, was still outstanding by the deadline for final payment on December 31. When that payment allegedly failed to materialise, Gaming Realm snapped into action — claiming payment of the £1.5 million, plus interest, just a week later, on January 6, from Malta-based River Game Operations, and its parent company, River Tech [Stock photo]

Ricci, 57, remains above the fray. ‘He thanks you for the opportunity to comment but has no comment,’ his spokesman tells me.

Born in Ohio and educated in the U.S., Ricci is now most at home in Kent, where he and his English wife Susannah, who have one son, restored a Grade I listed 17th-Century mansion after buying it in 2008.

Two years later, Ricci trousered more than £40 million at Barclays, where he was a key ally of its controversial American boss, Bob Diamond.

Never seen at the races without trademark trilby, dark glasses and one of his flamboyant Mr Toad suits, Ricci, now chief executive of City broker Panmure Gordon, remained unabashed by his good fortune, naming one of his horses ‘Fatcatinthehat’

Never seen at the races without trademark trilby, dark glasses and one of his flamboyant Mr Toad suits, Ricci, now chief executive of City broker Panmure Gordon, remained unabashed by his good fortune, naming one of his horses ‘Fatcatinthehat’.

The High Court fight may be less entertaining. ‘We are unable to comment in detail,’ a River Tech spokesman tells me, ‘save to observe that [the court action] is part of a long-running dispute between the parties, which includes proceedings commenced in November 2020 by River against Gaming Realms for sums which significantly exceed the present claim.’

 Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, who turns 77 tomorrow, wears his fame lightly. ‘He’s the guy I met at a party in Hampstead, and he was asking me about touring,’ the comedian Frank Skinner recalls. 

‘I’m saying: ‘Yeah, I do some 3,000 seaters … what do you do?’ 

He said: ‘I’m in a band’, so I said: ‘Would I have heard of them?’ 

He said: ‘They’re called Pink Floyd.’ Skinner adds: ‘He wasn’t a very rock star kind of a man.’ 

Dr Who’s autograph worth what! 

David Tennant, who plays a struggling actor in the BBC1 lockdown drama Staged, has found a lucrative sideline without having to leave home. 

I hear the former Doctor Who star is charging fans up to £97.50 for his autograph on a ‘mini’ poster. For that money, they had expected to meet him at a Comic Con event in Wales in March, but now will have to make do with the poster. 

And for as much as £112.50, fans can send him an item of their own to sign. Worth every penny, I’m sure. 

Actress Miriam Margolyes says she turned down appearing on Call The Midwife’s Christmas special owing to Covid fears. 

‘When they wanted to start filming it again, I wasn’t happy to do it as I didn’t feel it was safe because I’m vulnerable,’ she says. 

‘I’m old, I’m overweight and I have osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, aortic stenosis and asthma. I’ve got all kinds of health problems that would make me an instant corpse if I caught Covid. Although I’m old [she’s 79], I want to live a bit longer.’ 

Roll on the vaccine. 

 Snow Queen Helena on how to shiver in style

City ‘supermum’ Helena Morrissey proves her nerves of steel are not confined to the boardroom.

When it snowed at the weekend, the mother-of-nine rushed out of her ten-bedroom home in Berkshire to brave the elements in a Carolina Herrera outfit which, though floaty and stylish, did little to keep her warm.

‘I went out with a long-suffering daughter to help with the photo,’ Baroness Morrissey tells me. 

When it snowed at the weekend, City ‘supermum’ Helena Morrissey rushed out of her ten-bedroom home in Berkshire to brave the elements in a Carolina Herrera outfit which, though floaty and stylish, did little to keep her warm

‘Quick toss of the umbrella and I walked towards her and tripped over my skirt, rolling on the ground — but it made us all laugh.’

Describing it as her best Snow Queen outfit, 54-year-old Helena adds: ‘I did it for a bit of fun which we all badly need right now. 

Then a quick change before the snowball fight and snowman-making.’

Bernie Ecclestone’s future son-in-law, businessman Sam Palmer, admits he hardly gets any time with his fiancée, Petra. 

The 32-year-old daughter of the former F1 boss has four children — three with her ex-husband James Stunt, and one with Essex-born Sam. 

‘We don’t find couple time. We’re lucky to get 20 minutes of TV together a night,’ says Sam, 37, insisting: ‘We love it, though, and wouldn’t change it.’

Sharapova is no trophy girl  

Despite her many victories on the court, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova — who became world No.1 at the age of 18 — admits she hides all evidence of her sporting success at home.

‘The trophies are not displayed anywhere. Everyone who comes to my house spends the first 30 minutes looking at some art pieces, while I’m making them a cocktail or a glass of wine,’ says Maria, 33, who lives in California with her fiancé, Old Etonian art dealer Alex Gilkes.

‘Then after 30 minutes, they’re like, ‘What? Where are your … Don’t you play tennis?’ Because there is no evidence of sport in my home. No trophies, no pictures, no frames.

‘It’s all in my mind and all in my heart. I think that’s important more than anything else.’

Despite her many victories on the court, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova — who became world No.1 at the age of 18 — admits she hides all evidence of her sporting success at home [File photo]

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