Salahis hold Indo-US polo match, create another controversy | world | Hindustan Times
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Salahis hold Indo-US polo match, create another controversy

world Updated: Jun 13, 2010 21:28 IST

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Stoking yet another controversy, the infamous Salahi couple, who gatecrashed into the White House dinner hosted for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, held a Indo-US polo match in Washington without any official participation.

The event's website listed its key sponsor as Kingfisher Beer, but the company's chief executive said it was not a sponsor.

Billed by Tareq and Michaele Salahi as the "best sporting experience in the US and considered the best in the world by the highest standards of polo," not more than a few hundred people attended the event.

"We are not sponsoring this event and have informed the people managing this event of that," said Yashpal Singh, president and chief executive of Mendocino Brewing Company, the parent company of Kingfisher.

"We have sent legal notices to this effect, and he keeps on advertising us as a sponsor. I don't know what world he's living in," Singh told The Washington Post.

Indian Embassy in Washington signed on as an official sponsor last year. But after the couple attended the White House state dinner for the Indian prime minister without an official invitation, the embassy withdrew.

"Government of India/Embassy of India are not associated with the America's Polo Cup event in any manner," an Indian Embassy spokesman said.

In years past, the Salahi-run event has featured matches between a team of US players and another team from elsewhere.

England was the first, then Italy and Australia. Sponsors such as Land Rover and Cartier flocked to the first event. But as news of the couple's troubles with vendors and dozens of lawsuits began accumulating across the region, sponsors became fewer.

Salahis say that the proceeds from the match goes to the US polo league and some of its future charitable activities, but their last year's fund raising is still under investigation.

The Salahis had gatecrashed into the State Dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honour of Singh on November 24.

They were later subjected to investigation by the Secret Service and even subpoenaed by a Congressional committee to testify before it on the gate crashing event that was widely carried in the US media.

The couple was also spotted near the White House during the second State Dinner of Obama last month.