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Excalibur Almaz founders sued


A Japanese businessman is suing two of the founders of Manx space firm Excalibur Almaz, claiming they misled him into investing almost $50 million in the firm.


Takafumi Horie says he’s taking court action against Art Dula (pictured) and J. Buckner Hightower because they allegedly defrauded him out of the cash.


Mr Horie claims Mr Dula told him he could develop a private commercial space program to carry cargo, scientific experiments and people into low Earth orbit to the International Space Station and other destinations.


But the lawsuit in America says the space program was a sham because the Russian government forbade the spacecraft being modified.


In his case, Mr Horie says the Almaz capsules, which had been stored in a hangar in Jurby, couldn’t be used for anything other than display purposes.


He claims under a purchase contract with Russia, none of the four capsules or two space stations could have been modified to make them spaceworthy.


But he says he wasn’t told that when he paid $49 million to buy into the Manx-based firm.


The Japanese entrepreneur, in legal papers filed in Harris County in Texas, describes Excalibur Almaz as a complex scheme to take his money.

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