‘Lying’ Candy brothers see off £132m damages claim

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Dec 22, 2017
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Nick and Christian Candy were being sued over a property loan and accused of tax evasion and making threats

Philip Toscano/PA

The Candy brothers were branded “willing to lie” by a High Court judge who nevertheless backed the property tycoons in a bitter court battle over a £132 million claim (Alexi Mostrous writes).

Mr Justice Nugee dismissed all the claims brought by Mark Holyoake, a former business partner and seafood magnate, who had sued the brothers over a £12 million property development loan. Holyoake claimed he was intimidated and coerced by the brothers into taking out a series of unfair supplemental loan agreements that eventually forced him to sell a Belgravia-based mansion block for losses of more than £100 million.

During a seven-week trial Holyoake and his allies made a series of extraordinary allegations about the Candys, from tax evasion to fraud to physical threats against the claimant’s pregnant wife. The judge found that those allegations were baseless.

In a summary of his ruling, Judge Nugee noted that neither Holyoake nor the Candys “emerge from the trial with great credit”. In the judgment itself, he found that “each has been shown to have been willing to lie when they consider their commercial interests justify them doing so”.

Holyoake repeatedly lied, the judge found, and he and his associates resorted to forgery, deceit and impersonation.

But the Judge also said he was “entirely satisfied” that emails sent by Christian Candy to Holyoake contained “a series of deliberate lies”. Holyoake was not deceived by these lies, the judge found, which related to Christian Candy’s CPC group.

Lawyers for the Candys – led by Tim Lord, QC, and Thomas Plewman, QC, of Brick Court Chambers in the Temple – told the court that the brothers had spent £11.4 million on defending the action and were seeking between £5.7 and £6.8 million in costs. Holyoake’s legal team – led by Roger Stewart, QC, of 4 New Square in Lincoln’s Inn – disputed the cost figures.

The law firm acting for the Candy brothers was the Anglo-Canadian practice Gowling WLG, while Gunnercooke acted for Holyoake.

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