Candy Brothers Win Court Battle
Candy Brothers Win Court Battle
Property developers Nick and Christian Candy, the brothers who are best known for the landmark London super-luxury development One Hyde Park, have defeated a £132m damages action in the High Court in London.
The pair were at the centre of a £132m case brought against them by businessman Mark Holyoake.
Brothers accused of prolonged campaign of “intimidation”
Mr Holyoake had claimed the Candy brothers had conducted a prolonged campaign of “intimidation” over the repayment of a £12m property loan, which was made to him by Christian Candy’s company CPC.
Mr Holyoake approached the brothers in 2011 for a short-term loan to finance the purchase of Grosvenor Gardens House, a mansion block in London’s Belgravia district, which he proposed to refurbish and sell on at a profit.
Originally borrowing £12m from the brothers, he ended up repaying CPC Group £37m. He says that the Candy brothers were involved in a conspiracy to obtain the building at a lower value or to extort “very significant” sums from him.
Mr Holyoake accused Christian Candy of threatening to “take a wrecking ball” to his assets, and of telling him during a confrontation that “you need to think about your pregnant wife,” saying he “would feel terrible if anything were to go wrong during the pregnancy.” Mr Holyoake’s wife had a previous experience of a miscarriage.
The brothers denied all of Mr Holyoake’s accusations. Christian Candy described himself at the High Court as “a hard negotiator when I need to be” – but said the accusations against him were “nothing short of preposterous.”
The brothers, who attended court most days, also heard former associates accuse them of tax evasion, fraud and workplace bullying.
Who are the Candy brothers?
The Candy Brothers have never disclosed their wealth but are believed to be worth more than a billion pounds.
They first began developing properties in the mid-nineties on a part-time basis – Nick Candy then worked in advertising and Christian Candy was an investment banker – but after a few years were successful enough to make property development a full-time pursuit.
The brothers’ most high profile development, One Hyde Park, involved the demolition of an existing building in Knightsbridge and the construction of 86 luxury flats with a reported starting price of £20m. The penthouse property at One Hyde Park was said to have been sold for £140m.
In 2010, the brothers lost millions of dollars on a property deal in California, admitting that they had overpaid for the Beverley Hills site, but were also undermined by the collapse of one of their investors, the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Trial does no great credit to either side, says judge
Mr Justice Nugee ruled that Mr Holyoake’s claims were unproven and that there had been no undue duress, influence, intimidation or unlawful interference with economic interests – but he also added that neither side emerged “from the trial with great credit.”
“Each [of the protagonists] has been shown to have been willing to lie when they considered their commercial interests justify them doing so,” said the judge, adding that Mr Holyoake had “repeatedly lied” and “he and his associates resorted to forgery, deceit and impersonation.”
Mr Justice Nugee also said that Christian Candy, “with the encouragement of his brother, told a series of deliberate lies to Mr Holyoake in November 2011.”
The brothers are now seeking more than £11m in costs from Mr Holyoake, who was ordered to pay half the sum in January.
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