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Property Developer Nick Candy Defends Tax Affairs in High Court Trial

Property Developer Nick Candy Defends Tax Affairs in High Court Trial

Nick Candy, Property Developer

Property developer Nick Candy has been accused in the High Court of saving “enormous sums” of tax by being a secret partner in his brother Christian Candy’s luxury property business.

The brothers, who are best known for the landmark London super-luxury development One Hyde Park, are at the centre of a £132m damages case being brought against them by businessman Mark Holyoake.

(Photo attribution: By Pshafey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)


Prolonged campaign of ‘intimidation’ is claimed

Mr Holyoake has said the 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. The brothers deny these accusations.

Mr Holyoake accuses 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 deny all of Mr Holyoake’s accusations. Christian Candy described himself at the High Court in London as “a hard negotiator when I need to be” – but said the accusations against him were “nothing short of preposterous”.

Christian Candy denies co-ownership allegations

Christian Candy was questioned over whether “vast sums of money” would have been payable to HM Revenue & Customs if his brother had been a co-owner of CPC, the property company that he owns.

Roger Stewart, QC, for Mr Holyoake, suggested to Christian Candy that he and his brother Nick were jointly involved in the running of the Guernsey-registered CPC Group, which would have tax implications.

He produced a number of emails which he said indicated that Nick Candy had acted on behalf of CPC and had promoted deals for the company. One appeared to show a company director seeking Nick Candy’s sign-off on a financial transaction.

Mr Stewart said to Christian Candy during cross-examination in the High Court: “If, contrary to your evidence, CPC has always been a partnership between you and your brother, enormous sums of [UK] tax have unlawfully been evaded.”

Christian Candy repeatedly denied that his brother was a co-owner of his multimillion-pound empire and told the court that CPC “is 100% owned by me.”

“My brother has never been an owner, director or shadow director of CPC,” he said more than once. “Everyone who knows Nick and I knows that CPC is . . . named after my initials.”

However Christian Candy admitted that if his brother was indeed a co-owner of CPC Group then “I believe money would be owed to the Inland Revenue.” He told the court that CPC’s assets were valued at up to £1.2bn in 2011 after finalising the development of One Hyde Park.

Move to Monaco was for tax reasons

Christian Candy was also asked questions about his move to Monaco in 2003, where he lived for 12 years.

“The reason you go to Monaco is to stop paying for hospitals and roads in this country,” Mr Stewart said. “You regard payment of tax as something other people do.”

Mr Candy agreed that he had moved to Monaco for tax reasons.

The case continues.

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