As DealMakerz reported in September last year, Billionaire property developers Nick and Christian Candy aka ‘The Bling Brothers’ are in an ongoing, brutal legal battle with business partner Mark Holyoake – and things are starting to get ugly.
A court heard this week that the brothers allegedly made threats against Holyoakes pregnant wife and warned they would sell on a disputed loan to Russian gangsters who “would not think twice” about using violence.
The trial centres on a joint venture between the parties that quickly turned sour.
Holyoake approached older brother Christian Candy for a £12million loan, claiming he wanted his property expertise and backing to fund a deal to develop 42-apartment mansion block ‘Grosvenor Gardens House’ in Belgravia, Central London. Holyoake then claimed the brothers made aggressive demands for early repayment, forcing him into paying £37m to settle the loan and sell the property to a Singaporean fund at a loss.
Representing Holyoake in court on Wednesday, Roger Stewart QC said the purpose of the intimidation was to “undervalue” Grosvenor Gardens House and extract “very significant sums of money” from Holyoake. This amounted to “blackmail and extortion”, he claimed.
The Candys’ QC Tim Lord hit back at Holyoake’s claims, “Mr Holyoake is a man…prepared to say different things to different people depending on whether he was trying to borrow money from them or avoid paying it back to them…the figures are being dishonestly massaged in order to send out the right bottom line to the reader. That’s a profoundly dishonest thing to do.”
In a bizarre move last year, Holyoake undertook a self-administered polygraph test to try and strengthen his case against the brothers. The test included Mr. Holyoake being asked if Christian Candy repeatedly made personal threats, including the allegation that Candy said: “I will ruin your f***ing life”, “I will nuke you” and “I will hold your feet to the flames.”
A spokesman for the Candys’ said, “It is a sad reflection of the weakness of Mr Holyoake’s claim that he is now relying on a polygraph test to prove his case rather than having it properly decided in a court of law.”
Now the case is being decided in court and the accusations are ugly; the brothers are alleged to have said they would “take a wrecking ball to his life and leave [him] with nothing”, Christian Candy is alleged to have told Holyoake to “think about his pregnant wife” and that he would “feel terrible if anything were to go wrong during the pregnancy for her or the baby”.
DMZ are not sure who to side with on the case. It appears so entrenched in malice and ill-judgement from both sides, we wish the court luck in picking out slithers of truth from the various wild accusations.
We do note Holyoake’s history of ‘colourful’ business ventures; in 2010 his British Seafood’s company went into administration and venture capitalists 3i had their £75million stake wiped out. The firm proceeded to issue a lawsuit against the businessman, alleging that Holyoake informed them his supplier had ‘the best haddock facility in the world’ – a critical advantage in the competitive world of fish supply – it was later discovered the factory was fabricated by Holyoake and didn’t exists. A spokesperson for Holyoake denies these claims.
Whatever the outcome, the sooner these kind of lawsuits are over the better. It may make interesting reading as an unaffected onlooker, but a multi-million pound dispute in a millionaire versus billionaire court battle isn’t exactly glowing publicity for London’s real estate community. The case continues.