Property tycoon Christian Candy has been accused of tax evasion in a bitter legal dispute over a loan to another property developer, Mark Holyoake.
The creators of the super-elite One Hyde Park complex near Harrods in Knightsbridge, west London, are being sued for damages by a rival businessman, Mark Holyoake, who is lifting the lid on their tax affairs in a £132m claim.
The multi-millionaire brothers, who are Conservative party donors, have been forced to provide a rare glimpse into their relationship, both business and personal, as part of a bitter legal dispute over a loan to another property developer, Mark Holyoake.
They say Holyoake is making allegations about tax evasion to force settlement of his claim and detract from business problems of his own.
In a dramatic twist, emails were read out in court that the claimants say show Nick acting as a shadow director of his brother’s firm. If the allegations are proven, Holyoake’s lawyers say the brothers could face a bill for unpaid taxes from HM Revenue and Customs.
Holyoake’s barrister, Anthony Trace, said: “We claim that the financial position of Nick Candy is being falsely stated. It’s all a matter of tax evasion.”
Holyoake is seeking damages, saying that after the defendants lent him about £12m at short notice to purchase a property, he was bullied and coerced into further disadvantageous financial arrangements.
The Candys deny making any threats of violence and describe all the accusations as “untrue, unsubstantiated and denied”. They stress that Nick Candy is not and has never been an ultimate or other owner of his brother’s Guernsey-based business, nor a director, employee or agent.
Witness statements from Nick and Christian Candy were submitted to the high court in London after questions were raised about how Nick came by his personal fortune, and the role he played in his brother’s CPC Group.
A highly profitable property empire, CPC — which takes its name from Christian’s initials — is best known for super-luxe London developments such as One Hyde Park, where the sale of apartments brought in £2bn.
In court Nick has been accused of secretly owning and running CPC jointly with Christian, receiving income from the business secretly in order to evade tax. This is vehemently denied.