Nick and Christian Candy had been accused of extortion, blackmail and intimidation by Mark Holyoake but the pair were today cleared after a messy trial, which revealed personal details about the life and business of the two brothers.
Delivering the verdict, the judge said: “None of the protagonists emerge from this trial with great credit” and added all had “been shown to have been willing to lie when they consider their commercial interests justify them doing so”.
The Candy brothers have famously developed some of the most expensive properties in London, including the One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge (pictured).
It started with a loan
The claim originated from a £12m loan Holyoake took from Christian Candy’s business in 2011 for the redevelopment of a mansion block.
Holyoake claimed the brothers then threatened to make him pay £37m in interest and penalties related to the loan amid a campaign of threats and intimidation.
He tried to sue for £132m in damages, but the Candys were cleared of all charges.
The judge agreed with the brothers’ claim that Holyoake had lied about his wealth.
He said Holyoake did not have the £120m fortune he had claimed in a statement of assets and said a threat by Christian Candy – to “take a wrecking ball” to Holyoake’s assets – was not unlawful.
Holyoake also accused the brothers of evading millions in tax – the Candys denied the claims.
After the hearing, the Candys said: “It has taken a great deal of time and effort to win this case and it has caused unwarranted damage to our personal and business lives.
“The claim should never have been brought. We look forward to time more positively spent with our families and in our respective businesses.”
The brothers are now seeking more than £11m in costs from Holyoake.
Holyoake said he intends to launch an appeal.