Christian Candy tells court he follows rules on tax exile 'religiously'

Rob Davies
Christian Candy, along with his brother Nick, is being sued by Mark Holyoake in a dispute over a £12m loan. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA

Property tycoon Christian Candy has described as “artistic exaggeration” a claim he made on film that, if true, would have called into question his status as a Monaco tax exile.

The billionaire was testifying in a £132m high court case brought by businessman Mark Holyoake, who alleges that Candy and brother Nick extorted and intimidated him in a dispute over a £12m loan to buy a luxury hotel.

The Guardian previously revealed that a promotional video for the super-luxury One Hyde Park development featuring the Candy brothers was edited after intervention from their tax adviser. A new version was made after the brothers were told comments made in the footage could raise “huge issues” with HM Revenue & Customs.

As a tax exile, Christian Candy can only spend a few months a year in the UK but in one version of the video he claimed to have visited One Hyde Park on a weekly basis for five years. He told the court this had been “artistic exaggeration”, adding that he followed the rules that allowed him to remain a tax exile “religiously”.

Christian was also forced to deny that Nick was the joint owner of his business CPC Group, an ownership structure the court had earlier heard would incur “vast sums” of tax.

Roger Stewart QC, for Holyoake, said Christian’s transfer of £10m in cash and an apartment at One Hyde Park to Nick were made “in recognition of your joint ownership of CPC”, as a share of profit.

He questioned the fact that the original “deeds of gift”, documents used for large cash or asset gifts, have gone missing.

Christian told the court that the transfers to Nick were made at the request of their dying father. He insisted he was simply trying to increase the wealth of his brother, who is married to ex-Neighbours actress Holly Valance. “I want for nothing in my life and my father wanted Nick to be equally wealthy,” he said.

Holyoake, a former university friend of Nick, is suing the brothers, who he says intimidated him into paying back £37m on a £12m loan, threatening his safety and that of his pregnant wife.

The Candy brothers vigorously deny the claims.

Christian Candy admitted telling Holyoake to “fuck off and die” at a meeting after the loan had been repaid but denied Stewart’s claim that he had employed “thugs” to intimidate Holyoake.

“I said fuck off and die. It wasn’t an instruction to take a long walk off a short pier,” Christian said. He said it meant :“Get out of my office.”

Stewart asked Christian Candy if he had known that employees of a security firm he hired to advise on debt collection had been arrested on suspicion of bribery.

Candy insisted he did not know, saying: “I live in Monaco. It’s difficult to get British TV down there.”

Stewart cited emails in which Candy discussed employing debt collectors and questioned why CPC Group had kept no record of who was hired.

“If these were legitimate individuals as opposed to shady hoodlums there would be some record of you approaching debt collectors,” he said.

Candy denied this.

Candy disputed a further suggestion that he is “someone who is simply not prepared to have one version of the truth. You need multiple versions for different audiences.”

The case also featured a minor dispute over whether Candy had been eating sweets during a meeting with Holyoake. “It’s been made out I’m some sort of James Bond villain eating bon-bons in a hotel,” said Candy.

The case continues.

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