Christian Candy's finance chief denies 'good cop, bad cop' game

Julia Kollewe
Christian Candy: described in court as ‘a very confident businessman’ and ‘very direct’ by the finance director of CPC. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

The finance director of Christian Candy’s property firm CPC played a “good cop, bad cop” game with the businessman Mark Holyoake, the high court has heard.

Tim Dean, the finance director of CPC, appeared in the high court in London on Tuesday to give evidence against claims brought by Holyoake, a former university friend of Nick Candy. Holyoake claims the billionaire brothers threatened him after he took out a £12m loan to fund a property redevelopment in Belgravia in 2011 and intimidated him into paying back £37m. The Candy brothers have denied the charges in their entirety.

A day after interrogating Nick Candy, Roger Stewart QC, for Holyoake, asked Dean: “You were aware that improper pressure had been applied to Mr Holyoake?” Dean, who has been finance director of Guernsey-based CPC since 2006, denied this.

Referring to a telephone conversation between Christian Candy, Holyoake and Dean in May 2012, Stewart argued: “This is an example of your ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine – if you don’t do what I say softly, I bring in the hard man Christian Candy.”

Dean strongly denied this. He said: “Chris is a very confident businessman. He’s just very direct. He doesn’t get irate, he doesn’t get angry, he just cuts to the chase.”

Challenged again, Dean said: “We were trying to come up with a solution ... It would have frustrated Chris because he [Holyoake] was on a completely different tack.” He said Holyoake’s behaviour “antagonised Chris”, whereupon Stewart suggested: “Antagonising Chris – that’s a card that you thought to use?”

Dean rejected this, saying: “I was trying to mediate a way through this.” He said he wanted to negotiate a solution in an attempt to avoid a court battle, but Candy said in July 2012 that there was no way around litigation.

Repeatedly challenged by the QC as to whether Candy had shouted at Holyoake and called him a “pathological liar” and “scumbag” during the telephone calls that Dean attended, the finance chief insisted: “There was no shouting on calls.” But he then admitted that the term “pathological liar” had come up. “It was said as a simple matter of fact.”

Stewart also suggested that the loan extension fees were “referred to internally as penalties”. Dean replied: “Mark talked about them as penalties. I was very clear that they were extension fees that had been agreed.”

The court heard that in June 2012, CPC asked Holyoake to pay £1m in return for a two-week extension to the loan. Dean said that the sum was going to be deducted from the loan. “Mark actually said he was going to make the payment ... It was Mark who suggested that it was a penalty.”

Referring to an email sent by Dean at the time, the QC asked: “Why did you need to tell Christian Candy ‘you need to be careful not to disrupt his refinance’? The reason you were saying that was you knew it was extremely likely that Christian Candy would disrupt it.” Dean denied this.

The court had previously heard an allegation that a property agent at Savills had passed a confidential property valuation, prepared for Holyoake’s villa in Ibiza, to the Candy brothers. Dean was asked whether he knew about this at the time. He said he didn’t think so, and later added that CPC had not “interfered in the valuation”.

A spokesman for CPC said Holyoake repaid the six-month loan after 28 months in 2014. The businessman is seeking £132m from the property mogul brothers in lost profits, loan overpayments, legal costs and aggravated damages.

The case continues.

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