A hotel tycoon accused of not paying a “finders fee” while raising £200 million for his latest venture in Leicester Square has been exonerated after a judge said the deal never existed.
Jasminder Singh OBE was sued in the High Court by consultants Rajnikant Hansraj Mehta and Pravin Mokar Shah, who claimed they were owed £2 million under an agreement sealed with a handshake in the bar of the May Fair Hotel.
Mr Singh’s Edwardian Hotels London group, which was founded in 1977 and owns The May Fair and the Radisson Blu Edwardian, was raising funds for a new hotel in Leicester Square, which is due to open in 2019.
But the businessman told a trial in July this year that although he met Mr Mehta and Mr Shah, who were acting for accountancy firm Parker Lloyd Capital, at the May Fair in 2012, a deal was never struck.
Ruling in the multi-millionaire hotelier’s favour, Mr Justice Lavender said: “I am satisfied that no contract was made at the 2012 meeting and that Mr Singh did not confirm the existence of such a contract at any subsequent meeting.”
The court heard that he had a habit of meeting business associates in the bar at The May Fair, and would sometimes strike deals which were sealed with a handshake rather than official contracts.
Mr Mehta and Mr Shah claimed they had introduced US insurers MetLife to Mr Singh, helping to secure a £200 million refinancing package which would bankroll the Leicester Square project and secure the company’s future.
But Mr Singh disputed their involvement in the deal, telling the court while he had met them he had been “wary” as they “had a reputation for not being trustworthy”.