Nick Candy has denied allegations that the distinction between his business empire and that of his brother is “pure fantasy”, as a £132m high court tussle with a former university friend delved into the duo’s tax affairs.
Businessman Mark Holyoake is claiming in court that the brothers threatened him, after he took out a £12m loan from Christian Candy’s property firm CPC Group to fund a luxury development. The Candy brothers deny this claim.
Holyoake’s legal team has repeatedly sought to show that the brothers, who he claims intimidated him into paying back £37m, were jointly in charge of CPC during his business dealings with them.
The ownership of CPC has tax ramifications for the brothers. The court has previously heard that “enormous sums” would be due to HM Revenue & Customs if Nick Candy, who runs interior design group Candy & Candy, is proved to be the co-owner of Guernsey-based CPC.
On Monday, Holyoake’s legal team challenged Candy over the ownership of CPC. Roger Stewart QC, for Holyoake, referred to a meeting in Guernsey that both brothers and their business associates attended, pointing to an email from Christian Candy that said: “All directors, including Nick and I, are in Guernsey this Wednesday coming.”
Stewart said: “This is showing the reality that this false distinction between Candy & Candy, the company which makes no money, and CPC, the company which makes lots of money, is entirely a charade.”
Nick Candy said there was a distinction between the two companies’ projects, to which Stewart said: “Mr Candy, it is pure fantasy, isn’t it?” Candy denied that this was the case.
Stewart pointed to an email sent by Nick Candy about the possibility of his brother and himself becoming involved in Holyoake’s plans to develop luxury London property Grosvenor House Gardens.
“My directors will sort it out,” Candy said in one email.
Nick Candy said he did not mean he had influence over CPC directors, insisting he had used “loose language” that he corrected in subsequent emails.
Stewart said Candy’s comment was “habitual language, not a mistake or an oddity”.
“‘My directors’ means people who are subordinate to you,” he added.
Candy denied this.
Stewart highlighted an email sent by Nick Candy to Holyoake about the possibility of a loan from CPC in which he said: “We have been burnt in the past.”
Candy said this was a reference to him and his brother “separately”, rather than an indication that he exerted any control over CPC.
“It doesn’t look as if you’re drawing much of a distinction between yourself and CPC,” said Stewart.
“There is a distinction,” Candy countered.
He said his involvement with the loan dispute was because he felt an “element of responsibility” for introducing his brother to Holyoake, who he told the high court had been running a “Ponzi scheme”. Holyoake is seeking £132m from the brothers in lost profits, loan overpayments, legal costs and aggravated damages.
Candy denied making physical threats against people, including a travel agent he hired to book flights for family members to attend their wedding in Los Angeles.
He said he had not threatened to “send the boys round” in a dispute over flights that he paid for but claimed has not been provided.
Candy also denied claims, made by former C&C employee Clive Hyman, that he sacked a staff member on the spot when he discovered they had multiple sclerosis.
“I find the allegations disgusting, they are made up to embarrass me and my family,” he said.
He said he and the employee were still friends and had recently discussed whether Candy could pass songs written by the former staff member to music mogul Simon Cowell.
Nick Candy also denied that he told a personal assistant that he would “cut your tits off” after she made a mistake.
“I don’t speak like that,” he said.
The Candy brothers deny the claims made by Holyoake. The case continues.