Nick Candy paid Katy Perry £1.2m to sing at his wedding, court told

Juliette Garside
Katy Perry on stage in California this week. She performed at Candy’s wedding in 2012. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Katy Perry was paid £1.2m to sing at property tycoon Nick Candy’s wedding to Holly Valance, the high court has heard.

Candy married Valance, a singer and TV celebrity, in 2012 at a lavish four-day event in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, during which the pop star performed a 45-minute set. The 300 guests included Elton John, Simon Cowell and princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Questioned about the source of his wealth, Candy told the court on Friday that the expense was not typical of his lifestyle, adding: “Hopefully I won’t get married again.”

Billionaire brothers Nick and Christian Candy are being sued for £132m in damages by former business associate Mark Holyoake. They deny using blackmail and intimidation to extort repayments of £37m on a £12m loan.

The dispute has destroyed a once close friendship between Nick Candy and Holyoake, who shared a rented house at university. Candy, who saw Holyoake every few weeks before their relationship turned sour, said he had been surprised to learn during the trial that one of his friend’s nicknames for him was “clown Candy”. He had been aware of other names, including one from the cast of the TV soap EastEnders.

“There was banter. I did not know I was called ‘clown Candy’. He called me Ricky Butcher because he thought I was thick as two short planks.”

Nick Candy with his wife, Holly Valance. Photograph: Richard Young/Rex

Candy said he had been close to Holyoake’s children and denied making threats against his former friend or his family. Holyoake says that during a phone call, Candy threatened that his brother might sell the loan to Russian debt collectors who would not hesitate to “seriously fucking hurt” Holyoake and his family.

“What makes me sick about this case is the allegations that have been put that I threatened his family,” Candy told the court.

Candy denied using threats against Holyoake or his family. He told the court that the conversation about debt collectors had taken place while he was visiting a wedding planner for a food tasting with Valance.

He said that he had his blackberry in one hand, his phone in the other, and had read from a prepared script. “The sun was shining in LA, this wasn’t an aggressive call. I followed the script. I never ever threatened Mark in that call. Has there been commercial pressure? 100% yes. Have there been any physical threats? Absolutely not.”

Candy said he was “disgusted” by the allegation that he threatened Holyoake’s family. “For the rest of my life, even if you find us innocent my Lord,” he told the judge, “whatever happens there is going to be a slight smell.”

Candy also told the court that at a birthday party of a mutual friend two months later, Emma Holyoake and her husband had approached him and Valance for a friendly conversation. “They came up to us … Emma said, ‘It’s sad what’s happening because we wanted you to be godparents to our third daughter.’”

Until their falling out, Candy regularly visited Holyoake at his family home in Ibiza, often with Valance. The friends saw each other in London every few weeks. “Mark is a charismatic man,” Candy told the court. “But I regret the day I ever met that man, worst decision of my life. By a long way.”

Nick, left, and Christian Candy arriving at the high court in London. Photograph: Mark Thomas/Rex/Shutterstock

The dispute completely changed his view of Holyoake, Candy said in a written witness statement, on which he was questioned. In the statement he describes his former friend as a “fraud” and a “pathological liar”. In 2014, after the loan had been repaid, Candy states he emailed a journalist to ask him to investigate Holyoake.

“I believe he is running a ponzi scheme,” Candy told the journalist. “I believe he is a complete fraudster and has been conning people for a very long time. He does it with his brother and father as a team.”

Candy, who helped arrange Holyoake’s loan with his brother’s property company, CPC Group, said he regretted getting involved. “I had done my very best to help out a friend by introducing him to CPC [and Christian], who was able to lend him a significant sum of money on very short notice and he had repaid me, Christian and CPC by continually lying to us every step of the way.”

It was not until preparations for the trial, Candy said, that he realised Holyoake had put none of his own money into the property development for which he had borrowed the sum. Holyoake had needed the money to acquire a period mansion block, Grosvenor Gardens House in Belgravia, London, to refurbish it.

In an email sent in March 2012, when the brothers were already worrying about repayment, Candy proposed a series of steps to put pressure on Holyoake. These included buying out the mortgage on his Ibiza home and hiring private investigators to “track his cash”.

The email also says: “His wife is in HK [Hong Kong] when six months pregnant – I am sure she is moving trust money around – can we stop this,” before adding, “I would not be surprised if Mark has been in prison before – he said he had ME [a neurological disease] for two years I would not be surprised if he was inside. It is time to get dirty and play at his level.”

Under questioning, Candy said he had been the subject of a kidnapping threat which had been reported to the Metropolitan police via his friend, the former assistant commissioner John Yates.

Some years ago, Candy told the court, he had received a ransom demand asking for £1m. Police had simulated handing over the ransom at a secure drop so they could obtain grid coordinates.

“At the highest level it was reported to the police,” he said. “It was one of the top five kidnapping threats that year. As I left my house there was people monitoring where I went, when I went to my car. It was a very serious kidnapping threat.”

The case continues.

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