Billionaire property developer Christian Candy “lied” about his company structure to avoid paying “millions” in UK tax, the High Court in London heard today.
Christian Candy and his brother Nick are fighting a bitter legal battle against a former university friend, Mark Holyoake, who is suing them for £132 million.
How Christian Candy structures his luxury property firm CPC Group is a central focus of the case, which has also covered alleged threats, alleged blackmail, and alleged connections to Russian oligarchs,
In his closing statement filed with the High Court, Holyoake’s defence barrister, Roger Stewart QC, said: “[There] is a lie at the very heart of CPC … In straightforward terms, CPC was set up for illegitimate financial gain at the expense of HMRC and the UK taxpayers and the benefit of both Christian Candy and Nick Candy.”
“This was not some form of ‘technical’ tax evasion — it was a deliberate, calculated and determined attempt to divert hundreds of millions of pounds of tax. The fact that it was entered into demonstrates the sort of people that Nick Candy and Christian Candy are — two individuals prepared to enter into detailed and complex arrangements in order to commit fraud.”
The two brothers have steadfastly maintained throughout the trial that Christian Candy is the sole owner of CPC Group. CPC is behind high-end redevelopments such as London’s One Hyde Park and reportedly doesn’t pay much UK tax.
Nick Candy, on the other hand, is the stated owner of interior design business Candy & Candy. While he often does business with his brother, the two told the court he has never been a director of CPC. Admitting otherwise might have serious tax implications, the court heard earlier in the trial.
Speaking in the High Court today, Stewart added: “[Mark Holyoake’s claim] has been that [CPC] is rotten from top to toe, rotten because it’s based on an essential lie.”
Stewart quoted a passage from “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky in an attempt to characterise the brothers.
“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him,” he said. The statement described the brothers as having a “distorted moral compass.”
The Candy brothers have denied all the allegations. Holyoake’s key claim is that the brothers and their business associates intimidated him into repaying a £12 million loan, and that they threatened his family.
The closing statement for the brothers and their associates, also filed with the High Court, described Holyoake’s evidence as a “fiction.”
“Christian Candy is the sole legal and beneficial owner of CPC, and in spite of the inordinate amount of time consumed by this issue at trial, there is simply no evidence to the contrary,” the statement said.
The statement described Holyoake as “dishonest” and said he had “lied” to secure the £12 million loan from CPC.
The trial continues.
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