in the back
A bitter-sweet victory
The Candy brothers, Issue 1461
candy-bros.jpg PROPERTY developer Nick Candy celebrated his and brother Christian’s legal victory over businessman Mark Holyoake just before Christmas in predictably understated fashion, immediately heading for lunch with celeb chums David Walliams, Jimmy Carr and Vernon Kay (who he? Ed.) Doubtless none of “the boys”, as Nick’s wife Holly tweeted, realised how a judge had just dented her husband’s credibility.

Although he found no merit in any of Holyoake’s claims, principally that the brothers had extorted excess payments on a loan for a property development, Judge Christopher Nugee had few kind words for Holyoake or the Candys. All “had been willing on occasion to lie when they consider their commercial interests justify them in doing so”. This won’t help the Candys with what must surely now be some searching questions from the taxman.

As Eye 1442 set out, their corporate structure entails Christian owning the offshore property development business CPC, which makes the big bucks while Nick remains in the UK running the less profitable interior design business of Candy & Candy Ltd. As to the latter’s role flogging billions of pounds worth of apartments on behalf of CPC at home and on trips to Moscow, this was mere “development management and sales administration”, according one of their directors.

Tax-free ‘gifts’
Christian then shares his gains with Nick through tax-free “gifts” such as £10m in 2013, along with properties in Chelsea and at One Hyde Park, together worth nine figures. Were Nick involved in actually running the property development or making profits for it, such as by agreeing rather than just “administering” sales, the set-up (designed by tax avoidance specialists) would collapse with a very large tax bill the result. Small wonder that in their carefully crafted response to the judgment they looked forward to spending more time “in our respective businesses”.

If the authorities probed how Nick and Christian really operate, the issue would come down to their less than trustworthy word against those of others and what they had admitted in what they assumed would be private conversations and emails. Nugee rehearsed a few such comments in his judgment.

Discussing the loan to Holyoake from CPC – supposedly nothing to do with him – Nick had referred to the offshore company’s directors as “my directors”, “the profit he is giving us” and asked whether a proposal was “a good deal for us”. While the judge found it unnecessary to reach any conclusions on the point, he did remark that “the evidence of Mrs Holyoake, who… I found to be a credible witness, does suggest that Mr Nicholas Candy held himself out as a joint owner with his brother…”

The lengths to which Nick would go to avoid tax became clear when he confided that after making “tens and tens and tens of millions of pounds” up to 2005 he had moved to Monaco for a few years (which would have allowed for tax-free extraction of the gains from the offshore companies used for the brothers’ properties’ development).

The Candys, meanwhile, have enlisted former director of public prosecutions Lord (Ken) Macdonald to see whether Holyoake’s untruths amount to anything criminal. If HM Revenue & Customs is as good as its stirring words on clamping down on tax avoidance – and a knighthood last week for departing top taxman Edward Troup suggests it ought to be in fighting form – the brothers might ponder whether inviting post-mortems is such a smart move.

More top stories in the latest issue:

PRISON DEATHS
An army veteran with PTSD hanged himself in Liverpool jail (‘Britain’s worst’) due to its culture of bullying, drug abuse and poor healthcare, an inquest jury hears.

FIRE & RESCUE
As cash-strapped fire brigades replace well equipped and crewed engines with small ‘tactical response vehicles’, a blaze at an elderly couple’s home in Harrogate provides a salutary lesson.

CHEQUES IN THE POST
Post Office’s results for 2016/17 confirm the service is being hollowed out across the country as pockets are being filled nicely in the boardroom.

SECOND-CLASS SOLDIERS
Armed forces personnel who report rape or other sexual violence will still see complaints investigated by military police who lack training, experience and independence.

SCOPE HEDGES ITS BEDS…
The charity Scope sells its care homes and much else besides to a firm whose bosses hail from the world of banking, private equity and financial engineering.

PIER PRESSURES
Houseboat residents in Chelsea fear for their future security now that their boatyard has been bought by a luxury property developer.

WOMAN IN THE EYE: ANDREA LEADSOM
The gaping omissions in the register of ministers’ interests recently updated by leader of the Commons Andrea ‘offshore’ Leadsom.

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Private Eye Issue 1460