LONDON, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — A court case cited by The Lawyer as one of the most significant to come to trial in 2016 has started today.
The court claim sees Harlequin sue top 20 UK accountants Wilkins Kennedy for losses and damages claimed by the firm of £50m. The court case starts today in Court 18 of the Rolls Building, Fetter Lane. The case is expected to last seven weeks. Unusually the second week of the case will be heard on the island in the Caribbean where the resort is located.
Harlequin, the holiday and property business owned by Dave Ames, run Buccament Bay Resort in the Caribbean. The 5 star holiday complex is a favourite holiday destination for celebrities like Pat Cash, Lewis Moody, Sally Gunnell, Coronation Streets Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright
Harlequin employed accountants Wilkins Kennedy to provide business and financial advice whilst setting up Buccament Bay. Over four years the top UK accountancy firm were paid £800,000. Wilkins Kennedy partner Martin MacDonald was the representative of the accountants working on the Buccament Bay account.
In 2014, in a case widely reported in the international media, a company called ICE Group, led by Padraig O’Halloran, was fined for E2million due to the misappropriation of millions of pounds from the Buccament Bay project. Accountants Wilkins Kennedy had taken ICE on as a client at the same time as Harlequin.
Additionally, former Wilkins Kennedy employee Jeremy Newman publically apologised to Harlequin and the Ames family. His apology and departure from Wilkins Kennedy took place after it was revealed that he was the administrator of an anonymous website alleging that the business operated by Harlequin was a fraudulent scheme. Wilkins Kennedy and Martin MacDonald denied any involvement and an out of court settlement was reached to close the matter.