Settlement reached in alleged multi-million-pound civil case

THE parties in a multimillion-pound civil trial – which was based on allegations of fraud and dishonesty around the restructuring and sale of a trust company in 2011 – have reached a settlement, with those who brought the proceedings agreeing to drop all actions, claims and allegations against the defendants, and never make them again.

Last week, the JEP reported on the opening of the trial, which was due to last six weeks, with the Royal Court sitting at the Grand Hotel due to the expected length of proceedings.

However, the case ended after just six days, with a settlement – the details of which will not be made public – agreed by the two sides.

The company bringing the action, Hunters Investments Ltd (HIL), claimed that defendants Geoffrey Crill, former chief executive of Sanne Simon C Young, Peter Machon, Sanne Holdings Ltd and Sanne Trust Company Ltd “lied to and deceived HIL to dispose of valuable shares” in Sanne in 2011 “when HIL did not want to sell them”.

It was claimed that HIL and its director David Banks were denied information about the financial performance of Sanne, and were deceived as to the true value of HIL’s shareholding.

It was alleged that HIL was defrauded of more than £100m.

In a short hearing on Tuesday this week, the parties announced the settlement, after which the judge, Commissioner Terence Mowschenson KC, who was sitting with Guernsey Jurats Steven Morris and Joanne Wyatt, congratulated both sides.

“It is a sensible result if both parties manage to resolve their differences,” he said.

Advocate Michael O’Connell, representing Mr Young, Mr Machon and the two Sanne corporate defendants, which are now owned by Apex Group, then addressed the court, saying: “In light of the publicity surrounding this case, it is important to state that the plaintiffs have agreed to withdraw, abandon and discontinue their actions against all defendants.

“All claims for compensation have accordingly been withdrawn and will not be pursued. For the avoidance of doubt, the defendants have not paid any compensation to the plaintiffs, not a penny.”

He added: “The plaintiffs have also agreed to withdraw, and hereby do withdraw, abandon and discontinue all allegations contained within the said proceedings, including most especially all allegations of dishonesty, conspiracy and fraud which were levelled against each of the defendants.

“All such claims and allegations will accordingly stand dismissed.”

Advocate O’Connell said that all claims, allegations and assertions had been “irrevocably withdrawn, abandoned, discontinued and dismissed” and the plaintiffs had “undertaken never to repeat any such allegations or to rely upon them for any purpose whatsoever from the date of this settlement agreement”.

Advocate William Redgrave, who represented Mr Crill, then rose to say his client held very similar sentiments to the other defendants, as expressed by Advocate O’Connell.

HIL and Mr Banks, who were represented by Advocate Olaf Blakeley, did not address the court when the settlement was announced.

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