Settlement for JDW in Van de Berg case

By John Harrington, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Renting, Credit card, Freehold

JD Wetherspoon (JDW), the managed pub operator, has won a settlement in relation to fraudulent property transactions involving the company’s former property agent Van de Berg.

Businessman Paul Ferrari and a Jersey-based company of which he is a beneficiary, Peachy, have agreed to pay up in relation to five property transactions in the 1990s, in which Wetherspoon was defrauded by Van de Berg.

The so-called ‘Ferrari Five’ sites were bought by Jersey-based companies associated with Ferrari and members of his family. The companies generated profits from the sites, usually via Van de Berg diverting the freeholds to the firms and getting Wetherspoon to take a lease.

For example, on the advice of Van de Berg, Wetherspoon agreed to take the lease of a site in Folkestone in 1997 at a rent of £40,000 per year.

Peachy had agreed to buy the freehold for £155,000 — Wetherspoon hadn’t been told the freehold was avail-able — and sold it to JDW for £400,000 on the same day, making a profit of £245,000.

At the High Court, Ferrari agreed to pay Wetherspoon £50,000. In addition, Peachy agreed to transfer a property valued at circa £500,000 in Sleaford, Lincs, which the company bought with part of the profits made in the Folkestone transaction.

“Our claim was for a much larger sum, but we agreed to settle for less for commercial reasons,” said JDW chairman Tim Martin.

“Wetherspoon has lost millions of pounds as a result of the dishonest activities of Van de Berg, and we are pleased to have made this further recovery from beneficiaries of the transactions, which were the subject of Wetherspoon’s successful claim against Van de Berg.

“It took a long legal case to persuade Paul Ferrari and Peachy to agree to make this payment and to transfer this property in Sleaford to Wetherspoon.”

Related topics: Property law, JD Wetherspoon

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