Nick Candy sues fallen star of tech boom for lies
One of Britain’s best known property tycoons, Nick Candy, has accused a former business partner and fallen star of the dotcom boom of fraud. The billionaire is embroiled in a bitter legal row with Robert Bonnier, a Dutch-born entrepreneur once handed a record fine for misleading the stock market.
Bonnier is alleged to have enticed Candy – who is married to Australian singer and actress Holly Valance – into a multi-million-pound investment in one of his firms, a fledgling social media company called Aaqua.
Accompanying Candy’s High Court claim is a complaint to the FBI, in which he urges an immediate investigation into Bonnier’s alleged deceit. Candy launched an attempt to freeze Bonnier’s assets last summer.
The Dutchman claims it was the asset freeze that sparked the downfall of his business.
Bonnier, a former investment banker, made his name as the founder of phone directory firm Scoot in the early 2000s. At its peak, that company soared to a valuation of £2.5 billion in 2000. However, it sank to a meagre £5 million once the dotcom bubble burst.
Bonnier’s star continued to fall. In 2004, he was hit with a £290,000 penalty by the financial regulator for misleading the market. In 2008, his £11 million London home was repossessed. He founded Singapore-based Aaqua in 2020.
As for Candy, he is most famous for developing One Hyde Park, a sumptuous residential apartment block in London’s Knightsbridge with his brother Christian. His real estate riches led to his bold, though unsuccessful, attempt to buy Chelsea Football Club last year.
He is no stranger to legal battles. As well as his dispute with Bonnier, he is fighting a claim against Tamara Ralph, the designer who made Meghan Markle’s £56,000 engagement dress. Candy pumped millions into her fashion firm, Ralph and Russo, in 2018 before it collapsed amid allegations she spent company cash funding her lavish lifestyle – allegations she strenuously denies.
Source of data and images: dailymail