Witnesses ‘concocted an untrue story’ to cover up the influnce of the Prince of Wales and the Emir of Qatar in the cancellation of Richard Rogers’ Chelsea Barracks scheme, a High Court judge has been told
Justice Vos heard the case last month between property developer Christian Candy and his Qatari partners but was called back to court today to hear new disclosures.
Lord Grabiner QC, representing Candy, said the reason Qatari Diar witheld that the Emir after meeting Charles had ordered a planning application to be withdrawn was because it would have been a breach of the contract with Candy’s company CPC and they would have to pay him £81 million.
He said executives at Qatari Diar knew all along about the Emir’s involvement but had given evidence in court that other causes triggered the withdrawal of the planning application.
‘What it comes to is simply this. All those witnesses lied to Your Lordship when they gave evidence.
‘They were motivated by concern to conceal what actually happened to protect Qatari Diar and the Emir to enable them to avoid paying the money under the contract.
‘It was a political decision not permitted under the terms of the contract.’
Qatari Diar’s John Ward, who was in charge of the day-to-day running of the project, deliberately deleted emails to stop the information about the Emir’s involvement being disclosed in court, said Lord Grabiner.
‘The deletion of documents did not come to light until CPC received third-party disclosure from the Prince of Wales.
‘A number of documents disclosed by him were communications to and from Mr Ward that had not been disclosed by QD.’
When the emails were retrieved from QD’s London server, all but five contained references to Charles and his private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, said Lord Grabiner.
He invited the judge to reach the conclusion that any emails that contained these references were deleted because they posed a danger to QD’s case.
Joe Smouha QC, representing the Qatari company, said the allegations amounted to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
‘These are entirely unjustified allegations.’
He said the documents did not add to the position at trial and one had been misinterpreted by CPC as evidence that QD knew about the Emir’s involvement.
Mr Justice Vos called for new witness statements of those involved and said he would be delivering his ruling on the whole case this month or next.
The 5.2 hdectare barracks site is in one of London’s most expensive residential areas and was sold by the Ministry of Defence for £959 million to the Qatari Diar CPC consortium, which commissioned a scheme designed by Richard Rogers.
The head of QD is Sheik Hamad bin Jasim, who is also prime minister of the country and a cousin of the Emir.