In these proceedings, the claimants claim damages in the sum of approximately US$60 million against the defendant for breaches of contract and/or duty arising in connection with the development of a luxury resort (“the resort”) at Buccament Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadines (“SVG”), in the Caribbean.
The first claimant, to whom I shall refer as “Harlequin SVG”, are the owners of the Buccament Bay site and the developers of the resort. The second claimant, to whom I shall refer as “HHR”, is said to operate the resort. Mr David Ames is the principal director of both companies and the man behind the numerous other Harlequin companies, to whom I shall refer (where it does not matter which particular Harlequin company was involved, or impossible to say) as “Harlequin”.
The defendant, to whom I shall refer as “WK”, is a firm of accountants and business advisors. Mr Martin MacDonald, a partner in WK, acted as Harlequin’s accountant and business advisor between 2006 and 2010. He was universally referred to as “Mac”. The remaining key player in this story, who is not a party to these proceedings, is the contractor who built part of the resort, ICE Group (SVG) Limited, to whom I shall refer as “ICE”. This company was owned and controlled by Mr Padraig O’Halloran, often referred to in the documents as “Paudie”.
It is Harlequin’s case that, relying on WK’s advice, they had no formal contract with ICE, and instead came to a very loose arrangement with ICE to complete Phase 1 of the resort, which ran completely out of control. Harlequin say that ICE’s works were delayed and, in many instances, not built at all, leading to the termination of their arrangement with ICE in June 2010.
They blame WK for the delay. Harlequin also say that they paid ICE far too much money for the work that they did, for which they also blame WK. There is also a separate set of allegations arising out of what is said to have been a clear conflict of interest on the part of WK, who were acting for ICE as well as for Harlequin in connection with the construction of the resort.