Ex-Harlequin accountants lose request to appeal High Court decision

Accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy’s request to appeal against a High Court judgement ordering it to pay Harlequin Property SVG $11.6 million (£9.5 million) has been refused.

A spokeswoman from the Court of Appeal confirmed the request to appeal the earlier judgement has been ruled out by the judge, meaning the case has hit the end of the road.

Last year Harlequin made a $60 million claim against its former accountants Wilkins Kennedy for ‘breaches of contract and/or duty arising in connection with the development of a luxury resort at Buccament Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean’.

In December, Harlequin won one of its claims against Wilkins Kennedy. The upheld claim related to overpayment of construction company ICE and in the end the judge ordered Wilkins Kennedy to pay Harlequin $11.6 million.

Wilkins Kennedy tried to appeal this but were refused permission earlier this week.

In a statement released today, Harlequin said it is still waiting for its own permission to appeal the ‘interest and currency exchange rates applied’ to the pay-out it was awarded by the High Court.

A spokesman for Wilkins Kennedy said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the Court of Appeal has refused our application for permission to appeal’.

Harlequin chairman Dave Ames said the money would be used to help the 3,000 investors involved in the scheme.

‘Justice Coulson wanted the investors to benefit from these monies and it is my hope that, as part of the proposal, 3,000 investors will take control of Buccament Bay Resort, oversee a new hotel management company and utilise the judgment funds to refurbish the resort for their ongoing financial benefit,’ he said.

In October, Harlequin SVG entered insolvency proceedings. Judge Coulson said in light of this, the court ‘needs to take all legitimate steps it can to ensure the protection of the investors’.

Therefore he said the $11.6 million should not be paid to Harlequin ‘at this stage’ and should instead be held ‘in order that the position as between the investors and Harlequin SVG could be properly resolved.