One of the country’s leading judges, Mr Justice Hamblen, rejected a number of defences and counter-claims put forward by the family of Pakistan’s former privatisation minster Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan and his father Senator Gulzar Ahmed Khan in the complex action.
Ruling on liability in the showdown between the family - who he described as “prominent commercially and politically in Pakistan” - and the bank, he said that the case was in truth a simple “debt and possession” claim in respect of the 2007 loan secured on properties including Dryades, a substantial dwelling in London’s so-called “billionaire’s row”, Bishops Avenue.
He said: “This case started off as a simple debt and possession action. The defendants have fought those claims tooth and nail. A myriad of defences and claims have been raised to resist them.
“Many of them were abandoned before or during the course of the trial. At the trial itself the defence focused on the allegations of breach of the Facility Agreement and the claim that the First Supplemental Agreement should be set aside or was void.
“Those issues were pursued on the defendants’ behalf at trial with considerable skill. I have, however, concluded that those defences/claims fail and that the case is in reality a simple debt and possession claim enforceable in accordance with the terms of the parties’ written contracts.”
The Khans had argued that they should have been able to borrow even more, if they had not been misled by the bank or the loan facility agreement had not been breached.
They alleged that the additional funds would have enabled them to redevelop Dryades and another substantial property in Bishops Avenue - bought for £23m - and to make a £62m profit.
The judge said that, at the heart of the family’s case at trial was a claim that the bank wrongfully refused to allow them a drawdown of just over £10m.
But he ruled that the bank was not in breach of the agreement.
The bank is now seeking repayment of almost the full amount plus substantial interest. The judge said that the financial consequences of his ruling would be dealt with at a subsequent hearing if they cannot be agreed between the parties.