RegulationMay 3 2013

Judge gives Khan family two months to avoid repossession

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ByJess Harrold

In the high court last week, the family and a number of their companies were also ordered to pay more than £2m upfront in respect of legal costs in the same period, with the final bill potentially rising to more than £4m once costs have been subject to detailed assessment.

Last month, Mr Justice Hamblen rejected a number of defences and counterclaims put forward by the family of Pakistan’s former privatisation minister Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan and his father Senator Gulzar Ahmed Khan in the complex action.

On 25 April, he ruled on Deutsche Bank’s bid to seek possession of Dryades, a substantial dwelling on the Bishops Avenue, London’s so-called Billionaire’s Row, and six Knightsbridge flats, granting the family two months to redeem charges over the properties to avoid a possession order.

The family had sought a longer three-month period, while the bank had argued that 21 days was enough.

Effectively splitting the difference and setting the two-month limit, the judge said: “It is important that there is a relatively short deadline. This would serve to concentrate the minds of the defendants and those acting for them. It would also assist in ensuring that any serious negotiations are brought to fruition quickly.”

In his ruling in March, he said that the case was a simple debt and possession claim in respect of the 2007 loan secured on the London properties.

He said: “This case started off as a simple debt and possession action. The defendants have fought those claims tooth and nail.

“I have concluded that those defences and 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 had they not been misled by the bank or had the loan facility agreement not been breached.

They alleged that the additional funds would have enabled them to redevelop Dryades and another substantial property in the Bishops Avenue – bought for £23m – and to make a £62m profit.

The judge said 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.

However, he ruled that the bank was not in breach of the agreement.