Nigeria’s oil magnate and billionaire businessman Prince Arthur Eze has been dragged before a London High Court for alleged breach of contract.
The defendants British couple, Richard and Deborah Conway claims that Prince Eze allegedly pulled out of buying their house valued at £5 million.
According to them, Eze’s failure to buy the house forced them to take out a bridging loan in their bid to purchase another house.
Besides, the plaintiffs said they eventually sold the house at a reduced price of £4.2 million.
The couple is suing for £1.8 million, claiming they were left with a “huge hole” in their finances and were left stranded when Eze allegedly pulled out.
But, Eze has denied breach of contract and is counter-suing for the return of his £500,000 deposit.
The Times, Evening Standard and Metro report that the couple claims they had already exchanged contracts on the property before the alleged breach.
The plaintiffs told the court that they were committed to buying a new home in Cambridgeshire after deciding to relocate ahead of their retirement.
They had to take out an expensive bridging loan when the deal with Eze fell through, the High Court heard.
The couple claims they were forced to sell their home at a reduced price of £4.2 million, and are suing the prince to recover losses as well as “family expenses”.
Mr. Conway (62) said he and his wife wanted to “pay off all our debts and start again” when they put their home up for sale for £5 million.
“It was necessary for them to obtain bridging finance to fill the huge hole left by Prince Eze’s failure to complete and failure to pay the balance of the purchase price,” said their lawyer Matthew Collings (QC).
The court heard that parties exchanged contracts for the nine-bedroom home in August 2015 and that Prince Eze had been acting through a “go-between” and had never seen the house.
But, Prince Eze, said to be worth £2 billion, denies breach of contract and is counter-suing the couple for the return of his £500,000 deposit.
The 62-year-old founder of Atlas Oranto Petroleum said he paid a 10 per cent deposit, claiming that the deal was void because the Conways agreed to pay the agent a “secret commission” that was unknown to him.
Prince Eze told the court that he had “good intentions” when he agreed to buy the house, adding that he wanted “a genuine investment in the UK”.
“I wasn’t concerned about the price but I was concerned about people being open. I thought there was something funny going on,” he said on why he pulled out.
Prince Eze rejected a suggestion that a drastic drop in oil prices forced him to pull out of the deal.
Judge Andrew Keyser QC reserved his judgment