Goldtrail trial: Wyatt set to appear in High Court on February 24

Former XL Leisure boss Phil Wyatt is set to appear in the High Court on Monday (February 24) to give evidence on his involvement with failed tour operator Goldtrail.

Wyatt, along with associates Halldor Sigurdarson, Magnus Stephensen and investment vehicle Black Pearl Investments (BPI), is defending a claim from Goldtrail’s liquidator PricewaterhouseCoopers for £1.4 million. PwC is also making a claim against Turkish airline Onur Air for £3.64 million.

PwC is alleging that all parties provided “dishonest assistance” to Goldtrail’s director Abdulkadir Aydin and also involved a “breach of fiduciary duties”. The tour operator went into administration in July 2010 which cost the Air Travel Trust around £25 million in refunds and repatriation.

The case in London’s High Court centres on the relationships between a group of associated companies including BPI and Viking Airlines, which provided charter aircraft for Goldtrail.

Sigurdarson and Stephensen, who were both formerly directors of Viking, have already given evidence in the hearing. They both denied that they, along with Wyatt, had effectively controlled Viking at the time of its dealings with Goldtrail but instead offered consultancy services to the airline.

Hilary Stonefrost QC, representing PwC, said during cross-examination of Stephensen today that there was no evidence that Viking’s CEO Christian Tadjeran had been copied into key emails in the run-up to the signing of commercial contracts between Viking and Goldtrail in early 2010.

She also said that the final deal between Viking and Goldtrail was signed by Viking employee and former XL leasing and project manager Chris Broad, instead of Tadjeran, using a wide-ranging power of attorney.

Stonefrost told Stephensen: “You have not exhibited any documents showing you were having correspondence with Tadjeran and you do not refer to any telephone conversations with him in these emails.”

But Stephensen insisted: “I frequently discussed these matters with Tadjeran over the phone and we also had several face-to-face meetings.”

Stephensen also said there had been a meeting of both the BPI and Viking boards, attended by Tadjeran, in early 2010 when the Viking-Goldtrail deal was discussed and agreed. Although he admitted there were no minutes available of this meeting, after being pressed on the point by Stonefrost.

Tadjeran is not a defendant in the case and chosen not to appear at the hearing as he is travelling in the Congo.

The case continues.

Sourced by TTG Digital

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