London house: Arthur Eze to pay £1m in damages
A Nigerian billionaire, Prince Arthur Eze, has been ordered to pay £1m in damages to a couple for pulling out of a £5m deal to buy their seven-bed London mansion after paying a 10 per cent deposit.
Eze is the Chairman of Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum, a Nigerian privately-held, Africa-focused oil exploration and production group.
The MailOnline reported on Monday that the Nigerian oil baron exchanged contracts with Richard and Deborah Conway on their seven-bedroom mansion in North London in August 2015.
He agreed to pay them £5m, but the deal was “aborted” before completion, London’s High Court heard.
The couple went on to sell the property to another buyer for £4.2m and later moved into a new £2.9m home in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire.
According to MailOnline in a report, the Conways, who claimed they were left stranded on the property ladder when Eze pulled out of buying their mansion, sued him for £1.8m.
They claimed damages over the lower price their house sold for and the extra costs they faced in pushing through their move to the country.
Judge Andrew Keyser awarded them more than £1m in compensation for the losses and expenses caused by Eze’s pull-out.
Eze is believed to be worth £2bn. He is well known as a philanthropist and has a fleet of Rolls Royces and a private jet.
Matthew Collings QC, for the Conways, previously told the judge that Eze’s failure to complete the purchase of the couple’s Mill Hill home forced them to take out an expensive bridging loan.
Eze’s legal team claimed the sale contract was “void” because the middleman had arranged a “secret commission” to secure the deal.
He said he “thought something funny was going on” and denied that a “drastic fall in oil prices” prompted his decision to pull out of the deal.
Eze told the court he had “good intentions” to buy the house, but was concerned he was not receiving the “proper information about what was going on.”
But, finding for the Conways, Judge Keyser said the contract to buy the house was valid and ought to have been completed.
“Prince Eze had signed the contract,” said the judge, while the middleman who brokered the deal “certainly did have the authority to instruct the solicitors to exchange contracts” on the prince’s behalf.
Ruling that the deal was binding, the judge concluded, “Prince Eze had signed…the only contractual term that remained outstanding was the completion date.”
He awarded the Conways £800,000 to cover the drop in the sale price, plus a further six-figure sum, yet to be fully calculated, to cover the extra costs they incurred.
The judge said that Eze’s £500,000 deposit would count towards the damages payment. Punch