Flamboyant property tycoon Nick Candy has turned to London’s High Court after losing £1.25 million as the victim of a sophisticated alleged fraud.
Candy, who is married to actress turned pop singer Holly Valance, says someone hacked into one of his company’s email accounts, leading to the loss of the huge amount, which was transferred into the bank account of a company based in Preston, Lancashire.
Police investigating the fraud suspect businessman Robert Harriss and his car sales company, AAA Drivewise Contracts, of being involved in a multi-million pound fraud and money laundering operation with others based in East London, it is alleged.
An unknown person set up an email account with the internet company Go Daddy, which made it look like emails from the Go Daddy account were coming from Candy Capital’s chief financial officer Edward Parsons and Candy Ventures Sarl’s managing director Eduard Simovici.
As a result of the hacking, Simovici transferred £1.25 million from the company’s bank account with ING Luxembourg to an account with the Royal Bank of Scotland detailed in the email, it is alleged.
Simovici was not suspicious because at the time, in April, Candy Ventures Sarl was due to repay an inter-company loan made by a UK-based firm, Candy Ventures Ltd, according to a High Court writ.
Two days later, he queried emails asking for $2 million to be transferred to a bank in Hong Kong, as he had not been expecting to make this transfer. The fraud in which Candy Ventures had lost £1.25 million was then uncovered on April 28 after an IT expert was called in.
Candy then found that the money had been paid into the account held by AAA Drivewise Contracts, whose sole director is Robert Harriss.
Metropolitan Police contacted Candy, telling him they had warrants against Drivewise and Harriss, who was arrested on May 11.