Re Grosvenor Property Developers Limited
Following judgment against Sanjiv Varma and his solely owned company being given last year in the sums of £5,543,973 and £3,845,406 respectively ( EWHC 1114 (Ch)), the application of the Joint Liquidators of Grosvenor Property Developers Ltd to commit Mr Varma, the former de facto director of the Company, for contempt of court has been successful, both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
In a judgment handed down on 13 July 2020, HHJ Johns QC found Mr Varma guilty of eight counts of contempt to the criminal standard. The Judgment can be found here. The Joint Liquidators were represented throughout the committal proceedings by Rory Brown and Andrew Shipley.
Sentencing was adjourned as Mr Varma appealed all of the findings of contempt, questioning the court’s jurisdiction to hear the committal application. His appeal was heard in November 2020, with the Court of Appeal (Lewison, Rose, and Stuart-Smith LJJ) unanimously dismissing his appeal and awarding the Joint Liquidators their costs on the indemnity basis. The judgment can be found here.
Mr Varma’s sentencing took place on 4 March 2021 despite a late application to adjourn on the basis of alleged COVID-19, which was dismissed by Falk J on 2 March. HHJ Johns QC, sitting as a High Court Judge, sentenced Mr Varma in his absence to a term of imprisonment of 21 months, and again awarded the JLs their costs on the indemnity basis. The judgment on sentencing can be found here.
Following Mr Varma’s failure to surrender himself to begin his sentence, an order that he do so or provide details of his whereabouts was made by Fancourt J on 12 March 2021.