Success in court against sham elite network

Acting on behalf of Opus Art Limited, a London based art consultancy business, Tim Bignell and Alexandra Carr have secured an emphatic judgment following the trial of Opus' claim for fraudulent misrepresentation.

29 Jul 2019

Acting on behalf of Opus Art Limited, a London based art consultancy business, Tim Bignell and Alexandra Carr have secured an emphatic judgment following the trial of Opus' claim for fraudulent misrepresentation (and breach of contract) against Rochay Productions Limited and its sole director & CEO, Mr Nicholas Baker.

Rochay Productions Limited is part of the Rochay Group of companies, which claimed a membership of ultra high-net-worth individuals as part of an exclusive club known as Rochay Elite, charging members £50,000 a year in membership fees. Our client paid large sums of money to the Defendants to sponsor and exhibit at events which never took place, including one event sold to them as the world's largest luxury event – known then as the Luxury London Expo. In the trial of the claim in July 2019 before HHJ Backhouse, the Defendants were found to have acted fraudulently and ordered to repay Opus all of the money it had paid Rochay and also to pay our client's costs on the indemnity basis.

This was a slick, complex and sophisticated fraud backed by an ostensibly profitable and exclusive London based business with international reach – it was only after multiple failures on the part of the Defendants that a forensic examination showed that the Rochay group companies were conducting no business and were operating as a sham.

Senior Associate, Alexandra Carr commented:

"This was an excellent result for our client who was conned out of large sums of money. The case should have settled at the outset, when it should have been clear to the Defendants that the game was up. They did not do that but instead cynically defended the indefensible meaning 5 days of court time was taken up hearing oral testimony and ultimately delivering judgment in our client's favour.

"A special mention should also be made of Opus' barrister, Christopher Lloyd at Erskine Chambers, for his superb work on the case and devastating cross-examination of the Defendants' witnesses."

Click here to download the full transcript of the Judgment

Nicole Barbezat, a Director of the Claimant company, comments:

"After two years of arduous and unpleasant litigation against fraudsters, I am so pleased that justice was served.  I am very grateful to the Judge for her dedication and effort that she put into dealing with this trial.

"Upon relocating to London in 2016 and establishing my art consultancy company I contracted with a company, Rochay Productions Ltd on the basis of the representations of the CEO, Nicholas Baker. The representations made claimed that they would promote my brand, grant me access to their UHNW membership clients by sponsoring soirées and participating in a luxury exhibition.  As it turned out and as vindicated by the verdict these representations were proven to be fraudulent and the company lacked the financial resources to organize soirées and exhibitions on the scale advertised which resulted in breach of contracts.

"I take great solace in knowing that the outcome of my case will most likely spare other well-meaning and forward looking individuals from suffering the same fate as mine.

"Furthermore, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for all the sound advice and support I received all along from my solicitors Alex Carr and Tim Bignell at Howard Kennedy along with the rest of their team, and my barrister Christopher Lloyd at Erskine Chambers for the tremendous job he did in pleading my case in court."

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