Antiguan real estate company, Luxury Locations vindicated
London’s Privy Council has ruled against Chinese developer, Yida Zhang in his long-running dispute with Antiguan real estate company, Luxury Locations.
The case stems from Yida’s failure to pay the Jolly Harbour-based firm its fee of US$3 million, having been hired by Yida in 2013 to negotiate his US$60-million purchase of 1,600-acre of land on which to build his gargantuan scheme in Antigua’s north-east. Luxury Locations also assist with structuring the concessions package for Yida’s special economic zone project.
The money owned equates to a five per cent commission of the US$60-million land deal. The case was taken to the Privy Council, as Yida has still not paid the money, despite signing an agreed court order in March 2017 promising to do so.
Privy Council frowned on Yida’s defence
In his defence, Yida claimed to be entitled to escape from that court order, saying he did not understand the document signed by him in front of Justice Wilkinson in the company of his lawyer and two bilingual translators. The High Court accepted in 2020 that Yida could be released from the court order with the Court of Appeal in 2021 turning down an appeal by Luxury Locations.
However last Tuesday, five judges of London’s Privy Council ruled that the High Court and the local Court of Appeal were wrong to uphold Yida’s arguments.
In a damning judgment, the Privy Council highlighted Yida’s “history of non-payment, procrastination and disregard of court orders.”
The Law Lords unanimously found that Yida had “fabricated the allegation that he had not understood what he was signing … when he had run out of other delaying tactics”.
Yida’s claim that he had not understood the 2017 court order he signed, promising to pay Luxury Locations for their negotiations on his behalf, was a “fabrication” and “a myth, which has no substantial foundation”, wrote Lord Leggatt.
Yida’s sprawling development was tipped to see the creation of factories, hundreds of homes and holiday resorts but it has been mired in controversy from the outset amid fears about its impact on the pristine protected area.