Peter watson the end of the beginning ?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 01, 2017

Court of Session allows proof against Levy & Mcrae and Burness Paull LLP in Heather Capital case as liquidators attempt to recover cash from collapsed £280m hedge fund

Proof allowed in Heather Capital case. A RULING in the latest hearing of the Heather Capital case by three judges at the Court of Session has granted proof hearings against law firms Levy & Mcrae andBurness Paul LLP.

The decision is bound to be an uncomfortable one for Scotland’s senior judges as the case has direct links back to the judiciary itself, revealed when Lord President Lord Brian Gill was forced to suspend Sheriff Peter Black Watson after Watson was named in a writ launched by Heather Capital’s liquidator in early 2015.

Heather Capital, run by Glasgow -born financier Greg King, raised £280million from investors but the fund collapsed in 2010.

Current and ex Levy & McRae partners including suspended sheriff Peter Watson now face a claim of up to £28million from Heather’s liquidator Paul Duffy.

Lord Doherty earlier ruled evidence should be heard to decide the case but Levy & Mcrae launched an appeal, which has now failed.

Watson was listed in court papers as the “eighth defender”.

In his ruling on July 22, Lord Doherty stated the allegations related to claims of “links between the eighth defender and companies controlled by Mr King”.

It said the allegations were “that in December 2008 an unexplained payment of £200,000 was made to the eighth defender from the same client account into which £9.412million had been paid by” the Levy & McRae partners.

Greg King, 48, is one of four men charged by police after the demise of Heather Capital’s lending arm Mathon Finance.

It’s alleged £90million was stolen when Heather went bust.

King, Andrew Sobolewski, 57, of Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, Andrew Millar, 63, of ­Cambuslang, near Glasgow, and Scott ­ Carmichael, 44, of Thorntonhall, near Glasgow, were named in the report on Mathon sent to the Crown Office.

The Crown Office said the report is still “under consideration” nearly four years on from when Police Scotland first referring the case to the Lord Advocate.

JUDGE, SUSPENDED:

Statement from the Judicial Office for Scotland on the suspension of part-time sheriff Peter Watson

Sheriff Peter Watson was suspended from the office of part-time sheriff on 16 February 2015, in terms of section 34 of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.

“On Friday 13 February the Judicial Office was made aware of the existence of a summons containing certain allegations against a number of individuals including part-time sheriff Peter Watson.

The Lord President’s Private Office immediately contacted Mr Watson and he offered not to sit as a part-time sheriff on a voluntary basis, pending the outcome of those proceedings.

Mr Watson e-mailed a copy of the summons to the Lord President’s Private Office on Saturday 14 February.

On Monday 16 February the Lord President considered the matter.

Having been shown the summons, the Lord President concluded that in the circumstances a voluntary de-rostering was not appropriate and that suspension was necessary in order to maintain public confidence in the judiciary.

Mr Watson was therefore duly suspended from office on Monday 16 February 2015.”

Latest Court of Session opinion on Heather Capital, published 28 February 2017:

EXTRA DIVISION, INNER HOUSE, COURT OF SESSION

[2017] CSIH 19

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