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FIRE SALE: AIB face sequestration probe as files reveal Trustee was paid £20K by vulture fund to sell home & firebombed farm five days after targeted attack on couple at centre of land case linked to top Scots judges, an ex-Sheriff, an asbestos dumping building company & law firm Levy and Mcrae

15 Jun

Richard Dennis, Kenneth Pattullo face probe. AN ONGOING probe of a case linked to Scotland’s top judge Lord Carloway – has revealed a Trustee acting in a sequestration of a couple who won a court action – relied on his appointment on the basis of a typo in a court document – to go on to strip the couple of all their assets.

And – files now reveal Kenneth Pattullo was paid £20,000 by offshore vulture fund Promontoria – to sell off a firebombed farm and home belonging to a couple who initially won the Court of Session case then lost out when their counsel – John Campbell QC deliberately removed most of their claim after Lord Woolman said Mr Nolan had a case against the building company – Advance Construction Scotland Ltd .

In documents now disclosed to journalists, Nicola Donnelly – a senior manager at Begbies Traynor in Glasgow – admitted in an email to the couple that Promontoria – a vulture fund which bought loans & mortgages from banks including the Clydesdale – paid Trustee Kenneth Pattullo £20,000 – to sell properties belonging to Melanie Collins, and Donal Nolan – which were once valued in the millions – for the sum of £655K.

Records from the very unusual sequestrations of both Ms Collins & Mr Nolan – show their properties were seized by Mr Pattullo of Begbies Traynor on behalf of Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd – after the building company lost a Court of Session action raised by Mr Nolan in which Advance Construction admitted dumping toxic waste on land owned by the retired National Hunt jockey.

However, after Begbies Traynor had retained the properties on their books for four years – during which time the Clydesdale Bank sold their interest in the properties to Promontoria – the titles suddenly changed hands only a few days after PoliceScotland were called in to investigate a targeted firebombing of Mr Nolan’s farm – which saw four horses die after being torched with petrol by unknown persons.

The couple say Police Scotland believe the targeted arson attack is connected to events related to the court case and the ‘extremely motivated’ bankruptcy which then followed.

Records of land titles obtained from Registers of Scotland reveal Morningside Farm – the target of the firebombing – was sold by Kenneth Pattullo to an Andrew Kenneth Hill of Carluke, Lanarkshire on 22 May 2019 for a purchase price of £380,000 – some five days after the targeted arson attack.

Meanwhile the home of the couple – a house with land – in Newmains, Wishaw, was sold by Mr Pattullo to a “SIPS Homes Scotland Ltd” on 20 May 2019 with a purchase price listed as £255,000

Companies House reports that SIPS Homes Scotland Ltd was created on 4 March 2019 with a registered office at Crossway, Donibistle Industrial Estate, Dalgety Bay, Fife, United Kingdom, KY11 9JE – and has three directors – Mark William Dalziel, Caroline Ann Hynds and Patrick Leaonard Hynds.

A section of land at Branchal, Wishaw – belonging to the retired jockey was sold by Mr Pattullo to the same “SIPS Homes Scotland Ltd” for £20,000 on 4 June 2019.

Begbies Traynor were asked to confirm if Mr Pattullo was in charge of the properties as Trustee – during the events of the targeted arson attack, but they refused to comment.

Susan Reid of Harrogate based Appeal PR – who claim to handle all Public Relations for Begbies Traynor in Scotland stated: “Sorry to be unhelpful, but unfortunately Begbies Traynor is unable to give any information about personal insolvency cases. However, the information is a matter of public record, so you should be able to find it from official sources.”

The sequestrations of both Mr Nolan and his partner – Melanie Collins – after they had effectively won the Court of Session claim against Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd – came about after John Campbell QC stripped out most of their financial claims for damage & legal expeses – after Court of Session judge Lord Woolman told the couple they had a case against the building company for loss of the use of the use of their property.

A full report on how John Campbell QC reduced his own client’s financial claim almost to zero and without any instruction or consultation – can be found here: CASHBACK QC: Legal regulator’s files reveal senior QC reduced claim without instructions, withheld key evidence & witnesses including Cabinet Secretary from Court of Session case

Commenting on Campbell’s move – the judge said he had never seen this happen in a case previously – and a probe of events has established John Campbell had not sought permission or consultation with his client to strip out the financial damages and legal expenses claims.

Mr Nolan and his partner Ms Collins were then targeted by Advance’s lawyers Levy & Mcrae – who then turned around Advance’s loss in court – and the building company’s admission of dumping toxic waste on Mr Nolan’s land – to go after the couple for hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal expenses.

Levy and Mcrae then petitioned the court for sequestration of Ms Collins on 30 March 2015 – and Mr James Robb (now at Brechin Tindall Oatts solicitors) sought sequestration of Ms Collins and the appointment of the Accountant in Bankruptcy as Trustee in her estate.

The interlocutor from Hamilton Sheriff court dated 30 March 2015 reads as follows:

The sheriff, having heard parties’ solicitors, on the opposed motion of the Petitioner, having
considered the foregoing petition, together with the productions, and being satisfied that the
petition has been presented in accordance with the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985, and that:
* proper citation has been made to the debtor
* the requirements of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 relating to apparent insolvency have been fulfilled.

Sequestrates the estate now belonging or which shall hereafter belong to the debtor Ms Melanie Collins before the date of the debtor’s discharge and Declares the same to belong to the debtor’s creditors for the purposes of the said Act;
Finds the respondent liable to the petitioner in the expenses as taxed, Allows an accountant thereof to be given in and Remits same, when lodged, to the auditor of court to tax and to report;
and Appoints Accountant in Bankruptcy, 1 Pennyburn Road,Kilwinning KA136SA
to be trustee; the whole estate of said Ms Melanie Collins at 07 January 2015 is vested in and now belongs to said trustee, for the benefit of the said debtors creditors

According to financial experts, the appointment of the AIB as trustee in a sequestration is a normal move – and leads to the AIB handing the case to one of their agents – which in this case – was given to auditors KPMG.

However, after KPMG took on the sequestration, and began their work – lawyers acting for Advance approached Sheriff T Millar of Hamilton Sheriff Court – and claimed there had been a typo (administrative error) in their original petition appointing the Accountant in Bankruptcy as Trustee for Ms Collins.

In a closed hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 2 April 2015 – Levy and Mcrae asked Sheriff Millar to swap out the AIB & auditors KPMG for their own preferred Trustee – Kenneth Pattullo of Begbies Traynor.

The interlocutor for the hearing before Sheriff Millar reads as follows:

The Sheriff, having seen and considered the letter of 2nd April 2015 from Levy and McRae Solicitors and it having been noted that an administrative error has been made on the interlocutor of 30th March 2015 in that the Accountant in Bankruptcy was appointed as trustee in error; Allows amendment of said interlocutor by appointing Kenneth Pattulo of Begbies Traynor (CentralLLP), FinlayHouse,10-14 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G12PP as Trustee in the Sequestration of Melanie Collins in place of the Accountant in Bankruptcy

However – according to both financial and legal experts – there was no error whatsoever in the original application to appoint the Accountant in Bankruptcy in the sequestration of Mr Nolan’s partner – Ms Collins.

And – a legal expert has said the court did not actually have the power to amend an error in a petition, rather the court could only ammend an error if the Sheriff had erred in his original decision to appoint the Accountant in Bankruptcy – which is standard practice in sequestrations,

When asked for more information on what happened in this case, and why Levy and Mcrae were able to force s Sheriff to swap the Accountant in Bankruptcy as Trustee for their own choice of Trustee – Mr Pattullo – Hamilton Sheriff Court have consistently refused to provide substantive explanations to these events and a number of addition, unusual rulings related to the sequestration of Ms Collins.

Now, Ms Collins has been told she should approach the court to recall her sequestration, on the basis the court had no power to alter the original Trustee – the Accountant in Bankruptcy – to that of Levy and Mcrae’s preference – Mr Pattullo.

However, in what has now become a battle to secure legal representation to recall the sequestration – multiple law firms have initially worked on the case, confirmed the events at Hamilton Sheriff Court are in error and should be addressed – but later the same law firms have mysteriously withdrawn from acting for Ms Collins after receiving ‘briefings’ or ‘communications’ from those with a vested interest in the case – including Begbies Traynor – the Trustees appointed by Levy and Mcrae.

In the latest attempt to recall the sequestration, Ms Collins approached solicitor Alan Cox of law firm Barton and Hendry in Cumbernauld.

Notes of a meeting between Mr Cox and Ms Collins reveal the solicitor took on the work, and wrote to Begbies Traynor.

However, in an email – dated 15 August 2019 – from Nicola Donnelly – a senior insolvency manager at Begbies Traynor to solicitor Alan Cox of Barton and Hendry – Ms Donnelly told Alan Cox in no uncertain terms that no matter who his clients approached for help – including elected politicians – there would be no change in how events would unfold – which have since led to the sale of all the couple’s properties.

In the email to Alan Cox, Nicola Donnelly states: “I would comment that your clients have instructed previous solicitors [as you are aware] and made complaints to the AiB and their MSP previously as they dispute the validity of the sequestrations. The position obviously will remain the same irrespective of how many different organisations are contacted to act on their behalf.”

Nicola Donnelly also added in her email to Mr Cox: “Eviction actions and forced asset sales are steps taken by a trustee as a last resort. Unfortunately, your clients continued lack of cooperation resulted in the trustee having no other option other than to initiate eviction actions.”

However, an ongoing media investigation has now established the eviction actions referred to by Nicola Donnelly – were undertaken by Addleshaw Goddard – a law firm where Alexander Sutherland – the son of Scotland’s top judge – Lord Carloway was based – but Carloway – real name Colin Sutherland – concealed this conflict of interest in his evidence to the Public Petitions Committee during which he faced questions from Mr Nolan’s MSP – Alex Neil.

After solicitor Alan Cox was contacted by Begbies Traynor – like all other solicitors engaged by the couple to attempt a recall sequestration – Mr Cox later said he could no longer assist in the case.

It should be noted, after Ms Collins was sequestrated in April 2015 – her partner – Mr Nolan – was then targeted by Levy and Mcrae on behalf of Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd in an action at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 1 September 2015.

In the action to sequestrate Mr Nolan – Levy and Mcrae hired Mr Gavin Walker QC – currently of Axiom Advocates – to attend Hamilton Sheriff Court with instructions to seek the appointment of Mr Pattullo to seize the assets of Mr Nolan – despite the fact he had won the Court of Session claim against Advance Construction for dumping toxic waste on his land.

The couple are now seeking new legal representatives to take on their request to recall the sequestration of Ms Collins, and the Accountant in Bankruptcy has been asked to launch an independent investigation of events in the sequestrations of Ms Collins and her partner, Mr Nolan.

The following questions on this case were put to the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) and it’s boss – Richard Dennis:

Does the Accountant in Bankruptcy have any comment on these targeted incidents of a criminal nature on Ms Collins & Mr Nolan and their farm – which led to the death of four horses and the couple being placed in a state of alarm and fear for their life?

Does the Accountant in Bankruptcy have any comment on the transfer of the titles and sale of the Morningside Farm property, and the fact these titles changed hands to persons of interest – during or only after the targeted fire attack?

Does the Accountant in Bankruptcy have any comment on the sale of this land and the main home & land at Bonkle to SIPS Homes (Scotland) Ltd, and how this sale came about?

Does the Accountant in Bankruptcy have any comment on why Mr Pattullo and Begbies Traynor have not interacted with the couple and their legal agents on various and numerous occasions?

Does the Accountant in Bankruptcy have any comment on the transactions in relation to the securities held by the Clydesdale Bank – during the sequestration of Mr Nolan & Ms Collins, and when the security was transferred during the sequestration from Clydesdale to Promontoria?

Can you clarify what are the AIB & Mr Dennis’ responsibilities and liabilities – regarding the actions of trustees, agents administering sequestrations, companies & individuals employed by, and acting on their behalf.

Cam you also clarify what are the AIB & Mr Dennis’ responsibilities and liabilities regarding any investigation process into the activities of trustees acting in sequestrations.

Can the AIB confirm if Mr Kenneth Pattullo and Begbies Traynor were the trustee in the sequestration of Mr Donal Nolan, and also the sequestration of his partner Ms Melanie Collins – during the dates of 17/18 May 2019 – these dates correspond to targeted fire attacks (currently under investigation by Police Scotland) which were made on Mr Nolan’s farm at Morningside, Wishaw.

Richard Dennis – the Accountant in Bankruptcy – has refused to issue any comment on the above questions put to his office.

CASE BROKE ALL JUDICIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES:

Nolan v Advance Construction Scotland Ltd [2014] CSOH 4 CA132/11 is the same case which exposed serious conflicts of interest in Scotland’s judiciary – notably where Lord Malcolm (Colin Campbell QC) failed to disclose on multiple occasions – the fact Lord Malcolm’s son – Ewen Campell – represented the defenders in the same court.

Since the sequestration of Mr Nolan and his partner took place after the conclusion of their court case – the couple have been the victim – of what some view as revenge for daring to take on a company with public contracts who illegally dumped hazardous waste on their land, where this same company was and is represented by law firms directly linked to senior figures in Scotland’s judiciary.

Mr Nolan and his partner have been evicted from their own home, lost their farm and land.

And – a deliberate, targeted fire attack on Mr Nolan’s stables at a farm in 2019 which resulted in the death of several horses –  is still under investigation by Police Scotland.

Sources believe the deliberate arson attack on the couple’s Morningside Farm which featured in news reports of the tragic discovery of burned bodies of dead horses – is linked to the couple’s sequestration and setbacks in court.

The investigation into the Lord Malcolm case of serious failures to declare conflicts of interest, is reported in further detail here: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Papers lodged at Holyrood judicial interests register probe reveal Court of Session judge heard case eight times – where his son acted as solicitor for the defenders.

It is also worth noting the Nolan v Advance (Scotland) Ltd case drew in a series of sheriffs and judges – from not easily explained hearings at Hamilton Sheriff Court involving Sheriff Millar, Peter Watson & Levy & Mcrae – and Lord Malcolm’s son – Ewen Campbell – to Court of Session judges including Lord Brodie, Lord Menzies, Lord Woolman, Lord Bracadale (and a concealed recusal) and Lord Hodge – who later prevented the case being appealed to the UK Supreme Court without declaring he had already ruled on the case while in Edinburgh on multiple occasions.

A recent development in the ongoing media probe of this case saw publication of a witness statement from Advocate Ewen Campbell – Lord Malcolm’s son –  which directly contradicts evidence given by  Lord Carloway – to the Public Petitions Committee and MSP Alex Neil in a hearing on 29 June 2017.

A further development saw a court-sourced witness statement of solicitor and ex-Sheriff Peter Black Watson to the Court of Session – which confirmed Watson employed the son of Lord Malcolm in the case to represent the client – Advance Construction Scotland Ltd – which ended up being heard by Lord Malcolm – who concealed his link to his son during multiple court hearings.

During the evidence session – Lord Carloway faced questions from Mr Neil on the Court of Session case – where judge & Privy Councillor Lord Malcolm (real name Colin Campbell QC) – heard a land contamination case – up to EIGHT TIMES while his own son represented the defenders – Advance Construction Scotland Ltd in the same court room.

In response to questions from the MSP, Lord Carloway (real name Colin Sutherland) furiously claimed that Lord Malcolm’s son DID NOT have any “active involvement with the case whatsoever.”

However – the witness statement dated May 2013 – signed by Ewen Campbell – covering the time Campbell worked for Glasgow law firm Levy & Mcrae – contains a written admission Mr Campbell confirming he did in-fact represented the construction company, alongside lawyer Peter Black Watson – who was at the time a Sheriff and partner at the same law firm.

A full report on the publication of evidence contradicting Lord Carloway’s testimony at the Scottish Parliament can be found here: DISHONESTY, LORD: Files reveal Lord Carloway misled Holyrood Committee on involvement of judges’ relative in Court of Session claim – witness statement exposes direct role of Ewen Campbell in £6M land case heard by his father – judge & privy councillor Lord Malcolm

Further material sourced from the Court of Session, including digital evidence in relation to the ongoing media probe of Nolan v Advance – will be published in upcoming articles.

 

 

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