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JD Classics boss did act as 'sales agent' to collector seeking £9m in High Court, judge finds

A High Court hearing has found that classic car dealer JD Classics did act as an agent for a collector who claims to have “suffered catastrophic losses” during the trading of 41 vehicles.

Tycoon Mike Tuke is attempting to sue the Essex-based operation for around £9 million after alleging that the owner of the Essex-based operation, Derek Hood, invented fictitious buyers and sellers to boost its sales profits on more than £40 million worth of vehicles.

Court papers reveal that Tuke, an engineer from Guildford who sold his Finsbury Orthopaedics business for over £60 million in 2009, bought an array of rare cars from JD Classics between December 2009 and March 2013 as an investment.

Sean Brannigan QC and Alexander Wright were instructed by Michael Grenfell of Wilmot & Co Solicitors LLP, one of the country’s leading solicitors in specialist classic car litigation.

Brannigan said his client had claimed that Hood agreed to “source” cars for him for a 10% commission on profits during a meeting in December 2009, but later invented fictitious buyers and sellers for financial gain.

And at the first of four hearings to address the various allegations, Mr Justice Nicholas Lavender found in favour of Tuke, finding against Hood’s claims that he had never acted as his “sales agent”.

In court papers published after the hearing, Mr Justice Lavender said: “I am satisfied that Mr Tuke did appoint JD as his agent to negotiate and conclude the sale of cars and receive payments on his behalf.

“He did so in 2010, when the parties agreed that JD would receive a commission for doing so.

“That agreement remained in force throughout each of the subsequent sales actions.”

Mr Justice Lavender also concluded that Hood, who did not give evidence in court, had engaged in “deliberate and dishonest conduct” concerning representations made as to the ownership of a Jaguar Lister Knobbly, by claiming that it was owned by the potential buyer of a Jaguar XKSS when it was in fact owned by JD Classics.

Other similar allegations of fraud are among those to be resolved in the three ongoing court actions.

A statement issued by Wilmot & Co Solicitors LLP following the hearing at the High Court said: “This case illustrates how important it is for both dealers and customers to establish at the start of a relationship exactly what that relationship is, and to confirm it in writing.”

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