The company suing one of Scotland’s richest oil tycoons and his businessman brother over an alleged fraud has agreed to a multi-million-pound out-of-court settlement.
The deal, due to be ratified at the Court of Session next week, has brought an end to a two-year legal battle involving Calum Melville, a former director of Dundee FC, his brother Stuart, and leading marine safety company, Cosalt Offshore.
Under the agreement, the Melville brothers are understood to have agreed to pay £2.5 million to Cosalt.
Cosalt Offshore began legal proceedings against the two brothers and London-based company Meapac Ltd in 2010, after it announced an investigation had begun into an alleged shortfall of up to £4m at its Aberdeen-based offshore division, headed by Calum Melville.
He was suspended from his executive post with Grimsby-based Cosalt, while the company carried out an internal review of the group’s businesses in Aberdeen. His brother Stuart, who was the operations director of the offshore unit, was also suspended.
The two brothers, who have strenuously denied any wrongdoing, resigned soon afterwards. Calum also quit as a director of Dundee FC at around the same time, after the club had gone into administration.
Cosalt has now announced that the company has agreed an out-of-court settlement with the two bothers after rejecting previous approaches by the Melvilles’ legal representatives to reach an agreement before the case came to court.
A Cosalt spokesman said: “On 20 October 2010, the company announced that an inventory check had revealed evidence of an unexpected stock shortfall in its Aberdeen-based offshore division and further investigation revealed a series of doubtful transactions involving a company called Meapac Ltd, which evidence suggests accounted for a substantial proportion of the shortfall. Subsequently, the company pursued a claim through the courts against Calum and Stuart Melville and companies associated with them for losses suffered by the group as a consequence of an alleged fraud.”
He claimed: “Of all the money paid to Meapac as an alleged ‘supplier’, 95 per cent found its way almost immediately into Calum Melville’s bank account or the bank account of companies directly controlled by him.”
The spokesman continued: “Shortly before trial, the company was approached by representatives of Calum and Stuart Melville with an offer to settle in advance of the court case being heard. While the company has rejected all previous offers to settle, it has agreed in principle to accept the latest offer.”
Calum Melville, reputed to have a fortune of £80m, and his brother Stuart, who both live in Aberdeen’s West End, could not be contacted for comment.
Source: Linkedin – 1 Oct 2012