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N Touch
Wednesday 25 April 2018
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Duprey says he doesn’t owe John $5.1M

FORMER CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey will be allowed to change his defence in which he is now denying that he owes his former friend Carlos John for unpaid loans amounting to $5.1 million.

Duprey, who initially accepted liability, is now calling on John to provide proof and says even so, his claim has been filed out of time. Duprey had to convince Justice Frank Seepersad that he could change his defence and he did so.

In a ruling yesterday, Seepersad said the court could not prohibit Duprey from relying on a defence of limitation because of the position expressed previously.

The judge said the court had the jurisdiction and discretion to resolve the issue which is fair and just especially since the provisions of the Civil Proceedings Rules were silent on the course of action to be adopted in Duprey’s case.

He suggested that the Rules Committee should urgently address the issue as he said “there should always be a commitment to ensure that the provisions of the CPR are unambiguous and specific.” Seepersad will now proceed with Duprey’s contention that the claim is statute barred as a preliminary issue.

At a previous hearing, when John’s lawsuit came up for hearing at the Hall of Justice in Portof- Spain, Duprey’s lawyer Michael Coppin indicated that his client wanted to withdraw his initial position of having accepted liability.

Coppin said his client’s defence was now based on the statute of limitation while Industrial Commercial Development (Trinidad) Limited - which John is also suing - has amended its defence on a breach of contract principle.

In his lawsuit, John, who was a former government minister, said around 2012, Duprey, on various occasions, requested loans which he provided. He said there was an oral agreement between them for Duprey to repay the monies loaned.

John also alleged that Duprey used ICDL as a shell company to avoid personal liability.

In all, John said he loaned Duprey $5,166,125.60 and used his property to secure the amounts he borrowed from the bank. He also provided a table of wire transfers he made to Duprey’s bank account in Florida over the period March 2012 to September 30.

John said he was expected to be repaid in October 2013, pending a real estate transaction but he received no money. He also said in January 2015, Duprey acknowledged the loan amount and assured he would repay John when he sold his 418,880 shares in MotorOne Insurance Company which is owned by ICDL.

According to John, ICDL had entered into a sale agreement for the sale of Duprey’s shares in MotorOne in December 2015, and he was expected to receive an initial $24 million with the balance to be paid over one year.

He said even with the deposit of $12 million paid to Duprey for the sale of MotorOne shares, he (John) was not paid as promised.

He also said he has learned that there has been a revision of the terms of the MotorOne share sale with Duprey set to receive more than $54 million.

Although admitting the situation has been compounded by pending legal action relating to the MotorOne sale share agreement and a dispute as to the directorship of ICDL, John says there are no other assets known to him in Duprey’s name in Trinidad and Tobago and he is concerned that he will not receive the money owed to him.

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