MoD faces expensive legal battle against private equity baron Guy Hands, amid accusations it is trying to forcibly buy back Annington Homes
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) faces an expensive legal battle against private equity baron Guy Hands, amid accusations it is trying to forcibly buy back Annington Homes.
Annington, which is owned by Hands’ Terra Firma, has accused the MoD of ‘attempted expropriation’ after it announced controversial plans to take back ownership of an £8billion housing estate it sold for £1.66billion in 1996.
The MoD rejected Annington’s proposed settlement on Friday.
Fight: The Ministry of Defence rejected Annington’s proposed settlement
This paves the way for a protracted High Court case that could cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.
Annington, which offered £105m to upgrade UK armed forces’ housing, is expected to submit a huge claim against the MoD within the next few weeks.
Annington chairman Baroness Liddell said: ‘Buying back properties at a cost to the taxpayer of over £8bn is extraordinary.
‘We want to avoid a costly fight. The MoD should want the same.’ Liddell said that if the Government persists with litigation, it would signal that it ‘cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith, honour its obligations, or achieve value for money’.
Annington estimates that its legal bill could exceed £100m and span four years should it be fought up to the Supreme Court.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘Our approach offers a significant opportunity to deliver value for money for the taxpayer and increase our flexibility in meeting the need of service families and wider government objectives.’