Exclusive: Bakers partner pays £130k to settle claim she swindled cousin
19 May 2017
A window cleaner has obtained a six figure settlement from a Baker & McKenzie
partner after suing her for over £200,000 for, he claimed, swindling him out of his burger van inheritance.
Tommy Crozier accused his cousin Jannan Crozier, a funds partner in the international firm's London office, of pretending that a loan from his hot dog tycoon father was a gift so she could avoid paying it back.
According to Tommy, his father Thomas Crozier made a fortune operating a fleet of fast food vans outside Old Trafford in the 1980s, on one occasion boasting to his son that he bought burgers for 6p and sold them for £1.50. After an HMRC investigation Thomas mistrusted banks and instead, said Tommy, stashed large amounts of cash around his home in Manchester including in a safe, behind the fireplace and under the floor boards. Tommy said he once counted £87,000 piled in the corner of his father's living room, and discovered frozen blocks of bank notes stuffed inside the freezer.
In his claim, Tommy said that in around 2007 his father told him that he loaned Jannan £400,000 when she joined Baker & McKenzie so that she could buy a flat in London, on the understanding that she would pay him back £1,000 a month. But after his father died intestate in 2010, Tommy discovered that Jannan had cancelled the standing order the month of Thomas’s death, leaving the bulk of the alleged loan outstanding.
||Jannan Crozier, Tommy Crozier, and the source of all their problems
Tommy sued in 2015, alleging in his claim that Jannan and her mother, Joan Crozier, had also made inadequate efforts to locate him when his father died. He said that when he finally visited his father’s house, he discovered that Joan and her brother had already emptied it. The pair had engaged a locksmith to drill open the safe which, he claimed, they told him only contained "small change
”. Tommy blew up at Jannan and she said his subsequent behaviour constituted a campaign of harassment. In 2013 she obtained a restraining order against him which remains in place.
According to Jannan’s defence she was her uncle's “favourite
” and she had made him "extremely proud
" when she secured a training contract with Baker & McKenzie. When she set her heart on a £310,000 flat in the Isle of Dogs "even though it was too expensive for her budget
", he gave her £100,000 as a gift to help her buy it. Her defence claimed that she "failed to take into account
" solicitor's fees and stamp duty and persuaded Thomas to give her an additional £13,000. Her mother was "furious
" when she found out about the extra gift and made Jannan pay £1,000 a month into an account her mother controlled on Thomas' behalf until the £13,000 was repaid. By August 2006 the debt had been cleared, but the transfers continued for another four years and three months until the month Thomas died. Jannan's defence stated that she continued to make the transfers as "a contribution to help her sister save up for a place of her own in London
" and stopped making the payments when Thomas died because "her mother took steps to rationalise her various bank accounts and her sister was shortly to purchase a property
But rather than do battle in court, in February Jannan offered to pay Tommy £133,000 and his costs to settle the case, which he accepted.
Jannan's lawyer, Richard Harrison of Laytons, said, "This is a long-running family dispute with a history of serious harassment of Ms Crozier, which culminated in a restraining order being made against [Tommy] Crozier, which is still in place. In that context, Ms Crozier defended this case vigorously and stands by her defence. Ms Crozier was committed to taking the matter to trial but made a Part 36 offer in order to protect herself against costs that were likely to be irrecoverable and which the claimant chose to accept rather than go to trial.
Tommy told RollOnFriday, "Baker & McKenzie has known about this for five years. Between Bakers and City of London police I have been robbed of my inheritance. I am 100 percent sure Jannan is up to her neck in it and will be brought into the claim I have ongoing with her mum
Baker & McKenzie declined to comment.