A 15-year legal battle over the ownership of Angus golf resort Letham Grange has come to an end.
The several legal cases and appeals over the Victorian mansion house and its two golf courses near Arbroath — once dubbed Scotland’s Augusta — are believed to be among the longest running and complex in Scottish legal history.
After years of litigation, golf club members have been informed a settlement has been reached between the liquidator of Letham Grange Development Company, which collapsed in 2002, the company’s former Taiwanese owner Peter Liu and current owners PI Ltd.
The move will see Mr Liu regain control of the assets through another of his companies.
Members of the club, who have been maintaining and operating the prestigious courses since 2011 under a Licence to Occupy issued by PI Ltd, hope the club will continue to operate as normal.
Club honorary secretary Bruce Currie said: “We welcome this latest development that removes the uncertainty regarding ownership that has hung over the resort for the past 15 years.
“At this early stage we have had no direct contact with Mr Liu, who is understood to be abroad, and so no indication of his intentions for the future direction of the resort.
“Our current Licence to Occupy runs until February 28 2019 and so the golf club continues to operate as before, run by the members for the members.
“Mr Liu’s representative in Scotland has assured us that he has no reason to believe that his plans involve anything other than the continued operation of the club.
“He said that despite the protracted legal background – during which Mr Liu is quoted as claiming that the property was stolen from him by the liquidator – Mr Liu bears no ill will towards the golf club or its members.”
He added that Hock Chan, of Isle of Man based PI Ltd, had also contacted the club to express his gratitude for the years of support from officials and members at the club.
The hotel at the estate has been closed since January 2011. Its future is also unknown at this point.
Mr Currie added: “We are exceedingly proud that we have managed for the last seven years to save these wonderful courses from being lost.
“The rewards of our stewardship of the courses stand in marked contrast to the condition of the former hotel’s structure.”
A spokesman for the liquidator confirmed that a settlement had been agreed and that “outstanding legal matters” had been concluded.
He said: “As part of the settlement, title to the property at Letham Grange has passed to an entity associated with Nova Scotia 3052775 Limited, the Canadian company controlled by Mr Liu.
“As there were no other assets in the liquidation the only prospect of a return to creditors lay with the recovery of the property.
“Now this matter has been concluded, the liquidator will bring the liquidation to a close shortly.”
PI Ltd did not respond to a request for comment.
Timeline of the Letham Grange ownership saga
Letham Grange Development Company (LGDC) bought Letham Grange for around £2 million in 1994.
It was sold to Canadian-based company Nova Scotia Ltd – also controlled by Mr Liu – in 2001 for £248,100.
Another company under Mr Liu’s control, Foxworth, then placed a security charge over the resort.
LGDC liquidated in 2003 and liquidator Matthew Henderson sought a legal ruling that the 2001 sale was fraudulent.
Various court ruling and appeals came down both in favour of both the liquidator and Mr Liu’s companies.
The case eventually reached the Supreme Court which, in 2014, ruled Foxworth, held a valid charge over the property.
This meant that the liquidator had not been in a position to sell the resort to PI Ltd in 2011.
Under the terms of the settlement, finalised last week, PI Ltd has agreed to transfer the legal title to the property at Letham Grange to another company controlled by Mr Liu.