Tue, 27 Mar 2012 01:13:23 GMT

Cherrie Blair plays peacemaker in Indian dynasty feud



From H S Rao
London, Mar 26 (PTI) Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, will help to settle a family feud between the son and daughter of one of India''s wealthiest men over a 367 million pound international property empire, a media report has said.
According to a report in The Times, Blair is to play peacemaker in a legal battle between Darshan Hiranandani who is based in Mumbai and his sister, Priya Vandrevala, who lives in London.
It includes a lavish 90-floor residential tower in Dubai, one of the biggest townships in suburban Mumbai and valuable sites in several Indian cities, the report said.
The family''s huge wealth, estimated by Forbes at nearly USD 1.3 billion (820 million pounds) does not appear to have made them happy.
Relations between the siblings broke down three years ago after Vandrevala, 34, accused her father, Narinjan, and brother of collaborating to break a 2006 business agreement, which stipulated that they would only purchase and develop property in India on an exclusive basis with her.
The profits from all of their projects were to be shared equally between the two branches of the family, based in India and Britain, where in 2006 the Hiranandanis launched a company on the London stock market - Hirco - to raise cash for an expansion for their international property ventures.

Vandrevala, an accountant who is married to Cyrus Vandrevala - one of London''s top private equity chiefs - was appointed Hirco''s chief executive. The couple live in a 20 million pound home in Holland Park, the report said.
Hirco''s acting chairman David Burton described the legal fight as "an opaque inter-familial legal dispute" in the company''s annual report last month.
"Because the arbitration by its nature is private, we have limited visibility into either its substance or current procedural posture - though we have been informed that it may be resolved this year," he said.
As well as Cherie Blair, of Matrix Chambers, other members of the arbitration panel include Ajit Shah, a retired senior Indian judge, and Lucy Reed, another British QC, from St John''s Chambers in Bristol, who specialises in complex family disputes.

Vandrevala could not be reached for comment, the report said.

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