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Vancouver developers in legal battle over Plaza of Nations breached agreement

The lawsuit comes four months after Concord Pacific Aquisitions sued Hong Leong Oei and Canadian Metropolitan Properties, alleging they breached an agreement involving land at the Plaza of Nations.

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The owner of a lucrative piece of Vancouver real estate has sued a developer for what he calls false claims the two sides had agreed to develop the property together.

Businessman Hong Leong Oei and his company, Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corporation, filed suit against Concord Pacific Acquisitions Inc. in the B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week.

The lawsuit comes four months after Concord sued Mr. Oei and Canadian Metropolitan Properties, alleging they breached an agreement involving land at the Plaza of Nations. Concord Pacific's lawsuit said the land was valued at $500-million. The site is a rare piece of property with potential for further development on the downtown Vancouver waterfront.

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The claims in the lawsuits have not been proven.

In the suit filed on Monday, Mr. Oei and Canadian Metropolitan Properties allege Concord's claims that an agreement was reached "were entirely false and were known by the defendants to be false."

The lawsuit alleges Concord advanced its claims to make it difficult for Mr. Oei and Canadian Metropolitan Properties to work with other developers.

"The defendants thereby sought to induce or compel the plaintiffs … to continue negotiations with Concord for the purpose of entering into agreements by which Concord would have an indirect interest in the lands and obtain for itself, or one of its affiliates, agreements to develop, construct, market and sell and/or lease the lands," the notice of civil claim says.

The lawsuit calls Concord Pacific's conduct "an abuse of the process of this court and an interference with the rights of the plaintiffs which resulted in the plaintiffs suffering loss and damage." It seeks general, special and punitive damages, as well as special costs.

Concord Pacific and the lawyer representing the company did not return messages seeking comment on Tuesday. The company has 21 days to file its response to the civil claim. Hui Chi Yan, also known as Terry Hui, president and chief executive officer of Concord Pacific Group, is also named as a defendant in the suit.

In its own lawsuit, filed in October and amended in January, Concord Pacific says Mr. Oei bought the land from another one of its affiliates, Concord Pacific Developments Ltd., in or about 1989. It says Mr. Oei has from time to time expressed a willingness to sell an interest in the land or enter into a joint agreement. Concord Pacific's lawsuit says discussions between it and Mr. Oei intensified last April and an agreement was concluded between May and August. It says a third Concord Pacific affiliate was to acquire a 50-per-cent indirect interest in the land and enter into a joint venture to develop the property.

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The lawsuit says Concord Pacific paid an initial deposit of $10-million in May. It says the agreement was made partly in writing and partly orally. It says the portion in writing included a draft share purchase agreement and a draft shareholder's agreement.

However, Concord Pacific's lawsuit says Mr. Oei and Canadian Metropolitan properties refused to honour the agreement.

Concord Pacific's lawsuit says Canadian Metropolitan Properties holds the title to the land. It says Hong Kong Expo Holdings Ltd. – which is also named as a defendant – owns all of the shares of Canadian Metropolitan Properties. It says Mr. Oei owns all the shares of Hong Kong Holdings Expo. In his response to Concord Pacific's lawsuit, Mr. Oei has also denied any agreement had been reached.

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