JD Wetherspoon is set to pursue a claim for damages running into millions of pounds after the High Court ruled it was the victim of 'fraud and dishonest breach of duty' by its property agents.

Van de Berg & co Ltd, run by Christian Braun, previously a friend of the Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin, earned more than £14m in fees over 15 years for identifying properties which Wetherspoon could convert into pubs.

However, VdB was deemed to have breached its exclusivity agreement with the pub chain by introducing third parties to freeholds first. The consultancy would then put Wetherspoon into the property on a lease – helping to bolster the capital value of the assets.

Daily Telegraph