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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 13:15 GMT
I won't pay a penny - Hoogstraten
Nicholas van Hoogstraten
Van Hoogstraten had his manslaughter conviction quashed
Property baron Nicholas van Hoogstraten says he will not pay the relatives of a man whose death he has been blamed for.

High Court judges ordered the tycoon to pay 500,000 interim costs in December after finding he was involved in the murder of business rival Mohammed Raja.

Mr Raja's family is claiming 6m in damages but van Hoogstraten told the BBC "they will never get a penny".

Van Hoogstraten, initially convicted of manslaughter but freed on appeal, said the Raja family owed him 1.7m.

When asked on BBC News 24's Hardtalk programme if he would pay compensation, the millionaire answered several times "of course not", adding "they will never get a penny from me".

Presenter Stephen Sackur then asked if he would pay up if the courts ordered him to. Van Hoogstraten replied: "Never".

Mohammed Raja
Mohammed Raja's family continued legal action after he was killed

It was then suggested to the 60-year-old millionaire, from Uckfield in East Sussex, that he would be in contempt of court if he refused to pay.

He replied: "Don't be so stupid. Where did you get that idea from?"

Mr Raja's family took out a 6m civil case against van Hoogstraten last year which resulted in Mr Justice Lightman ruling that, on the balance of probability, he was involved in the businessman's death.

Mr Raja, 62, had been in the process of suing van Hoogstraten over a business deal when he was stabbed and shot dead after answering the doorbell at his home in Sutton, south London, in July 1999.

His killers, Robert Knapp and David Croke - alleged to have been working for Mr van Hoogstraten - are currently serving life for murder.

Van Hoogstraten was sentenced to 10 years at the Old Bailey in 2002 for the manslaughter of Mr Raja, but his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal two years later.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch clips of the interview with Nicholas van Hoogstraten



SEE ALSO:
Tycoon 'responsible for killing'
19 Dec 05 |  Southern Counties
Van Hoogstraten evidence rejected
28 Nov 05 |  Southern Counties
Hoogstraten 'gave himself away'
24 Nov 05 |  Southern Counties
Van Hoogstraten 'behind killing'
23 Nov 05 |  Southern Counties


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