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Friend of Prince Charles in legal row over 'missing £350m'

A FRIEND of Prince Charles who paid for his 65th birthday party at Buckingham Palace is facing a legal claim partly instigated by Standard Life over a "missing" £350 million.

Standard Life's Edinburgh HQ

Heiress Priya Hiranandani-Vandrevala, the wife of London-based private equity tycoon Cyrus, is embroiled in a dispute with Indian residential builder Hirco, which claims investments totalling £350m are missing.

The couple gave £500,000 for the Prince's celebrations and sat next to him at the Buckingham Palace party last November.

Mrs Hiranandani-Vandrevala, 37, and her property billionaire father Niranjan Hiranandani face a legal case focusing on the 'missing' millions given to the company she headed by London investors including HSBC and Standard Life.

An Isle of Man court is to hear the case, involving claims of "fraudulent misrepresentation", which Mrs Hiranandani-Vandrevala denies.

The disputed £350m was raised in 2006 as an investment in giant apartment block schemes was planned for Panvel and Chennai.

But as the projects, controlled by developer Niranjan Hiranandani and his family, were half-built with many already sold off, Hirco claims the money vanished.

The firm's chairman John Chapman said: "We haven't received a single penny on our investment. Our shareholders and investors, which include HSBC and Standard Life, want us to pursue this case to its logical end."

Hirco claims they invested £350m in the real estate projects to be developed by businesses associated with the Hiranandanis - and claim they were induced to do so by fraudulent misrepresentations about what the land was worth.

Hirco claimed it was supposed to receive cash returns of £1 billion on its investment by 2012, but has received nothing.

The firm says the plots of land were worth no more than £160m, and claim Mrs Hiranandani-Vandrevala and her business partner father Niranjan made fraudulent misrepresentations during the deal. Hirco Plc has also made a claim for negligence.

Mr Hiranandani, who lives in Mumbai, denies all the allegations and has started her own separate proceedings in the Isle of Man.

A spokesman for Standard Life Investments said: "Standard Life Investments supports the board of Hirco plc in their pursuit of legal and financial redress for their shareholders."

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