A major teaching hospital trust is in legal negotiations with a company registered in the Bahamas over a land deal.
Imperial College Healthcare Trust is in discussions with Les Geonnais Limited, which owns the Ravenscourt Park Hospital in west London.
In 2002, Imperial’s predecessor, Hammersmith Hospitals Trust, took out a 15 year lease on the property in order to turn the site into an elective centre for the region. However, this venture failed and the trust sub-let it in 2007.
The lease ended in April 2017 and the trust is liable for any costs involved in bringing the hospital site back into the state it received it in.
HSJ understands Les Geonnais has asked for more than £50m to do this, with the trust estimating the costs at £20m.
Data on public expenditure over £25,000 shows Imperial paid the company £24m in rent over three years from 2012.
Les Geonnais is registered in the Bahamas and its ownership is unclear. The only publically available information on it comes from the Offshore Leaks Database, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The data shows the company being founded in January 2002.
The firm was also listed as a creditor of LIH, which Imperial sublet the property to in 2007. Les Geonnais’ representative in LIH’s insolvency process was listed as Roger Elford, partner at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys. HSJ approached the firm for comment but received no reply at the time of publication.
Imperial has instructed Allen & Overy, one of the largest law firms in the world, to represent it in the negotiations with Les Geonnais.
The grade II listed hospital, which was formerly the Royal Masonic Hospital, was built in 1933 and has a colourful history. In 1995, The Independent reported that the freemasons had put the property on the market for £15m the previous year.