An Aberdeen businessman who was once one of Scotland’s richest men has been declared bankrupt – but insists he is still living a life of luxury in the sun.
Calum Melville flitted his life to Dubai two years ago, taking his business with him and leaving a trail of debt behind him in the UK.
Despite numerous court orders and demands from his creditors he failed to pay back the money he was due.
In March last year, he was evicted from his multimillion pound holiday home beside Gleneagles after a sheriff gave him 14 days to pack his bags for failing to pay back the Clydesdale Bank.
But the former Grampian Industrialist of the Year last night told the Press and Journal it was all part of a bigger plan to avoid paying off more debt.
He insisted he was “far from pleading poverty” claiming he was “perfectly comfortable in Dubai” in his £3million home and driving a 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed.
And he said he was fed up being tied to debt he was not personally responsible for.
“I am perfectly comfortable in Dubai,” Mr Melville said. “I own a nightclub and I am away to buy a hotel. I employ around 1,000 people. Well, between 500 and 1,000.
“The reason I allowed myself to become bankrupt is because I am sick to the back teeth of paying for someone else’s debt. By going down this process it means I will no longer be liable for any of it.”
The former Dundee Football Club director was taken to court last week by First Integrated Solutions Ltd, which is owned by Aberdeen oil tycoon Ian Suttie.
It is understood he owed the firm more than £55,072.
At a brief hearing, lawyers acting on the company’s behalf moved for the city’s sheriff court to grant the award of sequestration of Mr Melville, which Sheriff Graeme Napier did.
This means all of his assets will now be handed over to the Accountant in Bankruptcy, the Scottish body responsible for processing personal insolvencies.
This should allow any claimants to recover funds they believe are owed to them.
Jim Moig and Bob McKay, from Ellon, were also planning to make the same motion in court that day before it was granted.
They were trying to recover around £58,000 still owed to them by Mr Melville after he bought over Global Lifting Services, a company they had built from scratch.
The pair originally launched legal action in 2012 when they still had not received what they were due, and have since spent thousands of pounds on legal fees taking him through the courts.
Despite repeated attempts, sheriff’s officers could not find him to serve him his bill.
Now First Integrated Solutions, Mr Moig and Mr McKay hope they will be able to reclaim what they were owed when Mr Melville’s estate was seized.
However, Mr Melville told The Press and Journal he had nothing of value left in the UK for anyone to take, and said he had no intention of ever coming back.
He said he now has a growing empire in the Middle East and insisted that he had always intended to pay the money due.
But last night Mr Moig said that his claims were a “dose of nonsense” and claimed Mr Melville had been in contact with his lawyer before the court hearing to try to stop the process from going ahead.
He said: “That is just a dose of nonsense.
“He tried making us an offer on Thursday morning before the court hearing, but it just wasn’t good enough. If this was all part of his plan to be deliberately declared bankrupt why would he even want to try to settle?
“I never thought I would get a penny of the money back but we were not willing to just let him get away with it. Why should we?
“He is a Walter Mitty character.
“The reason he is saying he has no intention of ever coming back to the UK is probably because he can’t afford the air fare back.
“Maybe I should have considered dropping the action against him if he was going to fly me and my wife out to Dubai to experience this wonderful life he is living.”
A spokesman for First Integrated Solutions declined to comment on the matter.
Four days after the case called in court, Mr Melville approached The Press and Journal to say the sequestration had been recalled insisting the “situation was now sorted”. He said he had struck a deal to ensure he would not be liable for anyone else’s debt.
He said: “It has been recalled. They were not the problem with me.
“Everybody is satisfied now, especially me. I am satisfied because I’ve achieved what I want to achieve.”
Clerks at Aberdeen Sheriff Court have confirmed no recall had been moved for or granted.
From Rubislaw Den to Dubai
According to Calum Melville, his family moved from their multi-million pound home in Aberdeen’s prestigious Rubislaw Den around two years ago so he could grow an empire in the UAE.
And on paper that’s what he appears to have done. But all may not be what it seems.
Mr Melville claims his wife Susan – who he credits for his success – is the sole owner of a number of businesses all of which are grouped under the name OIM.
While he appears listed on most of the firms as a director, he has no ownership of any of them and has distanced himself from the running of Oilfield Integrity Management Ltd, which he claims has been “run into the ground”.
According to a Linkedin page, OIM Property Group has “interests” in both commercial and residential property in the UK, UAE, USA and Australia.
It claims to “add value through being a long term holder of quality assets”.
Mr Melville also claims to run OIM Entertainment, OIM Hotels Group, OIM Investment and OIM Fitness Group.
When speaking to the Press and Journal about their ever-growing businesses, the father-of-three claimed they had just purchased a hotel, owned a night club and employed more than 500 people.
In fact, he said business was so good he would soon have around 1,000 members of staff working for him across the OIM businesses.
Most recently Mr Melville – who the Press and Journal understands to be living in an apartment block in Jumeirah Heights – claims to have bought 50% of a new office and residential tower currently being built in Dubai.
The Sports One Tower, which he says he now controls, was initially backed by Axon, a South Korean firm.
Mr Melville claims the mixed office and luxury flats building will be worth £106million when complete and that the project had been on hold until he injected it with cash following the downturn in the property market there.
“They were (delayed). That is why we bought half of them,” he said.
“The project is back up and going. The building is 27% complete. I’ll have the builders in place in the next six weeks.”
He added: “There’s offices on the bottom four floors, and above that, luxury apartments.”
Mr Melville also said he had just paid £2.5million in cash to develop a 30,000sq ft workshop in the Gulf city for his growing empire.
And he claims to be working on securing a $2billion contract with OIM Energy Group in Iran.
However, in November Mr Melville had his passport arrested in Dubai for the non-payment of a Mercedes 555 he was renting.
Last night Mr Melville said it had been a “misunderstanding” after he put down cash as a deposit to buy the car he had been renting. He said the company thought he had missed payments for the car rental.
He said it had now been resolved and that he had his passport back.
Mr Melville invites the P&J to Dubai
The former Grampian Industrialist of the Year was quick to invite the P&J over to Dubai to experience his lavish lifestyle, interview him and to see his growing empire.
“Why don’t you jump on a plane, I’ll pay for it, I’ll even send you business class. You take your little camera guy and come and interview me,” Mr Melville said.
He had previously spoken about buying a football club in the UK, however when asked about the progress of his venture he was noncommittal.
“Come and talk to me about it,” he said.
And the 46-year-old praised his wife Susan, who owns most of the families assets along with his son Scott.
He said: “Everything is in my wife’s name.
“You know something, on a serious note – that’s when you find out. I’ve got the best wife in the world. We’ve been through a lot. She’s never complained. Never.”