Dec 1 2011 by Chris Clements, Hamilton Advertiser
THIS week’s action against Cameron Russell is just the latest in a 11-year struggle over Mrs Van Overwaele’s personal fortune and her ownership of Knockderry Castle.
The historic house was built on the site of an old Viking fortress and has had many visitors, including the former French president General Charles de Gaulle.
Since her sequestration, Mrs Van Overwaele, who is her 60s, has been ordered to leave her home, where she has lived for 35 years.
At Dumbarton Sheriff Court in 1997, Mrs Van Overwaele – then the owner of a bridalwear store – was ordered to pay a £230 bill to factors Hacking and Paterson. The Belgian claimed she did not owe the money but someone else did.
A year later, after she had failed to pay, the court ordered her to pay the original sum, as well interest, expenses and costs, amounting to £1573.
In 2000, she was sequestrated after failing to pay the money, and Mr Russell was appointed (“unlawfully”, she claims) as the trustee of her estate. Mr Russell, legally, had control of the castle at this point.
In 2001, despite Mrs Van Overwaele paying money to her previous debt, a sheriff rejected her appeal, saying it was too little too late. Money owed then stood at £30,000.
The House of Lords and the Court of Session rejected further appeals against sequestration respectively in 2002 and 2004.
In 2010, she sold Knockderry to her brother George Amil for £1m, a sale that is disputed due to the long-running legal wrangle.
Then in a spectacular event in September last year, sheriff officers acting on a court order attempted to evict Mrs Van Overwaele.
Throughout this period, the Belgian claims that Mr Russell has intimidated and bullied the family over the estate, a charge he denies.
Mrs Van Overwaele’s lawburrows action this week is an attempt, she claims, to avoid further intimidation from the chartered accountant.
l In a separate incident in 2002, Cameron Russell was severely censured by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).
A hearing found him guilty of professional misconduct and fined £2000, plus £3000 costs.
He had accepted an appointment as liquidator of a company which made war games figure, despite having a prior relationship with the firm.
ICAS found that he also failed to make any meaningful effort to market the company’s assets.