Shamed lawyer Michael Karus sues own family

Karus sued his sister and brother-in-law. Picture: Deadline
Karus sued his sister and brother-in-law. Picture: Deadline
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A CROOKED New Town solicitor who sued his own sister and brother-in-law in an £11 million legal battle has won the case.

Michael Karus, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years for embezzling £400,000 from a pensioner’s estate, sued his relatives to recover assets he transferred into their names to protect his property empire.

The 53-year-old claimed victory after Anielka McElvogue, 55, and her husband, Anthony McElvogue, 54, agreed to settle the case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in an effort to sever links with him.

Karus – once banned from acting as a company director – admitted carrying out the transfer to hide his real worth from his estranged wife.

The shamed ex-lawyer sued through his company Playfair Investments Ltd in 2011. Last week the News revealed the property firm has been plunged into administration due to unpaid debts. It has also emerged Karus set up yet two more companies, Citypoint Ltd and Varcity Ltd, in the last few months.

A source said: “He’s a serial setter-upper of companies. Now he’s back in control of the companies from his sister, you wouldn’t be surprised to see properties moved into Citypoint Ltd instead. He’s out of jail, served his director’s ban and settled this case, seemingly without paying any penalty.”

Karus, who lives in Gloucester Place, boasted of being a “shark” who preyed on vulnerable victims. Two firms he transferred to his sister were GWS Property Ltd (Great White Shark) and Mako Property Ltd. It is understood the court settlement saw him take control of GWS, which has since been put into liquidation. Karus was returned as director at two other firms – Cordelt and Scotstone. Both firms – which boast a portfolio of dozens of properties in Edinburgh – are now subject to insolvency proceedings, according to documents filed with Companies House. The siblings had a bitter three-year dispute over the holdings.

In court documents, Karus claimed he had investments worth “several million pounds” in 2004 when he was hit with a “number of personal and business difficulties”, including the directorship ban after his firm, Arrowbay, went bust.

He claimed he transferred the assets of Scotstone, Cordelt and Mako to his sister in 2005, as well as 51 properties and more than £1.2m in cash.

Karus’s lawyers claimed Mrs McElvogue was supposed to hold them “in trust” until Karus wanted them returned.

Lawyers for the McElvogues said Anthony McElvogue mortgaged properties to lodge £500,000 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to help Karus following his embezzlement conviction.

alan.mcewen@edinburghnews.com