Category Archives: Offshore Investments

With David and Matt Ames as mentors, expect great things from Colonial Capital Group PLC

“That’s quite a team!

With quite a track record: ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.”

The Ames Gang rides again…

These guys just won’t quit.

Last March saw Harlequin’s Matthew Ames jailed for 40 months for his Forestry for Life fraud that took £1.6million from investors. Ames stole from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters.

Matt Ames was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well and talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him. And, hey… didn’t his family develop the acclaimed Harlequin Resorts? Yeah… shouldn’t be any problem with investing in Forestry For Life. Even James Middleton was in the picture! (Oh… you don’t know James? Ah… you might be more familiar with his sister Kate and brother-in-law William: as in “our future King and Queen”.)

One of Matt Ames’ colleagues at Forestry for Life was Kevin Neil – then on the rebound from seeing the High Court shut down his two property firms in the public interest – Agri Ventura PLC and Farm Venture Ltd. Neil was also the main figure in the CleanTech NRG financial collapse.

Three of Kevin Neil's CleanTech victims

Three of Kevin Neil’s CleanTech victims. Despite all Mr. Neil’s current directorships and past failed companies, we couldn’t find a photo of Mr. Neil. Can anyone assist?

The Mirror UK called Neil’s business a “Landbanking scam” and reported…   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Royal Family

Harlequin’s H Hotel: Latest photos of an eyesore that spoils Barbados

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 39

Harlequin Barbados Disaster 500

by St George’s Dragon

As promised I went to take a few photos of the Harlequin H Hotel today.

The site has obviously suffered less than Merricks, presumably because it is in a more populated area. It looks as though it was secure until fairly recently, although when I went it was possible to walk straight in from the boardwalk side of the site as someone has ripped the site hoarding door off its hinges.

There are still a few items of plant and materials on site, although nothing of any great value.

Such a shame. So many people have lost money just to create an eyesore that spoils Barbados.

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach boardwalk!

A lovely view for the tourists from the beach and boardwalk! Click photo for larger view.

Editor’s Note: The exposed rebar is salt-drenched and rusted, with salt-laden water dripping down into the concrete. How long before no self-respecting structural engineer would approve further work? Has that time already arrived? Do we have an architects or engineers out there to comment?

More Photos… 
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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Economy, Environment, Offshore Investments

Harlequin’s Merricks Resort “a rotting garbage dump – a liability not an asset”

Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 14Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 12

Why didn’t Barbados obtain completion guarantees backed with performance deposits and bonds?

Our political class, along with Harlequin and other developers, left Bajans holding the bag!

by Old Cutter

What a mess we have with abandoned and “on hold” construction sites and failed projects throughout this country. There is a reason for this and it is not “economic slowdowns” or “unforeseen circumstances”.

“We have these numerous failed project disasters littering our coasts because our DLP and BLP governments allowed unfettered development of our beautiful island by almost anyone that showed up.”

Politicians’ offshore accounts are fat and happy

Our elected representatives stuffed bags of cash into offshore accounts of their “consulting” companies but never acted to protect Barbados from shaky developers.

Our political class never imposed standard contract conditions like performance guarantees and deposits. The big developers hired DLP and BLP friends and family as ‘consultants’ in exchange for building permissions.

“Everybody knows how this place works, and why the political class never voted for Integrity Legislation or assets declarations since Bajan independence almost 50 years ago.”

Harlequin Resorts is just one more failed developer, but they fell in a big way and are worth looking at closely…

As the broader Harlequin Resorts debacle carries on in the courts we see Harlequin suing accountants Wilkins Kennedy and WK countering with accusations of their own, and many other court battles in various stages.

Somewhere in all of that there is a book figure for the value of Harlequin’s assets, including the abandoned Merricks Resort site in Barbados.

Whatever that book figure is for Merricks Resort, a visit to the abandoned construction site reveals a rotting garbage dump that is undoubtedly far less of an asset due to the demolition and environmental cleanup that would be necessary prior to any new activity. Barbados Free Press covered this story a year and a half ago, and the deterioration is easy to see when we compare the photos then and now. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Bajan Poppets consider Al Barrack

Al Barrack Barbados

(Thanks to Bajan Poppets facebook)

Reason #275 why doing business with the Barbados Government like having a pet viper!

“Beware when you do business with the government of Barbados, because the court is the government and the government is the court.”

by Nevermind Kurt

by Nevermind Kurt

Remember Al Barrack? The Barbados government owes him BDS$77 million dollars plus for almost ten years, but won’t pay him.

Sure, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart promised to pay Al Barrack in November 2012, but Stuart lied pure and simple. The DLP government is really just waiting until Al Barrack dies. That’s the usual strategy of Bajan governments both DLP and BLP when the court orders the government to pay big damages or do something about a court judgement: just ignore the court order and wait until the poor bastard dies. Government squelches any effective news coverage through the expedient tactic of providing government advertising funds to local news media.

Hell, it’s worked since 1900 as a legal tactic to delay the court and to keep the press in line… so why shouldn’t the same tactic continue to work? It’s worked fine to handle Al Barrack so far!

Former PM Owen Arthur awarded "no tender" contract to Barrack.

PM Owen Arthur awarded “no tender” contract to Barrack.

You see, the BLP Owen Arthur government granted a $100 million dollar contract to Al Barrack to build a government office building – nevermind that Barrack had never done much more as a builder than to renovate some washrooms. (Okay, okay, that’s an exaggeration, but Al Barrack had never built anything remotely as large as the office building the BLP government contracted him for.)

Al Barrack reduced to this to try and have the government obey the court.

Al Barrack reduced to this to try and have the government obey the court. That’s Al dressed in white-face and carrying a placard sign. Poor bastard!

Oh… Did we mention that there was no tender?

That’s right folks, Barrack was simply awarded a 100 million dollar contract on the basis of his… what? His smile? His ability to sing? His reverse Al Jolson talents? (I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles…) His Barbados Labour Party membership? (I choose #4… BLP membership!) Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Newly revealed report details Harlequin Resorts due diligence disaster

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

If you can’t see fraud and Ponzi schemes here… you aren’t looking!

According to a due diligence chart posted online, Harlequin Resorts’ The Merricks development in Barbados did not file financial accounts for seven years between 2006 and 2013.

During that same period The Merricks took in £47,946,581 in payments from victims ‘investors’ but only spent £7,971,246 for land and construction costs.

That leaves £39,975,335 outstanding, or… a better way would put it: that leaves £39,975,335 MISSING.

How many Ministers of Government received ‘campaign donations’ from Harlequin during this period? How did our government protect investors and Barbados’ reputation during this period?

Why did the Barbados government allow this to happen? Seven years without required filings and Barbados politicians were content to line up for photographs with Harlequin’s David Ames? What the heck were they thinking?

Or… were our politicians simply delivering the service that they had been paid to deliver? With no Integrity Legislation and no Freedom of Information laws, Bajans will likely never be able to prove who the villains are.

The Harlequin Resorts chart is nothing more or less than a confirmation that Harlequin was and is nothing more or less than a gigantic Ponzi scheme.

More and more the questions are shifting from Harlequin to the UK and Barbados authorities charged with maintaining the law…

The question has become: Why have the authorities not acted to arrest and charge David Ames and his co-conspirators?

Comments are open!

You can download the due diligence report at Barbados Free Press here, or download it from FileTea.

 

 

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Harlequin house of cards continues to fall

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

David Ames – Harlequin CEO and Ponzi Scheme King!

Where does one start when considering the sad tale of ‘investors’ who trusted their life savings with the predators working to sell never-to-be-constructed resort units for Harlequin?

These predators (called ‘financial advisors’) received 9 percent of the sale price off the top – and that came from the client’s 30 percent deposit! The clients were not told that about a third of their deposit was going as a sales commission, because that would have been an instant indication to most folks that something was terribly wrong.

Harlequin bastards. Most of the ‘financial advisors’ were unregulated, uninsured and totally unqualified. The ‘investment vehicles’ were different corporations in different countries – obviously created for the sake of confusion, hiding money and avoiding liabilities. Often Harlequin sold units on land that it did not own.

The scams could only have been pulled off with the cooperation of elected and appointed government officials in the different countries.

Harlequin’s ‘business model’ (I use the term with a rising anger) was totally unsustainable and is proof that the whole Harlequin scheme was an intended scam from the start. Like any Ponzi scheme, Harlequin collapsed because payments to previous investors relied upon finding sufficient new suckers to swindle. Once the cracks start to appear and new investors shy away, these types of frauds unravel very quickly.

And so it was, and is, with Harlequin…

UK Financial Ombudsman Service sides with Harlequin victims

The recent Financial Times Advisor article ‘Financial Ombudsman Service – FOS decision on Harlequin must be tip of iceberg‘ tells the story of the next chapter well. One of the profiting scam artists, Harris Knights, has been ordered to compensate a ripped off couple in full…

“… the ombudsman has ordered Harris Knights to take ownership of the Harlequin investment and compensate the couple in full.”

Thailand Court sides with Harlequin Victims   
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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Canadian Court upholds Revenue Canada – disallows “Barbados Structure”, penalizes Canadian company’s use of offshore Barbados subsidiary.

canada_barbados_flag

 Marzen Artistic Aluminum Ltd. v. The Queen (2014 TCC 194)

I’m don’t know much about this kind of thing, but it doesn’t sound good for Barbados. According to our Google Alerts, the tax sector is abuzz with this latest Canadian ruling that runs 80 pages. (download the ruling here – PDF)

Comments from the cheap seats?

In a lengthy set of reasons, the Tax Court upheld all but a fraction of the CRA’s reassessment of the taxpayer, such reassessments having disallowed the deduction of approximately $7.1M of fees paid by the Canadian taxpayer to its Barbados subsidiary. The Court also upheld the imposition of a penalty under subsection 247(3) of the Act…

… from Dentons Tax Litigation blog: Marzen: Artistic Barbados tax plan defeated

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Filed under Barbados, Canada, Offshore Investments