Harlequin Accountant blows whistle: claims massive “Ponzi scheme” in court action

Harlequin & David Ames: Ponzi Scheme House of Cards?

New investors’ deposits used to pay existing investors’ interest payments!

“Cash raised by deposits: £270million

Amount spent on commission and marketing: £127million”

… from court papers filed by Harlequin’s former accountant

Accountant Jeremy Newman behind Harlecon website

“Harlequin is almost entirely dependent on investors’ deposits for income.

It has repeatedly tried and failed to obtain external financing. It cannot afford to meet its existing contractual obligations.”

… from court papers filed by Harlequin’s former accountant

Harlequin spent 47% of investor’s deposits on commissions and marketing!

by Barbados Free Press staff

Now we know why independent financial advisers and the news media pump Harlequin so much: Financial advisers are paid huge commissions, and the news media makes millions upon millions from advertising revenues. Together the financial industry and the news media were a wonderful tag team to snare both sophisticated and neophyte into ‘investing’ in off-the-plan resorts: most of which will not be built, according to a whistle-blowing accountant.

How much did our Caribbean Politicians receive?

How much investors’ money did Harlequin give Barbados DLP & BLP?

How much of Harlequin’s ‘marketing and advertising’ expenditures were directed to Caribbean politicians and government officials? That question will never be answered in Barbados because we have no election funding disclosure laws and no Freedom of Information legislation. And that’s the way the politicians like it!

Barbados politicians and government staff have been heavily involved with Harlequin’s projects in Barbados. Lately we haven’t seen many politicians taking photo-opportunities with Harlequin projects, but Bajans recall about four years ago it was nothing but smiling politicians on the CBC touring construction sites, or talking with Ames. Not any more though because that Harlequin house of cards is looking a little shaky and the political class is running for cover.

Bajans and burned investors won’t forget though how our politicians, financial advisers and news media let us down. If it looks too good to be true… well, you know the rest of the story, and sadly, so do many Brits and others who trusted their pensions to what looks more and more like one of the classiest Ponzi schemes that has been seen since, well, since the last one.

Echo News publishes bombshell Harlequin story

Folks, we don’t like to publish the full text from other publications, but in this case we again have to because of the public interest. Just like last time, there’s nothing on the Echo-news.co.uk website about this latest development, so we have to publish the entire article so we can back up what we’re saying.

List of all previous BFP Harlequin articles

Here is the latest Echo News story in PDF and text…

harlequin10  (PDF about 120k)

Accountant says he acted to protect potential Harlequin investors Website warned of luxury resort ‘fraud’

EXCLUSIVE
By JON AUSTIN
jon.austin@nqe.com

First published by Echo News November 14, 2012

AN accountant claims he set up an anonymous website about a luxury resort developer he used to work for to warn investors it was a major fraud.

Jeremy Newman, a former senior manager with accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy, defended setting up spoof website Harlecon, about Basildon business Harlequin Property, claiming he acted in the public interest.

The website, online from October 2011 to June 2012, was registered in Singapore.

It ran to more than 1,300 pages and likened Harlequin to the Ponzi scheme frauds of Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford.

Harlequin, run by David Ames, 60, from Brock Hill, Wickford, entirely refutes the allegations and condemns as false and “wildly defamatory” all its claims.

It was taken offline after a complaint to Wilkins Kennedy by solicitors Carter Ruck, after Harlecon was traced to Mr Newman’s home.

Harlequin filed a libel claim at the High Court against Mr Newman, another of its account- ants Martin MacDonald and Wilkins Kennedy itself, as their employer.

Mr MacDonald and Wilkins Kennedy deny any involvement and Mr Newman was suspended before resigning.

In his defence statement, revealed in papers submitted to the High Court, Mr Newman justified the website by branding Harlequin a “systematic fraud”.

Harlequin sells “off-plan” accommodation at several planned Caribbean resorts and has partnerships with tennis ace Pat Cash, golf legend Gary Player, and footballer Andy Townsend.

It has taken millions of pounds in deposits since 2005 to build at least 6,000 holiday homes, but has so far built around 300 at Buccament Bay in St Vincent.

Mr Newman’s defence papers, submitted to the High Court, allege Harlequin knew it did not have finances to complete all resorts, and therefore acted fraudulently, by not disclosing this to potential investors.

His defence, submitted by barrister Ian Helme, said: “Harlequin is almost entirely dependent on investors’ deposits for income.

“It has repeatedly tried and failed to obtain external financing. It cannot afford to meet its existing contractual obligations.”

The firm plans to build six resorts in the Caribbean. The defence papers, submitted by Mr Newman’s legal team, claimed it would cost Harlequin about £400million to do this.

But it claimed the firm has at most £54.6million left and Buccament Bay has not yet made profits.

It added: “Harlequin is aware that financially it cannot construct the resorts. Despite this, it continues to market its resorts as good investments.

“It spends a huge amount of money on advertising and marketing, using well-known figures and brands.

“There is a real danger of members of the public and other investors losing very substantial sums of money as a result of Harlequin being unable to hon- our contractual obligations.”

Carter Ruck told the Echo Mr Newman had run the website anonymously, using offshore web hosts to cover his tracks.

In a statement it added: “Mr Newman’s defence is fundamentally flawed in numerous respects. It also contains innumerable falsehoods and factual inaccuracies.

“(He) does not even attempt to justify his false allegation that our clients are guilty of running a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. In an attempt to support his equally false assertion that our clients are merely to be suspected of such misconduct, Mr Newman relies on material which is vastly out of date.

“No such suspicions were raised when Mr Newman, his supervising partner Martin MacDonald and Wilkins Kennedy were acting for Harlequin and developing the very business model Mr Newman now purports to criticise.”

Ponzi scheme claim made in court papers

HARLEQUIN sold properties under a 100 per cent finance scheme, by offering to pay mortgage interest for any investor who took out a loan to pay the deposit, until the properties were built.

Jeremy Newman claimed in the defence papers submitted to the High Court interest payments were then “secretly” paid for using money deposited by new investors – a so-called Ponzi scheme. In the papers, he also accused Harlequin of promoting its properties as being available at half market value, while knowing they “were worth considerably less” than sold for.

Another claim was Harlequin made “repeated statements” about having full planning permission for the resorts, when at the time of Harlecon going live, it only had full planning for part of Buccament Bay.

Business ‘did not have enough cash’

ACCOUNTANT Martin Mac- Donald resigned as Harlequin’s auditor after warning David Ames his business would “fall apart” because it could not get funding, defence papers submitted to the High Court claims.

Jeremy Newman claimed a month later, in June 2010, he warned Harlequin’s solicitors it did not have money to build properties it was selling.

He also claimed Harlequin’s lawyer in the Caribbean suggested it may be a Ponzi scheme.

However, Mr Newman claimed Harlequin’s response was to threaten legal proceedings.

Harlequin claims Wilkins Kennedy resigned as account- ants only after being warned it would be removed due to its con- duct and conflicts of interest. It is bringing a separate claim of professional negligence against Wilkins Kennedy.

138 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

138 responses to “Harlequin Accountant blows whistle: claims massive “Ponzi scheme” in court action

  1. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2012 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    Sounds just like the what the DLP and BLP does, Just to run Barbados.
    New rates and taxes along with land sales of Plantations lands with no deeds. Play the music , and when the music stops no where to sit nor live.
    PONZI and Massive Fraud all the way.
    When the amount of people cuts back we all will see who the wizard of OZ is.Sir Cheltenham , CO Williams, Bankers, DLP and BLP .
    Vote smart VOTE none , The Police is the tress stand there doing NOTHING
    CALLING SCOTLAND YARD , THE Queen need to look into what her SLAVES doing.
    Independence Day is coming not DLP – Day Nor BLP – Day .
    VOTE Independent on that day

  2. yatiniteasy

    The proverbial is starting to hit the fan…duck!

  3. BBaywatch

    This will certainly be a legal action to watch, by investors but also by the rest of us who are more concerned with the impact of this style of operation on tourism and development in the Caribbean region.

  4. 138

    Harlequin supporters will no doubt quickly say that these are merely allegations without substance, and people should not be so quick to jump on anti-harlequin bandwagon, and that we should wait for the court to decide. This would be a fair retort. However, people in the Caribbean have felt for a very long time that this Harlequin scheme and model cannot work, and we have simply seen his resorts remain unstarted, which supports all the negative theories out there, as well as Mr Newman’s opinion.

    I am not convinced if this is exposed as a ponzi scheme that it will have a terrible affect on the region. It will have a negative one certainly, as any region that allows a ponzi scheme to flourish does not look good. Government ministers of all the islands have been aware of the allegations of ponzi schemes for many years and some have even agreed in private that Harlequin is one, in their opinion. Some islands did not want to do business with Ames as his model was too weak and they also believed he was running a scam. Again, just opinions without any court ruling or hard and fast evidence, other than the obvious lack of product delivered.

    The reason I am not convinced it will be terrible is that for many investors who have been to the islands and got to know them, they did not even consider the Harlequin model for a moment. It was so very clearly something that was a massive risk and essentially when you understand the locations and what they were proposing, the chances of it working were almost zero, and the chances of them being able to deliver the 10% guarantees, and the financing, time frames etc were absolutely zero. Harlequin were saying they would do something that no other developer had done before, at a cost below what any developer had developed before, in inferior locations to established product, and with vastly inferior experience in development, resort operation, and in the Caribbean. Ames never had a chance from the start. Therefore, those same investors will not be put off the region, as those who lose out would have been those that were sucked in by their IFA or whatever, and signed agreements that were very pro Harlequin, and did not do their own due diligence.

    Noone forced them to sign and invest and if they had taken more care, they would have realized it was a bad deal for them. The Caribbean remains a stunning place, and a great place to make home, second home or regular holiday destination. A scam run by someone with a history of scamming (Thailand) does not make the Caribbean a bad place to invest. It may affect the SIPP or fractional market for the smaller investor, but again, proper due diligence and being on island working with a reputable local lawyer will ensure a happy end to a purchase.

    Again, nothing has been proven yet though, and the opinions of many who believe it to be a scam could be changed if Harlequin prove they do have the funding to deliver, and fast.

  5. LAUGHIN ALL THE WAY

    Mr. Aimes should have kept the $50,000.00 he paid Tisha Devoni Young Hinds to testify against her ex lover of Celate Construction that she helped run to the ground., now she does not have fancy Jeeps to drive and have to be taking the bus, “Oh how the might have fallen.”

  6. Let’s hope some bajan polititians and other caribbean polititians who got involved with this scam goes to jail with its architect wen the time comes.

  7. hurry up

    will be real nice when the crooks are all viewing life through windows with bars on them….asuuming they are guilty of course :-0)

    Bit of time to go yet, but does seem to look like Mr Ames will not be needing that pension plan after all

  8. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    Its such a shame everyone who has invested via a SIPP will probably lose there pensions😦

  9. Anon - reasons unknown

    Well, SOH, the thing is that somebody has to stop them else more and more people get sucked in. It’s an awful dilemma for an investor who realises they were mis-sold the dream.

    But you have been airing your concerns openly, without worry about the threat, insults and bullying from Harlequin and those defending Harlequin (merely for their own agendas, which are likely to be self-interest and greed), and I’m hopeful you will be rewarded for your integrity and bravery.

    I’m pretty certain that the scam has been reported on numerous occasions to the SFO and FSA, so they are accountable for allowing the scheme to continue to suck in vulnerable, inexperienced and trusting investors.

    I don’t think the collapse of Harlequin will mean that investors necessarily lose ALL of their investments. There will be a pot of money left, a few hundred units on SVG, land on other islands, the Ames family assets (fraud is a criminal offence, so they can’t protect any assets through “clever” title games), and the authorities will have to take some responsibility for not acting more quickly on reports they received.

    Hang in there. It may be a long road to travel to get your money back, but you will have options even after the collapse of Harlequin.

  10. new stuff

    Over the years there have been a few points where I have struggled to see how Harlequin could carry on for more than a month or two. Every time they seem to bounce back for another round. I wonder if we are at that point again.

    This defence will be a hard path for Newman because the libel laws are so stacked against the defendant. Newman has the burden of proof in this case and Harlequin have to do nothing other than assert that any single thing Newman has said is false. For those who hope that this case will be about what is true and what is false may be disappointed. It will only be about what can be proved to be true and what can be proved to be false.

    For example, Newman will have to prove that £127m was spent (at some specified time) on commissions and marketing. As far as I can tell, the judge has no power to force Harlequin to open their books to scrutiny to see if this is the case. Harlequin would be within their rights to simply say that it was a false statement and challenge Newman to show otherwise and then not lift a finger to provide any evidence whatever. I am concerned, but maybe someone with a greater insight into the workings of the law can post a reply, that every last statement on the alleged 1300 Harlecon pages could be trawled through for a single statement that Newman was unable to prove to be true and then this would be the end of the case.

    We might say that Newman would be in a better position than most investors, having at least seen the accounts, and so may be able to prove things that others have only been able to speculate on. It might not be possible for Newman to present this evidence to the Court though because he might still be under a confidentiality clause from his previous employer that forbids him from making public any information. So, even if he has evidence to back up the statements he may not be able to use it.

    All I can say is that the evidence (long delays, investors finding it hard to claim refunds they are entitled to, delayed or non filing of accounts…) are more understandable in the light of Neman’s account being true (or at least nearer the truth) than Harlequin’s.

    All we can say for sure is that we don’t know much and can only speculate about where the truth actually lies.

  11. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    Well at least there is so much more information out now than when we invested, so people will be able to make a much more informed decision before investing,…… I mean would you invest knowing what you know now? which if it is a ponzi scheme will bring it all to a head due to lack of funds It will probably be years before this and many others go to court so time will tell they Harlequin really need to put investors minds at rest and quickly perhaps if they do start another build ? or show the company accounts? Its not good enough that we are not kept informed is it?

  12. Anon - reasons unknown

    New stuff – just to pick up on one of your points. You can rest assured that Harlequin’s confidentiality clauses over disclosure of their accounts will not take precedent over disclosure leading up to, and during a trial!! Duh!

  13. new stuff

    Thanks for the clarification Anon – reasons unknown.

    I wasn’t sure whether a confidentiality clause in a contract would take precedence or not.

    Could a Court demand that Harlequin open their accounts for scutiny? For example, if Newman says that the accounts show that £127m was spent on commissions and marketing and then Harlequin say “no they don’t and we’re not going to show you”, could a Court Order force disclosure?

  14. 36

    Also I think it is remembering that Newman has resigned/forced out of his company. That would suggest they are not fully backing him. If they cannot substantiate their defence claims then compensation to harlequin could be £ms

  15. hurry up

    @ new stuff If a court thinks information relevant to the case in hand is being hidden or such information would prove the case either way they will and can instruct for the information to be made avaialble, with refusal not an option

  16. BBaywatch

    An interesting piece on how the UK libel law can work in practice –

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/14/dominic-carman-jimmy-savile-and-my-father

    It begs the question, if the law is observed does justice follow? Clearly not if the consequences are that criminals like Saville are cloaked by it and the victims denied justice. One would have to ask if the lawyers are not complicit in the denial of justice? Magazines like Private Eye in the UK (and others) have campaigned for a fairer version of the libel laws and more protection for whistle blowers.

  17. With all the information we now have at our disposal, have our caribbean leaders learned nothing from the sanford debacle and getting involved with these foreign crooks. Guess is time the extradition treaties are activated one conspiracy and guilt are proven of course

  18. BFP

    BBaywatch… good point!

  19. anonymous6

    also not helpful regarding recent lord mcalpine case. awful that he was accused of something he DID not do and it is quite right that he can sue for libel/damages BUT this will no doubt deter many people from expressing an opinion based on the information that they are aware of in fear on being sued by very powerful and in the most case richer people who can afford to employ the best lawyers to stop certain information getting out there.

  20. BBaywatch

    The mere threat of action under UK libel laws is enough to silence many or even to get people to pay up without court action and has long been recognised as being unfairly weighted in favour of the complainant. Having said that there is an unfortunate trend to use Twitter with no regard to the consequences, so balancing protection for injured parties against public interest disclosure will continue to be problematic.

    It is interesting that there has been no discussion of this latest turn of events on Trip Advisor, which had a lively and informed group of posters who commented on BB – amongst many other things. It would appear that they have been silenced, which is ironic as Harlequin seem able to get transparently obvious puffs posted as reviews on a regular basis. This is quite a volte face by TA who in the past have deleted many of the reviews but now close down discussion critical of BB.

  21. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    I do not know if it is true but I was told that Trip Advisor pass on email addresses of complainants to hotels that advertise with them,One thing is for certain is that if a company advertise a lot with them then they will not bite the hand that feeds will they?

  22. anonymous6

    BB- i think that quite a few who made comments on TA just realised that it was futile as the threads just got shut down and so have chosen to come on here instead to highlight any concerns/ show factual information/ express opinions on their own circumstances so that a balanced view can be heard.

  23. 138

    I posted on a TA thread, nothing emotional, accusatory nor imflammatory, but certainly questioned Harlequin as I do have various facts that are not positive about their model. My TA account was promptly shut down. I believe Trip Advisor do work with Harlequin to ensure negative threads don’t make an appearance, or last long, because as SOH has said they spend a lot of money with TA and its afiliates. It also explains why so many clearly false reviews, or reviews by investors/agents are allowed up. We all recall when they had some 80 odd postive 5 star posts before they were even open tot he public. If ever more proff was required about TA…

  24. yatiniteasy

    TA is now a highly questionable source of reliable information on Hotels , restaurants etc, as there is no way to control or monitor fake reviews from real ones. I see the same descriptions used in multiple postings on BB …”sheer beauty” “whisked away ” :sheer paradise” “stunning” and many more cute phrases…as if written by the same author?
    Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

  25. Anon - reasons unknown

    Article from Kwikchex earlier this year citing Buccament Bay reviews in relation to false TA reviews:

    http://www.kwikchex.com/2012/03/problems-for-tripadvisor/

    Article from the BBC earlier this year on the UK Advertising Standards ruling that TA could no longer claim that its website contained “honest” traveller reviews (funnily enough, the BBC article mentions complaints received from Kwikchex whose article on Buccament Bay is posted above):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16823012

  26. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    Very Interesting! I actually did hear of someone complaining in the early days about their trip to BB firstly to Harlequin ( and got nowhere) and then posting on TripAdvisor and then being offered through there agent a free holiday in return of taking down their TripAdvisor posting, I guess Harlequin had to sort it with TA eventually or there would be a lot of people on a lot of free holidays still?

  27. Mr Brown

    To reiterate:
    “These are merely allegations WITHOUT SUBSTANCE and people should not be so quick to jump on the anti-Harlequin bandwagon….”
    Let’s be absolutely clear. HARLEQUIN are not on trial here!
    The court will decide if the defendants(Jeremy Newman and Wilkins Kennedy) are innocent or guilty of the charges laid before them.
    The court will not decide if the claimant (Harlequin) is innocent or guilty.
    That’s how the legal system works.
    So,lets not have a verdict,from a kangaroo courtset up by a lynch mob, finding Harlequin guilty when they do not have a case to answer!!

  28. 138

    It is not as simple as the above. The defense papers make very serious allegations against Harlequin, and these allegations are now in the public domain. The allegations in fact have been in the public domain for a very long time, but have not been allowed to get big attention due to Harlequin ongoing retention of Carter Ruck. In all the developments I have seen in the CAribbean for the last 30 plus years, never has a developer been embroiled in such controversy, had to repeatedly use a libel lawyer to silence investors and staff, and frankly fail to do anything it has said it will do in such a spectacular way. Harelquin may not be on trial in the courts, but it does have to defend itself from all these allegations otherwise the sales will certainly dry up, and then the question even more starkly remains – where is the money to complete the massive commitments that remain outstanding? Even if Mr Newman does not prove all his claims in court, only if Harlequin can refute them with solid evidence will the court of public opinion be silenced.

  29. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    HERE HERE!!

  30. anonymous6

    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/static/pubs/guidance/gc12-12.pdf

    well worth reading. a recent publication by the fsa.

  31. BBaywatch

    ‘These are merely allegations WITHOUT SUBSTANCE’ – well yes, in your opinion they are, but clearly not in the case of Mr Newman. Perhaps Mr Brown you could show us the proof of why you believe that there is no substance?

    It has to be said that it is difficult to understand why anyone would put themselves in such a position, as Mr Newman has, if they were not acting as a whistle blower. I cannot imagine what other motive there might be.

  32. anonymous6

    totally agree. mr newman must have been aware regarding the outcome of making such allegations and that harlequin were highly likely to take this to court. YET he was prepared to risk personal and professional implications to get this information out there. once would have to assume therefore that he has the documents and proof to back this up. i guess we will soon all find out.

  33. 36

    If the Newman defence does not stack up in court and Harlequin win their case then I suspect the damages due to harlequin could be substantial. If his allegations are correct then why did his employers not stand by him?

  34. anonymous6

    @36 . it has already been aired that WK said they were not aware regarding the harlecon site. therefore why would they open themselves to litigation. i would assume that mr newman decided to resign to keep them out of it and take personal responsibility for his website and allegations and any subsequent ramifications. quite a brave thing to do in my opinion as he had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

  35. 36

    Or they realised that what has been alleged is not true. Aren’t KW being sued also? Is it being suggested Mr Newman is a “people’s hero”?

  36. anonymous6

    i guess we shall all find out soon. BUT a very important observation was made previously regarding litigation and the fact they all going via civil proceedings. why if harlequin think they have been defrauded out of millions and millions have they not contacted the police, SFO etc to investigate – perhaps they have ?? who knows ??

  37. 138

    Much of what was said on Harlecon was self-evidently true. Not sure how they will make thousands of homes magically appear, nor how they will make the recorded lies on youtube disappear. Also, the marketing by the IFAs was so ridiculously inaccurate and impossible, very hard to disprove that.

  38. 36

    @anonymous6: Harlequin have not been defrauded. Their case will be based on if the Harlecon web site has damaged their business. If it is proved that Mr Newman’s information he posted is incorrect then he and KW could be liable for substantial damages.

  39. anonymous6

    @36- i was referring to the action being taken against their previous construction company who were accused of mis-appropriating millions!!!. is it civil or criminal proceedings that are underway?

  40. New stuff

    @36 If I can correct your previous post.

    For Harlequin to win a libel case there is a lower burden on the court than you suggest. They do not have to prove that information on the Harlecon website is false. They only require Mr Newman to fail to prove it is true. This is a very different matter. It is quite possible for Harlequin to win the case even if every last detail on the website is true. Winning the case does not give anyone reassurance that the Harlecon site has been shown to be false.

  41. BBaywatch

    One does wonder that if The Guardian were to print the Graham Norwood feature now, instead of some years ago, would the outcome of Harlequin’s action be the same? I imagine that they are bound from revisiting the subject by the terms obtained by Carter Ruck, so cannot re run the feature but you have to wonder why they were penalised when this is unchallenged?

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/154474/Recession-2010-When-hotspots-turn-cold

  42. curious

    Just a curiosity, have any of the above contributors or indeed anybody from bfp actually visited any of the harlequin projects or the harlequin offices in Barbados?

  43. 138

    Yes, have been to all their “projects” (I use quotation marks as some have not as yet commenced any meaningful work) but not been to the offices. Everything I have seen would suggest this is a company that it would be extremely risky to invest in. Blu in st Lucia is always empty, and nowhere near 4 star. Buccament bay has very high running costs and also has been empty the two times I have been there, and was told it loses a lot of money. Nice place though, great scenery. Marquis is a massively difficult site, and cannot see developing as has been planned as it will just cost too much. Merricks is working on the show homes still, but remains many years behind schedule. The h hotels are just red herrings, as these should never have been started when people were awaiting their investments to be built in the other developments. Allamanda is already a long way behind schedule and over budget. In the dr, nothing has started still. They do not pay many of their trades on time at all their projects.

    All indications are it is a company that has made commitments it cannot possibly fulfill. That is just an opinion though, based on seeing the products, knowing the locations and knowing the industry well. Will see if the court case reveals any real numbers to back up the various suspicions.

  44. Anon - reasons unknown

    Anyone any idea when the court case is due for judgement? Painfully slow. I understand from research I did a few years ago that court cases in the Caribbean take on average 2 years. For simple breach of contract, I mean.

    Incidentally, I wouldn’t advise anyone to use a lawyer in SVG. And I’m sorry if that’s prejudice, but I would use someone in Barbados. Contact the British Embassy for a list. That’s what I did. They can’t recommend a lawyer, but they can give you a list. I think it’s useful to use a lawyer on a list given to you by the British Embassy, if you know what I mean.

    By the way; the Embassy didn’t respond to me, so I contacted my MP who gave them a push. Use all resources available.

  45. BBaywatch

    Which court case are you referring to? This thread is about the Harlequin action against Mr Newman and his former employees.

    It’s difficult to say for sure but various sources have mentioned that there are at least half a dozen actions against one or more Harlequin companies in the Vincentian courts. There doesn’t seem to be any information in the public domain re the status of these actions. I would assume that you would need a lawyer recognised by the Vincentian courts to represent you in any action within their jurisdiction so I’m not sure how using a Bajan lawyer would work. There are some UK lawyers who also act in the Vincentian courts which would be the best option for a UK claimant.

  46. yatiniteasy

    Has this thread lost steam? Anyone have any new information on lawsuits, progress of construction,,etc? Is Harlequin Air operating yet? Has anyone gotten title to their units at Buccament yet? If not, why not.
    What is happening in St Lucia…Dominican Republic? Merricks?.
    Its about time for Harlequin to issue a new “Newsletter” so we can read of their great achievements in 2012. Its December tomorrow…not much time left to fulfill 2012 promises.

  47. 138

    No news I believe, they have got away with not building for so long, it just goes on. If you look at some of the Harlequin threadds on this site, they go back a long time and people weer saying the game is up years ago, yet still Harlequin and Ames survive. Updates will be in the form of what legal action is new and what are the results of the old. Harlequin Air is not flying still. Nothing has started at Marquis, nothing int he DR and work plods on on show homes at Merricks. Work plods on on the H Hotel. I suspect they will get the old Allamanda open at some point, but again it is a hotel that was never planned and they went ahead with it even though investors were and are waiting their investments to bestarted on other sites. No financing is in place, nor is it likely to ever be, BB still gets rave reviews and investors remain amazingly patient.

  48. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    Fraud squad arrests investment boss in “fake carbon credits” probe

    10:30pm Thursday 29th September 2011 in NewsExclusive By Jon Austin

    The boss of two Basildon companies which went into liquidation owning investors £1.2million has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

    Matthew Ames, 36, from Goldfinch Lane, Thundersley, was arrested by City of London Police on suspicion of fraud by false representation and fraudulent trading.

    He was bailed until the new year, pending further inquiries.

    The police probe followed an Echo investigation in two of his companies Forestry for Life Limited and The Investor Club.

    Special report in Friday’s Echo.

    What is it they say about give me the boy for the first five years…………
    I guess he learnt this behavior at his Fathers knee!!!

  49. markstar

    looks like the next irish court session is next feb….

    2013 FOR TUESDAY 5TH FEBRUARY
    2010 06443 P HARLEQUIN PROPERTY (SVG) LIMITED & ANOR V O’HALLORAN & ANOR (FH) (4wks)

  50. anonymous6

    there is an article in todays echo regardind matt ames that says he has been charged with 2 counts of fraudulent trading. BFP will no doubt publish the full article in due course

  51. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    mmmmm Cant wait !!!

  52. BBaywatch

    Here’s the link to The Echo piece –

    http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/10087656.Fraud_charges_for_green_firms__boss/

    Matt Ames was of course marketing director of Harlequin until just prior to his arrest. He resigned just in time – no doubt so that this wouldn’t contaminate the main company.

    As an aside you do have to wonder how a former postman turned conman and the brother of the future Queen ended up in the same business??

  53. Edward Smith

    They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree don’t they!

  54. SICK OF HARLECORRUPTION

    I will have to tell my postie there is a vacancy I think he would be very interested he has 2 GCSEs do you think he is qualfied enough!

  55. curious

    Another curiosity, has anybody established a link, professional or social, between O’Halloran & Newman & Wlikins Kennedy?

  56. Nostradamus

    The last paragraph (posted below) from the link above makes interesting reading.

    “We also look at costs of investment versus actual asset worth. We found that a disproportionate amount of commissions and incentives inflated the investment price well above true asset value.”

  57. BBaywatch

    another significant quote –
    “”Being non-regulated investments, we treat all literature claims as false until we can verify through independent sources that they are accurate. Several [for Harlequin] we were unable to do.”

  58. yatiniteasy

    Something strange going on at Harlequin Barbados Hotel site….Nothing! They might still be closed for Xmas vacations…or…they may have run out of money? Place locked up tight …no one in sight. Has the construction company quit? 2013 should be an interesting year, especially given the news item posted by anonymous today.

  59. Anon - reasons unknown

    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/smallfirms/your_firm_type/financial/

    The Financial Services Authority in the UK today issues an alert relating to the Harlequin investment.

  60. New stuff

    Interesting alert from the FSA. It falls short of telling IFAs to avoid Harlequin Property for SIPP investors but their expected due diligence questions make interesting reading. If anyone asked those three questions of HP it’s hard to imagine that they could recommend the projects for a pension investment.

    Maybe this alert will cause some IFAs to steer clear of these investments in future. If anything went wrong then the investor would have this alert to fall back on if they wished to sue the IFA.

    People are saying “the net is closing in” but people have been saying that for years and it seems to business as usual for HMSSE. How much longer will this run?

  61. Anon - reasons unknown

    That reads like a clear warning from the FSA to any IFAs still choosing to advise a client on a Harlequin SIPP.

  62. Anon - reasons unknown

    No word from the Harlequin lobbyists on the FSA warnings?

    I’d be interested to hear from Harlesuccess in particular as to whether he thinks this means the FSA are jealous of Ames and his success? (I still have no idea what that success is).

    I wonder if Dave Ames is on the phone to Carter Ruck this weekend instructing them to write to the FSA with a libel threat unless they withdraw their warnings?

  63. GOLDEN BALLS

    New Stuff,.This unique investment will run as long as there are wise investors around who wish to take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity.Nothing else comes close.

  64. New stuff

    I agree Golden Balls, nothing else comes remotely close to this investment.

  65. 122

    What a superb investment opportunity it is. Invest your money, see nothing built and get no return. Only for wise investors.

  66. anonymous95

    i believe there may be another court case c april 2103 (not harlequin) but
    involving a previous “agent” vs previous “adviser” which may shed some light on just how much some of these “agents” knew as way back as 2008 and still continued to sell as “low risk”. rest assured the outcome will be reported (some people are prepared to stick to their principles and see it through to the end whatever the outcome).

  67. Truthseeker

    Jeremy Newman is a lying immoral coward acting out of pure self preservation because he knew he was already in serious trouble for helping Paudie O’Halloran steal investors money from Harlequin.

    Jeremy Newman and Paudie O’Halloran only created Harlecon to try to ruin Harlequin before the case got to court.

    But let us pretend that Jeremy is a shining knight for a minute and consider some things.

    How very curious that PAUDIE O’HALLORAN’S ACCOUNTANT JEREMY NEWMAN only grew a conscience AFTER Harlequin took action against Paudie when MILLIONS OF INVESTORS DOLLARS VANISHED on their watch!

    How very curious that PAUDIE and two Wilkins Kennedy employees JEREMY NEWMAN and MARTIN MCDONALD had secret meetings. And how very curious that the two Wilkins Kennedy employees LIED to their employer and claimed they never happened!

    How very curious that Jeremy Newman was SACKED by Wilkins Kennedy AFTER it was proven he ran the Harlecon campaign against Harlequin, which he had DENIED before then.

    How very curious that Paudie and Jeremy are thick as thieves and now run a company called KELLTEK GROUP together!

  68. Anon - reasons unknown

    I don’t think anyone’s too bothered about any campaign which exposed the ponzi, maybe even fraudulent, operations of Harlequin and the revolting Ames family. In fact, it’s clear from here and other sites that most people fully backed the campaign.

    I had thought you were Ames when I read the first of your vile spew this morning, but I’m confused as you are able to string a sentence together and spell. Whatever your reasons are for trying to twist this and attempt to drag Harlequin out of the sorry pit it is falling into, give it up. You’re pathetic. Revoltingly pathetic.

  69. Truthseeker

    Harlequin has two open properties and the H hotel opening in Barbados this year. Buccament Bay has won awards!

    This has been achieved DESPITE Harlequin being under relentless attack by the people who want to avoid going to court for the $millions that went missing.

    How is it a terrible thing that Harlequin is putting money into Barbados? The travel industry is already excited about the H hotel. That will bring jobs and money to Barbados.

    Harlequin Developments also employs lots of Bajans to build H.

    All that money going into Barbados and that is seen as a bad thing?

  70. Truthseeker

    The next comment will be that part of a ponzi scheme is running a very successful hotel that wins awards and puts a commercially under developed country like St Vincent on the map before it even gets an international airport.

    Or maybe that the ponzi plan is to CONTINUE TO BUILD in Barbados and open another successful hotel.

  71. 241

    Buccament bay loses fortunes, as does blu which is virtually empty always and very cheap to stay in. How are these successful? Because they win an award or two? They are not commercially viable. Village inn owners could not believe it when harlequin overpaid for the loss making inn. H hotel is a bold plan but moving at snails pace. It does not matter if drmmond is Jack the ripper, the content of harlecon was never refuted by harlequin because it was and is true.

    It is not a terrible thing to employ bajans, no one said it was. It is a terrible thing to rip off people’s pensions and it is self evident that is what has been done because nothing that has been promised has been delivered (and stop harping on about one one third built loss making resort) not to mention the administrative failings of the harlequin group. No matter how you try to point fingers elsewhere and twist things, does not change these facts. You harlequin disciples who are either agents or staff are shameful, you are participating in a horrid scam that will hurt innocent people. Come to the Caribbean and ask around and see how welcome you and Ames are here outside of svg.

  72. 36

    @Annon-reasons unknown: I don’t think your reply to Truthseeker does you any credit at all. What part of the post is “vile spew”? Can you be more specific and disprove the contents of the post or are your comments just uninformed rhetoric? If the post is correct then I,m sure it will come out in the two court cases.

  73. Anon - reasons unknown

    “does me no credit at all” for whom? Defenders or backers of Harlequin? That does not concern me in the slightest. People still defending Harlequin are either utterly stupid or complicit.

    The fallout for SIPP investors and those who’ve remortgaged their homes to invest will be massive and tragic.

    Regarding the case in Eire, you may want to have a read of the Judgement for costs last January. It seems the courts don’t share your opinion that there is a case, and have made judgement that Harlequin provide costs up front as it seems the court aren’t of the opinion that Harlequin can afford to pay damages or costs in the event of O’Halloran winning the case.

    Have a read of this little excerpt:

    1.2 Amongst other things, an application for a Mareva injunction against Mr. O’Halloran was brought by Harlequin but was refused by Finlay Geoghegan J. by order of 10th September, 2010, a similar application as against Mr. O’Halloran Snr. having been abandoned. The basis for that refusal was that Finlay Geoghegan J. was not satisfied, on the evidence placed before her, that Harlequin had made out a sufficient prima facie or arguable case.

    If you want to better your own “uninformed rhetoric”; you can read the full judgement here:

    http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/09859e7a3f34669680256ef3004a27de/c8c46cd094d686f4802579ba00357f7c?OpenDocument

    Perhaps you should stretch your research beyond what you’re being told by Harlequin, their agents, IFAs who recommended them or any vile-spewing internet poster still trying to make pitiful excuses for Harlequin’s abject failure.

  74. Anon - reasons unknown

    Another excerpt from the judgement; for clarity.

    C. That, on that basis, and it being accepted on behalf of Harlequin that the O’Hallorans had established a prima facie defence and that there were no special circumstances, it followed that the question of whether or not Harlequin should be required to provide for security for costs turned on whether there was evidence that Harlequin would be unable to pay the O’Hallorans’ costs if the O’Hallorans were to be successful.

    D. That, on the basis of the evidence then currently available, and having regard to an analysis conducted of that evidence in the course of the relevant ex-tempore judgment, I was not persuaded that Harlequin could meet an order for costs in favour of the O’Hallorans in the event that the O’Hallorans could succeed but that, lest an injustice be done, I felt it appropriate to give Harlequin an opportunity to put further evidence before the court or, in the alternative, to consider whether it was possible to put in place a legally enforceable agreement between Harlequin and the ultimate UK parent company of Harlequin, which would have the effect of giving the O’Hallorans priority to the indebtedness of Harlequin to its UK parent in the event that costs were awarded in favour of the O’Hallorans.

    As matters transpired, it did not prove possible for Harlequin to put forward any relevant additional evidence or to put in place arrangements of the type described and it followed that, on 22nd November, 2011, I ordered Harlequin to provide security for costs and directed that the amount of that security be, in accordance with the practice in the Commercial List, fixed by the court rather than the Master.

  75. 36

    If you did some basic research you would find out that the link between o’halloran and Newman quoted above is correct. The court case re O’halloran and Harlequin is current and I would suggest is additional to the case you quote. Truthseeker is trying to add to the truth so calling him a “vile-spewing Internet poster” really is pathetic.

  76. Anonymous

    Niether Truthseeker or Harlisuccess have disproven anything the majority of posters are saying. Does that do them no credit too, especially Harlisuccess when he accuses others of being evil conspirators without any foundation or evidence to show that facts being put forward are not correct?

    Truthseeker is indeed presenting some facts to give another side to the story which is welcome and interesting, however is also still trying to market and promote a company with statements that are just simply wildly misleading – calling BB very successful and so on (it could be the nicest hotel in the world, but it loses money hand over fist and does not file accounts). That I am afraid is just nonsense.Harlequin may indeed be under attack by people looking to avoid going to court as Truthseeker says, but they are also under heavy criticism from many investors, many observers, the FSA and numerous property journalists because the indisputable facts point to either a failure of gargantuan proportions, or a scam.

  77. 36

    And that is the important point, all the facts need to come out. I have followed up on what Truthseeker has said, and he is correct. Calling him a “vile-spewing Internet poster” really adds nothing to the debate, or do some posters just want to hear what they want to hear?

  78. Mark Amen

    TRUTHSEEKER, What about the other alternative websites are they all lying as well and the investors who went on rip-off britain, All the newspapers and investment papers and of course your bosses company accounts. Get a grip man and start planning your escape. It could of course be that Paudie and Jeremy discovered the truth and whistle blew!!

  79. Truthseeker

    Thank you 36 for a voice of reason.

    As you correctly say I have just posted facts unlike Anon RU who can only rely on insults and ridicuous comments.

    Anon RU is clearly against Harlequin and prone to making very stupid baseless claims like “most people fully backed the [Harlecon] campaign “. What people? Most of the several people on Harlecon? Most people on BFP? The internet? THE WORLD? What is that wild assertion based on? Did you run a poll?

    241 clearly works for Harlequin and has run a hotel before because he somehow knows that Harlequin’s properties are empty and that new hotels always make profits in their infancy. If he does not then his comments are as ridiculous as Anon’s.

    A hotel does not win awards and excellent reviews by being a failure. Get a grip and stick to facts.

    241 and Anon both talk EXACTLY like Harlecon did. It is all wild accusations with no proof in an attempt to scare and harm. If you point out that a comment is nonsense they ask you to disprove another and another. It is tiresome and poisonous just like any other TROLL on the internet.

    If Jeremy Newman and friends were so righteous why did they shut down the website immediately when Harlequin’s lawyers contacted them? It makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER that Jeremy Newman would roll over so pathetically quickly if he was compelled by righteousness and truth.

  80. Truthseeker

    Mark every company has critics. Even charities have critics. Mother Theresa has many critics. Every company also makes mistakes.

    If people are throwing around silly insults and ridiculous claims as proof it is natural to conclude that they are not talking from a position of facts and reason.

    I urge you and everybody to judge based on facts.

  81. 106

    And if the claims are so baseless, why are WK prepared to go to court to defend them?

    This whole thing with trying to draw attention to previous builders and auditors is a smokescreen, and not a very good one. The volume of evidence in the other direction is far more convincing.

  82. 195

    Anyone got their legal title yet to their BB unit? Just asking.Its been almost 6 months since Mr Ames said in their Sept 2012 newsletter “we are now in the process of handing over legal title to the
    properties at Buccament Bay Resort, which is a significant step and completes the
    cycle that we promised all those years ago.”
    Read again…WE ARE NOW IN THE PROCESS…….did it happen?
    Only the green eyed gloom mongers are asking these questions…and there are no answers.

  83. 241

    New Stuff, the vast majority of hotels in the Caribbeanmake a loss in teh first couple of years, and as a general rule of thumb will aim to break evenand move into profit by year 3. If you look at Ames explanation of his business model ( check on this link, it is hard to desicpher what thisman is saying most of the time because he is not an educated man, nor an experienced or practiced businessman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiGy4Tg-LOE) then it is relevant as to the profitablity of the hotel as his is relying on that to pay the guarantee and the mortgage of investors. Now 3 years after BB has opened, it still would seem to make horrific losses, based on a general understanding of resort operations here, their high operational cost structure and their low occupancy and low rate.

    New Stuff, if you want to stick to facts and fact checking, please perhaps update us on the following:

    Is it not a concern that Ames said he had sold 1,200 homes in 2009 in St Lucia. They have not starteda single one. Is that a cause for concern and if not why not? They do not even have full planning permission, is that a concern for investors?
    Merricks Resort in Barbados was sold out years ago, and has not yet started in earnest. Why not, and is it not a cause for concern?
    In teh DR, sales have been reported to have been very strong over the years, but as of today, no building has yet begun. Is that not a cause for concern?
    People have not got title to all their units in BB, why not? Is that a worry for owners?
    Financing is still not in place, why not? Is that not a worry?
    Who has been funding the losses of BB and Blu?
    Why did Harlequin build and take on other developments when they were so behind in their older ones?
    Why do Harlequin allow agents to sell properties based on a certain rate and then immediately start selling at 2% of that rate? I refer to Blu.
    Are people getting paid out their guarantees and their share of room revenue at BB and Blu?
    Why have Harlequin not filed accounts for so long? Is that not a concern?
    Why would the FSA have singled out Harlequin for comment? No other unregulated overseas property has been singled out in this region.

    The above are all factual realities,and there are many other questions, but perhaps you can assist with those answers. Let us assume that Jeremy Newman and O’Halloran are scoundrels and crooks. It does not change the above, so look forward to hearing your thoughts on those..

  84. 36

    WK will have to put up some sort of defence otherwise the judgement will just go against them. This will leave them open to a multi £m damages case. I think the fact that O’Halleron and Newman are directors of the same company shows complicity which cannot be disputed.

  85. Truthseeker

    Exactly as 36 stated. WK are being taken to court along with past employees so of course they will try to fight it.

    What a very strange comment and unfortunately it is typical of the level of discussion on these articles. It is like taking part in a 9/11 conspiracy debate.

  86. 241

    Truthseeker, as you appear to be a big harlequin supporter, any thoughts on anonymous’s questions above? Does seem like more than very high risk investing, with all those issues and a weak real estate market, would seem irresponsible to recommend this investment for pension funds.

  87. Anonymous13

    Far from Jeremy Newman being a hero,he will find himself behind bars for years,joining business partner,and the thief Padraig O’Halloran.
    O’Halloran will already be behind bars following his own upcoming trial.

    Newman,also a thief, cannot be regarded as a whistleblower.His non-stop,vitrolic campaign,lasting several months, went way,way beyond whay anyone would consider to be in the public interest.Why did he opt to host his website from Singapore,hoping never to be found?His almost daily attack on Harlequin,much of which carried vile personal attacks against staff working there and the Ames family,can never,never be justified.

    His employers at the time,WK,also being taken to court,could not get rid of him quick enough.He has allowed himself to be a stooge of O,Halloran.and will get his just reward.What a fool!

    This site is going the same way as Harlecon with many of the same nasty comments,lies and misinformation coming out.For all we know, O,Halloran,Newman and others continue their vile,putrid smear campaign under different guises,following their own now frantic agenda.
    What a bunch of liars and society misfits they are!!!!

  88. I actually met someone at a Harlequin meeting who has completed on BB, by way of a virtual mortgage and virtual management fees, I think,that he pays Halequin a certain amount each month for the ‘mortgage’ and the same for the ‘management fee’ this was not a 70% LTV, no cash back and the net result was break even? So that’s not very exciting…

  89. Anonymous

    Any chance we can put newsman and o’halloran to one side and get a harlequin supporter to address the real problems with harlequin that have been raised?

  90. 36

    @grustgrust. I hope the virtual finance was not through Caldora. That did seem flakey.

  91. BB (Beggars Belief)

    Anonymous at 2.06pm, I couldn’t agree more. Newman, O’Halloran, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all could be as guilty as anything and this would do not a single thing to show that Harlequin investments are a safe bet.

  92. Truthseeker

    Anon I am against the vicious campaign of LIES designed to damage the company that is suing them.

    Look at the source of these accusations and IT ALL COMES BACK TO HARLECON aka Jeremy Newman, Paudie O’Halloran and Martin McDonald. BFP published articles with thanks to their “friends” at Harlecon!

    That means the reality of the situation is that THE BIGGEST THREAT TO INVESTORS IS THE POISONOUS HARLECON CAMPAIGN.

    There are and will always be unhappy customers. It is to be expected when there are thousands of them. Watchdog have spent many hours attacking companies big and small based on a relatively small amount of complaints within thousands or millions of customers. That does not mean they are evil or criminal.

    People should do proper due diligence whether it is Harlequin or anyone else. Property investment is always a risk.

    People should also look at the FACTS of all this anti-Harlequin nonsense and make up their own minds.

  93. Anonymous

    This is what anon at 12.13am on 27th Jan has tried to do and has asked you about these facts so you can put your side forward about the concerns that arise from the facts.

  94. BB (Beggars Belief)

    Truthseeker, I agree with you. Let’s just stick with the facts.

    For a moment though let’s enjoy a story about an overseas developer called Jester Property. I invite you to comment on how much of this story could be factually applied to the situation as we find it.

    In 2006 I invest in a resort marketed by Jester Property. They promise to build my villa and open the resort at Fukemoff Cove in 2009 so I can enjoy a healthy return on my investment. The terms of the contract allow Jester to use my money, which wouldn’t be held in escrow, to build other resorts. They have trouble with their builders and so things go a bit slower than hoped. I got a bit worried because it wasn’t easy to find out what was happening with my money as the developer didn’t file their accounts. Lots of other people were investing and some resorts were reported to be nearly sold out. Jester fell out with the next set of builders and I got concerned that they really weren’t in control of this project. I was relieved when they announced that a big multi-national Spanish hotel and travel agency was going to run the resort. Jester said that this company would really help maximise my return because of the global reach and the excellence of their operations. After a while though we didn’t hear any more about this company and I checked the Jester website and all references to them had been removed. The delays kept happening but eventually some of the resort was opened but the general manager said that it was losing lots of money every month so it had to be subsidised. That’s strange I thought because the bloke in charge of Jester had told the world a year before that the resort profits in twelve months would be enough to cover my repayments on my unit. This didn’t add up. Although the resort was partially open my unit wasn’t one of them and I was told I may have to wait for a later phase when an international airport was due to open. Jester then started building other hotels that hadn’t even been mentioned when I invested and the terms of my contract would allow them to use my money to do it. How much of my money was left by now. The second builders had been chucked off now and Jester said that they would finish building it themselves. Jester also bought some planes! Did they use my money to do that? I don’t know because the accounts were still not published. None of the other resorts were really started yet even though thousands of people had mortgaged their homes to buy into them.

    OK, so Jester is a fictional company. But would you invest in Jester if they were for real?

  95. 36

    @BB Just one question, did you pay for your property, all the stage payments, or just a deposit and were then paid the interest payments if you borrowed the deposit?

  96. 106

    Harlecon definitely isn’t the heart of this issue. The repeated attempts to drag the story back in that direction are cynical and laughable. The salient issues are palpable and all too present.

    There is no strange conspiracy here — and most people with half a brain will know that.

  97. 36

    OK this “half brain 36” here. O’Hallaran is being sued by Harlequin. Harlecon suddenly pops up giving lots of “inside” information which most is conjecture. Newman then proves to be the instigator of Harlecon, who happened to work for Harlequin accountants. Newman is then found to be a DIRECTOR of the same company as O’Halloran. If you cannot see the connection then I’m afraid I cannot help you.

  98. Anonymous

    So what?

  99. who cares

    But surely the bigger point is that if Harlequin had been delivering on their own promises according to their own timescales then there would have been nothing for Harlecon to expose.

    Nobody but the directors are responsible for the failure on all these fronts. Only the directors are responsible for filing accounts on time. It is ridiculous to blame the auditors for failing to file accounts for 7 years! If the auditors failed to hit the deadline on the first year the directors should have appointed new auditors. You wouldn’t wait for 7 years of missed deadlines to accrue and then say it was someone else’s fault.

    All the ills that beset these projects are always blamed on someone else. But this doesn’t get the directors off the hook (even if it were true) because their role is to effectively manage the complexity of a project. If every company they ever appoint fails to deliver you have to question what is the common factor here!

  100. 36

    And you cannot see anything remotely suspicious in the connection. Ah well.

  101. 36

    @Anonymous. And you cannot see anything remotely suspicious in the connection. Ah well.

  102. Anonymous

    For the reasons that Who Cares has stated I couldn’t give a toss about the connection. It seems like a desperate attempt to try and gain purchase out of nothing of any real importance at all. It’s pretty desperate.

  103. Anonymous

    Harlequin was screwed long before harlecon was launched. Agree, desperate efforts to blame someone else for the fraudulent operation of this self evident ponzi scheme.

  104. Anon - reasons unknown

    Ignoring the sideshow (O’Halloran, Newman and Drummond) which the pro-Harlequin brigade seem to be relying on to brush aside the news from the FSA and their operations to move in on IFAs and SIPP providers who have recommended UCIS (Harlequin in particular); the BBC Panorama documentary is scheduled to air in March.

    http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2239549/bbcs-panorama-to-probe-ucis-in-sipps

    Actually, this programme may well provide evidence to substantiate the Whistleblowers’ campaigns.

    March seems such a long way off, but I’m confident this will be well worth waiting for and that the BBC will be carrying out thorough DD.

  105. Anon - reasons unknown

    No further comment Hardlysuccess, Truthseeker, 36? Or are you just waiting until you view Panorama before commenting further? Probably not a bad idea.

  106. 36

    I would hardly call a multi £m lawsuit a sideshow. If the court case is still ongoing then I could well see the program being pulled as sub judicy.

  107. Anon - reasons unknown

    Yeah, yeah 36. Right you are. The FSA, BBC and IFA regulatory authorities clearly aren’t aware that the lawsuit you speak of is going to make everything OK for Harlequin, and make the investment stack up and lead to the enormous returns Harlequin speak of.

    I no longer believe (as I didn’t originally) that you are an investor. If you are, then you’re like a smoker dying of cancer whilst defending the tobacco industry. I just don’t think you’re that stupid; it doesn’t add up.

    If I am wrong, and you are an experienced investor, please do get in touch with BBC Panorama and present them with all the evidence you have that Paddy O’Halloran in cahoots with Jeremy Newman made up the Harlequin scam which lead to all this annoyance. Go on. They obviously haven’t realised.

  108. 241

    It is a sideshow. Noone in the CAribbean cares about PAddy and Newman (although many liked the Harlecon site…) It is a distraction from the hard facts. These have been presented many times on this site and others, and no Harlequin supporter has been able to, or even tried, to defend teh very obvious hard facts which point to what a total disaster Harlequin is. AT least if someone tried and made some sense, it would give them some credibility, but all Harlequin defenders, with the exception of 36, come accross as fanatics, illogical or I hate to say it, not very intelligent. 36 errs on the side of supporting Harlerquin, although I am not sure why as an investor you would. The evidence is right in front of you that they have failed massively in delivering and simply can never dig themselves out of where they are and never could, anr pobably never cared if they could. Newman and co make no difference to this – this was massively broken and an open scam to most from the start, but from 2009 it was really absurd that anyone would buy given their failings.

  109. Mark Amen

    Why dont we ask BFP to run a poll if we all knew then what we all know now would you invest in Harlequin?
    I think the lack of information from Harlequin is a worry dont you?
    When did the first confidentiality agreements start?
    They worry me in all my years and all my investments I have never come across one before, why do they want to gag people if they have any happy customers?

  110. Truthseeker

    Anon RU I hope you realise we do not all live here. Some of us have lives to take up our time away from this.

    Panorama will be interesting viewing if that is the case. If it is anything like Rip Off Britain which interviewed people who were not even investors and finished with the shocking revelation that the actual investor got his money back, it will be very interesting.

  111. What is this Panorama viewing comment all about? are they on the case?

  112. Eddie Lizzard2

    I believe the Panorama programme is airing in March 2013. Not sure of the actual date. Why don’t you contact them yourself?

  113. Mark Amen

    25th March

  114. 36

    @241, I err on the side of Harlequin as an investor, only because I am an investor who is trying to protect my investment. I am not blind to the comments on here, but my comments are purely based on fact, not hysterical conjecture. Posters continually refer back to the Harlecon site as being the “font of all knowledge” Some of the information may be true, but the fact that O’Halloran/Newman were/are in cahoots does in my mind discredit the basis of the information put in it. I guess the court case next week will will start to shine some light on it.

  115. New Stuff

    Can an IFA who has given advice through a limited company with virtually no capital simply hide behind that. If the company has no assets what’s the point of going after it?

    Or, if it can be shown that their due diligence was less than should be expected of a professional, could they be personally liable?

  116. Its the company that converted the pension in to a SIPP, they will be covered by insurance, they knew along it was going into a high risk product = bad advice.

  117. 39

    Personally liable, I believe — if regulated, obviously.

  118. New Stuff

    But if the IFA was unregulated and it didn’t involve a SIPP? The investment was done through equity release in a home. The IFA had his own limited company and it only has about £500 in the bank and no assets.

  119. 39

    To the best of my understanding, that would be quite a different issue; it would become a question of whether the selling was misleading, misrepresentative or even fraudulent. Recovering costs in this instance would be much more complicated — but in some respects, the consequences for the agent could be equally as grave (if any sort of criminality in any respect is proven). It would be case of doing forensic analysis on all relevant paperwork — even in respect of the equity release. There may be some further recourse through the sale of goods act (the fact that an individual enters the marketplace in an industry, means that it is obligant on them to perform the service to a certain standard, regardless of professional qualifications or otherwise) but I’m really not an expert so this is pure speculation.

    It would be my understanding too though, that a product like this should only be sold — by anyone — to high net worth or sophisticated investors (unless all risk factors were exhaustively — and provably so — explained).

  120. 39

    If nothing else, it does indicate that taking investment advice from anyone other than a fully qualified and registered individual is to be avoided at all costs.

  121. anonymous95

    i’m assuming the last comment was in jest as quite a lot of the agents selling this were in fact “regulated” mortgage advisers/financial advisers and ifa’s. whether they thought as this was an unregulated investment (via a SIPP) meant that they did not have to have a duty of care to carry out a full factfind on clients attitude to risk and indeed full and comprehensive due diligence is beyond me. but the FSA have made their thoughts on this matter quite clear.quite a lot of this “historic” info coming out at the moment was actually fully available as far back as 2008. any so called advisers could have checked the accounts, looked up whether planning had been granted, checked whether all the land was owned, referred the contract to a n independent solicitors for their view …….. asked for details on costs to build/cash flow projections. i could go on and on but i wont..

  122. 241

    You could go on and on, and you are right anon at 10.45. Any advisor worth their salt would have known by 2008 that this investment was always a disaster waiting to happen. I am afraid to say to the previous poster that a sophisticated investor of high net worth would have left this well alone as it never stacked up and basic DD would have sent them running for the hills from this, hence Ames deliberately targeted the less experienced investor who beleved in the too good to be true promises, via their pensions and the virtue of the fact that it was a very cheap way to get into a region that historically is expensive to buy in. It is for these reasons that Ames should be fully held to account for his actions as he has preyed on the more vulnerable investor.

  123. 39

    I quite agree. My point re regulated advisers is that at least in that case you have direct recourse — and regulatory bodies that you can turn to. I would agree completely that no credible adviser should have sold this product at any stage. Apologies for not making that clear. Of course the recent changes in the system here now would make it even more difficult for a regulated adviser to have anything to do with this sort of product.

  124. 39

    My point re high net worth/sophisticated investors was to do with the issues of punting this sort of thing on the open market — which is a pretty contentious issue (to avoid the sort of thing that has unfolded here).

  125. Faceless

    The frantic smear campaign is not going to stop Harlequin building,nor is your attempt to discredit Dave Ames.Much of what you say cannot be substantiated.It is based on assumptions,misrepresentation,guesswork and down right lies.You use the terms”I believe”,”someone told me”,”I heard” etc.etc.You are like a bunch of old washerwomen engaged in malicious gossip.You are engaged in one big conspiracy on the BFP website.A vindictive conspiracy that has been long-running,inept,pontless and going nowhere fast.You troublemakers are all hiding behind faceless identities,contradicting each other and even arguing amongst yourselves.What a complete wast of everyone’s time.
    Harlequin will be in business for many,many years to come.

  126. It really is game over

    Harlequin will be in business for many,many years to come…hmm would this be classed as insider dealing, as DA will be in prison soon

    Harlequin will be in business for many,many years to come…hilarious I dont think so

  127. Karma is coming after you

    boring trolls, soon to be on the dole

  128. Karma is coming after you

    What goes around come around, what sad little people you are, its all going to end with people losing lots of money. Maybe if someone kills themselves you will be happy you contributed to that?

  129. grqezedvq@gmail.com

    I think it is a landmark event..

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  131. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for
    him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
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  132. Why is crozier.........

    Odd, don’t you think why crozier never qualified to be a proper solicitor?…… Just saying😉

  133. Well done for reporting this panzi scheme

    Well done Mr Newman

  134. Anonymous

    Is this something to do German tanks?

  135. Wot ATE

    Now very good at WW2 history are you? Now back to the ATE insurance that’s won’t be amended – Whay hey Ames never told you?