Tag Archives: Harlequin Bankruptcy

Harlequin selling Headquarters building for £525,000 – Where is the £400million taken from investors?

harlequin headquarters fraud

We’d say it was like selling off the family silverware, except there is no silverware left. Probably never was any.

After slickly removing £400 million from little old ladies and transit pensioners, David Ames and his gang are selling off their headquarters to pay the bills.

The Serious Fraud Office and the Essex Police have had an open file on the bunch since early 2013, but after two years Ames is still walking around with the rotting financial corpses of thousands of victims in his wake.

Two years should be long enough for the police and the SFO to do the job. What’s the delay?

From the Professional Adviser…

Troubled Harlequin puts HQ up for sale

Troubled overseas property investment scheme Harlequin has put its headquarters up for sale.

The warehouse and offices in the Honywood Business Park in Basildon have been listed for sale on property website Rightmove for £525,000. Harlequin owner David Ames would also consider leasing back the first floor offices at a rent of £25,000 per year, according to the advert.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Harlequin owns its Basildon offices and occupies the first floor of Unit 11, with all other space let to third parties.

“Harlequin is attempting to sell in order to discharge its liability and remove its responsibilities as a lessor.”

The move raises further questions over the financial situation of the company, which has received £400m from investors that they are currently unable to access.

Unregulated investment scheme Harlequin worked by taking deposits from mainly UK pension investors to build off-plan properties in the Caribbean, which could then be sold at a profit on completion or used to generate a rental income from holidaymakers. But out of a scheduled 6,000 properties, about 300 have been built.

… read the rest at the Professional Adviser

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal offers some advice to Harlequin victims

Harlequin Investor Update March 2015 from Regulatory Legal News on Vimeo.

Meanwhile at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme…

Financial advisers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of pounds after the latest twist in the Harlequin saga in which the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has written down the value of the investment to nil.

In a document from the FSCS seen by Professional Adviser, dated 12 February and marked ‘compensation calculation’, the body lists the value of a Harlequin Property investment as £0.00.

A FSCS spokesperson confirmed the decision.

“Where applicable we will disregard the residual value in respect of Harlequin investments,” they said.

The move opens the floodgates for the FSCS to pay the thousands of Harlequin investors compensation on the full amount they put into the unregulated scheme, up to a £50,000 limit.

With around £400m originally invested in Harlequin, the compensation bill is set to run into hundreds of millions of pounds, putting it on a par with other investment disasters like Keydata and Arch cru.

As in those cases, the bulk of the cost of the compensation is likely to be borne by investment advisers.

Read the entire article: Spectre of £400m compensation bill looms as FSCS values Harlequin at nil

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

Last Harlequin update by Serious Fraud Office was July 2014

Harlequin Fraud Office

Harlequin Property
25 July 2014

The SFO investigation into The Harlequin Group continues. We have had several reports from worried investors who have recently received information from other sources to suggest that our investigation is now closed. This is not the case.  Due to the complex nature of our investigations and the fact that several overseas jurisdictions are included within the scope of those investigations, it is inevitable that delays in the process of gathering information and evidence will be and have been encountered. It is not possible to issue any more detailed information at this time. Once we are able to issue a further update we will do so.

Many thanks to those who have been in touch to register their details with us at confidential@sfo.gsi.gov.uk

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

How many Harlequin companies did Dave Ames register in Barbados?

Harlequin Resort

Why so many Harlequin companies?

It happened like this… we were sitting around last Friday discussing how David Ames and his Ponzi partners have more companies than anybody knows about. Marketing done by this company, land held by that company, building done by another company supplied by another company delivering materials.

It all collapsed and left eyesores and abandoned building sites that are a blight upon Barbados and other nations.

And then somebody asked if anyone had run the word “Harlequin” at the Barbados Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office.

Everybody looked at each other with that “aren’t we a bunch of idiots?” look. Nope, nobody had done it.

So we fired up the computer, logged into Anonymouse.org to cover our asses, and did the deed.

Here they are, folks… All the Barbados-registered companies with the word “Harlequin” in their name…

HARLEQUINS
POLLY HARLEQUIN PRODUCTIONS
HARLEQUIN DEVELOPMENTS
HARLEQUIN (BARBADOS) PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL LIMITED
HARLEQUIN (BARBADOS) PROPERTY LIMITED
HARLEQUIN LUXURY HOTEL LIMITED
HARLEQUIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN LUXURY HOTEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN PROPERTY (SVG) LIMITED

Truly, the government looked the other way on all of this. How many of these companies filed proper reports? You know how it is here on this rock… a political donation takes care of having to worry about filing the paperwork for companies. No worries about annual reports if you make a big donation to the ruling party.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Economy, 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   
Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Harlequin victim thanks BFP – “My prayers are with you…”

Charles Ponzi never worked for Harlequin... but he could have!

Charles Ponzi never worked for Harlequin… but he could have!

Dear BFP

My anonymous ID is one of those referred to in the Harlequin subpoena, but I always used an anonymous proxy.

Nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t fighting off an overwhelming fear of the consequences of them discovering my identity. Not because of the defamation threat; I see no issues with me proving what I said was true. I just could not stand by and watch the shameful lies, deception, bullying and propaganda being spouted from Ames and his conspirators. They misuse the courts to shut down any public criticism because they cannot continue to defraud people when information is flowing freely.

Too many peoples’ lives have been damaged in the Caribbean and UK. Many lives have been irreconcilably ruined. And the UK authorities just stand by, knowing what is happening, and let it continue to happen.

Barbados Free Press on WordPress has been the only major website which has continuously stood up to threat of litigation and enabled the reporting of the true Harlequin story to appear on internet search results despite Harlequin’s scatter gun litigation attack on the rest of the internet.

BFP and WordPress must have saved hundreds and maybe thousands of people from being ripped off and has given those who want to keep the real facts out there and alive a mainstream social media channel to communicate through.

Many thanks; my prayers are with you, me, and all the other contributors who had good reason to comment anonymously under the fear and threat created by Harlequin.

signed, A Harlequin victim and grateful BFP reader!

BFP Editor Robert replies…

Thanks for your prayers, friend.

And thanks to Matt Mullenweg and the WordPress gang for defending freedom of the press, freedom of speech and giving freedom a home.

Robert

490 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, Offshore Investments

Scuba diving accident at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay: Friends question emergency care, lack of insurance

diver-flag

“The shocker is that the injured diver was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning – after additional serious damage happened overnight.”

“Harlequin has offered no support to injured dive instructor Michael Richards…”

Harlequin and St. Vincent news media say not a word about this story…

An experienced diving instructor at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay was evacuated to Barbados for critical care after he was seriously injured on the weekend of November 16, 17, 2013.

From what we’ve been able to gather, Bajan Michael “Richie” Richards fell unconscious after a dive and was taken to Milton Cato Hospital: but the shocker is that he was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning after additional serious damage happened overnight.

Diving friends and co-workers are incensed and say that Richie should have been evacuated on an emergency basis right away because St. Vincent does not have a re-compression chamber, so by the time any further symptoms became apparent it would be too late.  Any diver knows that unconsciousness within a few hours of a dive is a critical indicator of decompression sickness and serious injuries possibly already done. A gas embolism (“air bubble”) in the brain or heart can kill or maim for life, and if a diver falls unconscious within a few hours of a dive, it is immediately a critical situation even if the victim regains consciousness and appears to have no other symptoms such as joint pain. Dive physicians worldwide agree on one thing: any sign of gas embolism and the diver should get moving towards a hyperbaric chamber immediately by the safest possible means.

Some of Richie’s friends and divers in general are pointing to a statement on Barbados Free Press by Kay Wilson, the owner of Indigo Watersports Ltd., as proof that Richie’s condition was not taken seriously at the time.

Ritchie’s employer Kay Wilson said…

“The following morning it became apparent that his injuries were more severe than anyone could have expected and he was transported with hours to Barbados for treatment.”

One diving colleague told Barbados Free Press “The wrong decisions were made at each step until it was too late. Richie is facing months of treatment and may not fully recover. Immediate evacuation and treatment could have made the difference and probably would have made a big difference in the seriousness of his injuries.”

Richie’s friends are also concerned that he has no insurance and that Wilson stated his dive was “after work”. Divers quite correctly point out that diving illnesses and injuries are often cumulative from multiple dives, and that the earlier work dives that very day were certainly part of the problem. They see Wilson’s statement as a poor attempt to shift liability away from Richie’s employer. They also question why a diving company would not have proper insurance for their diving instructors and students to get them quickly to a chamber the moment a problem happens.

Did Richie have a working dive computer? Was it supplied by the employer? What standards does his employer insist on? Are those standards really enforced or does the work schedule override safety? Does the employer monitor dive logs against work schedules and classes? What was his schedule for the past three months? As a working diver, did the employer arrange medical supervision and regular checkups?

No Ms. Wilson: this is not as simple as “Ritchie was diving after work”.

Barbados Free Press hopes that Richie recovers quickly. As usual, should Kay Wilson or anyone wish to say anything to our readers we would be happy to feature their comments in an article and give it the same prominence.

Further information about hyperbaric chambers and treatment in Barbados and St. Lucia:

BADASS – Barbados Divers Association

Iyanola Dive Ventures – St. Lucia Hyperbaric Center

Here are some of the exchanges about Michael ‘Richie’ Richards that happened at Barbados Free Press:  Continue reading

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Filed under Health, Sports

Questions about former Harlequin associate David Campion

Editor’s note: With the collapse of so many large scale, foreign-owned projects in Barbados in the last few years, Bajans are understandably cynical about any new projects. And when a former Harlequin employee sets up shop, some folks naturally want to ask how much they knew about Harlequin and when they knew it.

This article by BFP reader Due Diligence is tough on David Campion and Argo Development Studio. If Mr. Campion desires to comment or reply, we will print his unedited response right here and give him full coverage. Could Mr. Campion himself be more of a victim of Dave Ames than a participant? We’d like to hear his side of the story.

Take it away, Due Diligence…

Harlequin’s collapse produces growth industry of ex-employees setting up for themselves

How much did David Campion know, and when did he know it?

by Due Diligence

I read the article “Move to revive construction” in the June 21 edition of the Nation

A LOCAL DEVELOPER has invested just over $60 000 with the aim of helping to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry.

David Campion, managing director of Argo Development Studio, told a group of engineers, architects, interior designers and other industry players that the time was “perfect” for his new design and development management company. He said that it was poised to provide “world-class” service while offering opportunities for those in the industry to operate.

Being curious as to how David Campion, MD of Argo Development Studio will help to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry, Due Diligence decided to visit ADS website at http://argo-ds.com/#

The website is very slick and glossy – worthy of Harlequin. If you close your eyes while playing the videos in the Film tab you can imagine the speaker to be Dave Ames, who may have written the script.

This is from the Home Page…

corporate + social responsibility

Our teams work with local industry, creating a strong bond between our projects and community. We work closely with Governments to ensure we preserve the natural beauty of the environments we develop in. We engage with the community through outreach programs and sponsorship to charities, schools and sports clubs.

We connect our organization to the wider industry worldwide through building strong connections both inside and outside the organization.

WOW – working with Governments, community outreach, sponsoring charities, worldwide reach.

In the Projects tab is a list of projects for which MD Campion claims to have been involved are five public sector projects in Ireland. Of more interest is the three private sector projects the MD of Argo Development Studio claims to have worked while working with hdstudio (Harlequin).

Buccament Bay Resort – Contract Value (Phase 1) US$120 million
H Barbados – Contract Value US$28 million
Marquis Estates – Budget US$250 million

Strangely, no claim to have worked on that highly successful project The Merricks.

In Greek mythology the ARGO was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Having worked for Dave Ames at hdstudio, Dave Campion will be totally familiar with the concept of seeing Ames fleecing people of their money (even if he was not involved in the sales end himself.)

Help to revive the island’s anaemic construction industry? This whole thing screams of SCAM.

It is time for Immigration to rescind Campion’s work permit, if he has one, before he does serious damage to the island’s anaemic construction industry.

Due Diligence

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

What is happening with Harlequin – Dave Ames? Class… discuss!

Harlequin Resort

“We are urging every investor to register in the HMSSE administration.”

Gareth Fatchett, Regulatory Legal Solicitors (Forms attached at bottom)

With over 10,000 discussion comments on Barbados Free Press, Harlequin “investors” (and we use the word somewhat tongue-in-cheek) have lots to say and discuss.

Here’s the latest we have from Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors – a memo sent out on May 17, 2013.

Perhaps our readers can add what’s happened since…

From: Regulatory Legal Solicitors [mailto:mail@harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk]
Sent: 17 May 2013 17:09
To: Gareth Fatchett
Subject: 17th May 2013 – HIG UPDATE

At outset, HIG are more than prepared to continue to engage with Harlequin and will seek to understand and support a rescue plan where this is feasible notwithstanding the protective steps we are suggesting below. ie. our objective is to pursue different strategies which aim to achieve the best outcome for investors regardless of the course adopted. Simply sitting back while matters worsen is not a strategy HIG are prepared to adopt.

HIG members are all investors in Harlequin and would like nothing more than it to work. However, we have to be realistic. It is not going to work in the current format. It needs a major overhaul to give us any chance of surviving. Currently, the whole process is dictated by a handful of people at the Harlequin core. Frankly, that does not work for investors who need to understand the actual position.

The seriousness of the situation has increased with a High Court Judge making an order against Mr & Mrs Ames personally. Of course, Mr & Mrs Ames are able to challenge the order and seek to have it revoked. What is concerning for HIG is that the order was granted in the first place.

We are trying to keep an open mind, but the slippage of timetables, non payment of creditors and the issuing and granting of the injunction does little to reassure us. Continue reading

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Harlequin Investor Group Update

Harlequin Resort

Harlequin Update – 25th April 2013

The Harlequin Investor Group (HIG) have met following the Harlequin presentations over the last few days.

The presentations brought forward two key issues.

1.      The re-financing of the Harlequin companies and the “Rescue Plan” and ;

2.      The quality of the initial advice surrounding the investments in Harlequin.

Re-Financing

The key to any financing is that those providing the monies are confident in both the company and the investors. We have little evidence as to the progress being made with regard to the finance.  Continue reading

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Does Harlequin’s The Merricks have “full planning permission” or not? We have some doubts…

Merricks-Barbados-Bankrupt

Dave Ames says Merricks has “full planning permission” …

“Last month, Harlequin’s The Merricks Resort project in Barbados was finally granted full planning permission after years of protracted studies and work. It was initially anticipated that this process would be much quicker, but Harlequin has always kept purchasers updated with progress.”

Financial Times Adviser, Beleaguered Harlequin owed £30m by property buyers April 24, 2013

“Harlequin is delighted to announce that last week it received full planning permission for The Merricks Resort project in Barbados. There are normal conditions attached to the permission and our team is now working to ensure we have full compliance to allow us to commence works.”

Financial Times Adviser, Harlequin halts construction amid £9m legal battle April 9, 2013

BFP’s old friend St. George’s Dragon checked personally at the Planning Office and is not so sure…

Mr Ames announced at the investor meetings that Harlequin had received full planning for Merricks. I admit that I was skeptical about this so I thought I would drop into the Barbados Town & Country Planning Office this afternoon to check. It is possible for members of the public to check applications. The information you can see is limited, though. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Real Estate

BREAKING: Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

 “The company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts.”

Director Carol Ames of Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited, Basildon at High Court, London on Monday April 22, 2013

URGENT BREAKING: David Ames said nothing during investor meeting although he knew!

“The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames yesterday afternoon. It is very disappointing that nothing was mentioned to the investor representatives.  The Harlequin Investor Group will now move to issue guidance to investors on how best to secure their investments in the Caribbean. “

Gareth Fatchett, Director – Solicitor & Notary Public – Regulatory Legal Solicitors special to Barbados Free Press

Notice of Appointment of Administrators   (PDF of Harlequin’s court papers)

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

House of Cards about to go?

Yesterday David Ames met with some investors and their lawyers from Regulatory Legal.

Did Ames inform the group that he had already moved to have his sales company apply for administration? NO he did not!

What does this do to ongoing negotiations with various shareholder groups?

What does this mean for those who have not filed complaints that invoke insurance coverage?

So many questions, but if you listen carefully you might hear the answer as the cards on the bottom start to bend and slide…

Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

(Echo-News.co.uk)

SOUTH Essex multi-million pound Caribbean investment firm Harlequin Property has applied for its sales arm to go into administration.

The business run by the Ames family from Wickford which is promoted by big name sports celebrities lodged an intention to appoint administrators for Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited, of Honywood Road, Basildon, at the High Court in London yesterday.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

Harlequin Investors must not walk away with a false sense of security

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Risk Warning, a voice for distressed investors in the UK, cautiously welcomes Harlequin Property’s meetings with investors and IFAs, scheduled for next week in both Manchester and Basildon. It hopes that investors who have, thus far, met with stony silence from Harlequin will get the answers they have been seeking at these meetings.

Set up by Regulatory Legal Solicitors, Risk Warning recently met with investors throughout the country to help them advance their case with Harlequin.  The response at these meetings was overwhelmingly in favour of opening up a constructive dialogue with Harlequin. Gareth Fatchett from Risk Warning says, “The lack of information from Harlequin has been disconcerting for many of the investors we have been speaking to this month. It is important that Harlequin engages with its investors, many of whom are very concerned about the safety of their property investments in the Caribbean.”

While acknowledging that Harlequin’s efforts to have a dialogue with its investors signals a necessary step in the right direction, Risk Warning urges that investors must arm themselves with the right questions to ensure that they get a full picture of the current status. Mr Fatchett continues, “Given the amount of money invested and the state of uncertainty over a long period of time coupled with some of the recent news coverage on Harlequin, there are many detailed questions to which investors should be demanding answers. It is important that investors do not leave these meetings with a false sense of security.”

Risk Warning, which is acting for a number of Harlequin investors, has compiled a comprehensive list of over 30 questions for Harlequin, which it is seeking to raise with Harlequin next week. These questions demand answers on a number of critical issues such as:

  • how much of investors’ money has been spent on Caribbean resorts being developed by Harlequin
  • what has actually been built but is not yet completed
  • what the cost to finish each development will be
  • what the value of finance payments in arrears is
  • when the Caribbean accounts will be brought up to date

“Hundreds of investors believed in Harlequin’s marketing and invested millions of pounds in Harlequin properties but now find themselves in the calamitous position of not knowing the outcome of their investments.

We call on Harlequin to listen to its investors carefully and to tell them the plain truth about where they stand regarding the current status of their investments and, equally importantly, what the future holds. Anything short of a honest discussion will be unacceptable. We sincerely hope that investors will have productive discussions with Harlequin.”

Gareth Fatchett, Risk Warning

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Harlequin: The promises and the reality

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

The promises!

David Ames pumped a computer generated paradise and a Ponzi pyramid scheme that required ever more ‘investors’ to keep it going.

Merricks-Barbados-Bankrupt

The Reality!   (click on photo for large size)

The Merricks, Barbados

Abandoned a few weeks ago. Now a visual blight on the coast because our Barbados politicians let it happen for a few dollars and a glass of champagne or two.

(Big shout out to a loyal BFP reader who took the photo. See you at Marcia’s Place, Oistins on Friday night!)

Lawfirms inundated with victims

“Law firms Kobalt Law, Carter Lemon Camerons and Regulatory Legal have been inundated with calls from investors for advice over their Harlequin holdings.

Nicolette-Elizabeth Crozier, spokesman for CLC, said a series of meetings has been set up in its London offices throughout April for those parties who have been affected or concerned.

She said: “Clients will be attended by one of the senior lawyers who specialise in civil fraud claims.”

Investors attending the free initial meeting are required to bring copy documentation prior to attending to enable CLC to provide case-specific advice.”

… Complete Financial Times article: Law firms inundated with Harlequin Property calls

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Lawyer’s urgent advice to Harlequin investors: “Fast deteriorating situation… No time to lose… safeguard your money” before professional indemnity insurance coverage stops!

“There is no time to lose particularly if you are an investor in Harlequin Property SVG Ltd, Buccament Bay Resort or other Harlequin resort development companies. We strongly recommend that you review your legal position now so that claims can be set in motion to safeguard your money.”

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors / Risk Warning / Harlequin Investor Group

“Once Harlequin fails, new claims against your financial adviser’s professional indemnity insurance coverage stop. Better file a claim now!”

Marcus Davidoff of Barbados Free Press

Harlequin Resort

Investors who put their faith in Harlequin are still left in a vacuum

Investors clamouring for answers from Harlequin, the beleaguered Essex-based overseas property company, say the silence from the company is conspicuous. This was the overwhelming response to a survey of over 150 investors conducted by Risk Warning, the law firm specialising in class actions on behalf of distressed investors. (Risk Warning was formerly Regulatory Legal)

The key findings of the survey (attached) reveal that –

  • Contractual completion dates for properties they purchased through the Harlequin Property Scheme between 2008-10 were not met by two thirds of those surveyed
  • In cases where mortgages were taken out by investors and Harlequin promised to support the mortgage interest payments, 50% said they were not up to date
  • 40% of investors asked for their money back from Harlequin but only two have had the money returned
  • 45% of investors were told the Harlequin investments were low risk and a further 40% did not receive a description of the investment risk

Since 2006 all the investors surveyed have been paying into the Harlequin scheme by cash, through their pension scheme, or by remortgaging their existing properties. In a fast deteriorating situation surrounding Harlequin, which was to have been the subject of a cancelled BBC Panorama programme on 25th March, developments include –

  • Severe problems with interest payments on borrowings due under the terms of Harlequin’s agreement with investors
  • An FSA alert questioning the suitability of advice given by advisers who recommended Harlequin as an appropriate pension-based investment
  • An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and Essex Police who are seeking information from investors in Harlequin schemes in the Caribbean and elsewhere
  • The decision by TailorMade Independent (TMI), a leading IFA and Harlequin distributor to stop taking SIPP investments in Harlequin
  • The resignation of Harlequin’s recently appointed accountant, BDO Stoy Hayward

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Risk Warning’s Gareth Fatchett says: ‘What is clear to us is that investors are unnerved by the lack of information from Harlequin, causing fear, doubt and uncertainty about the safety of their investments. We believe that the responses we have had to our survey are indicative for thousands of Harlequin investors up and down the country. We are now pressing ahead with claims on behalf of an additional 20 Harlequin investors seeking refunds due to missed completion dates. We have also set up meetings in Manchester , Birmingham and London this week for investors who are seeking answers to delays with Harlequin projects.’

Mr Fatchett continues: ‘Amongst a whole range of accounting and governance issues, questions we are asking include – Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments