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

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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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