Tag Archives: Harlequin Hotels and Resorts

Harlequin’s David Ames disobeys court order, fails to give evidence in court. What now for investors?

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

TLW Solicitors are here to help on a no-win no-fee basis

contributed by TLW Solicitors

Following recent reports of the Harlequin Properties’ headquarters going up for sale and the company’s chairman David Ames failing to give evidence in court, those who have lost out financially through the scheme are assured that they may still be entitled to compensation.

The Harlequin Property company was set to build 6000 luxury properties in the Caribbean, financed by deposits from UK investors. With only 300 of the properties actually built and the Harlequin Group having gone into liquidation, thousands of investors have been left in debt.

Rip Off Britain

The BBC’s consumer affairs programme Rip Off Britain investigated Harlequin Property for a second time earlier this year, after an initial broadcast in 2010. Although some early investors had been able to claim back their money, the returning of more recent deposits has been ruled out by the company since it entered liquidation.

Around 3000 UK investors are thought to have been involved in the Harlequin investments scheme. Chairman David Ames blamed the problems on the 2008 global recession and claims to have been let down by developers.

Recent evidence suggests the Harlequin case has been flawed from the start, with suggestions that it never owned much of the land it intended to build properties on, and a business model that relied wholly on continued foreign investment. (BFP Editor’s note: It’s called a ‘Ponzi Scheme’. We’ll say it, even if TLW Solicitors won’t.)

Investigations into Harlequin hotels & resorts

Harlequin Property has been subject to an ongoing investigation by the SFO (Serious Fraud Office) since 2013 and two warnings by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business, 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


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

Sales persons are liable for Harlequin pension losses!

Harlequin Resort

Oh boy!

“Financial advisers who recommended clients switch their pensions into self-invested schemes heavily exposed to investments being marketed by embattled overseas property group Harlequin are legally liable for losses, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme confirmed…”

… from the Financial Times article Advisers are liable for Harlequin pension transfer losses


Do them. Do them all. Lead them away in handcuffs and beat them on the way to jail.

Lives ruined. Pensions devoured.

Barbados politicians played a pivotal role as enablers for David Ames and his gang. Do them all.


Filed under Barbados, 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…


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.


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

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

“That’s quite a team!

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

The Ames Gang rides again…

These guys just won’t quit.

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

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

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

Three of Kevin Neil's CleanTech victims

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

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


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

Harlequin fraudster: Matthew Ames jailed 40 months in fake carbon credits scam

“Ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.

That is the legacy of Harlequin’s Matthew Ames, who was just convicted of fraud for running a ponzi scheme. Ames took £1.2million from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters. He was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well, talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him.”

… from BFP’s February 13, 2014 article Harlequin’s Matthew Ames guilty of ponzi scheme fraud.

Will father David Ames follow son to jail?

Matthew Ames

Matthew Ames

We were a little low in our previous estimates as it turns out that Matthew Ames defrauded investors of £1.6 million, some £400,000 more than thought – but hey, what’s a few pennies between friends?

The son of Harlequin’s Dave Ames was sentenced to 40 months in jail, which seems a short sentence considering that many of his victims are sentenced to life in poverty and despair.

It took about 3 years to bring Matthew Ames to justice, but that is quick considering the ongoing disaster of Harlequin Resorts created by Dave Ames and other ne’rdowells.

Further enjoyment:

Conman who used James Middleton to promote his bogus rainforest protection scheme is jailed


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

More Questions for former Harlequin associate David Campion

David Campion Harlequin Barbados 2

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.

Back on June 22, 2013 BFP published an article that asked tough questions of David Campion and his Argo Development Studio. We received no word from Mr. Campion then or since.

Now another reader asks more questions that seem most reasonable to us and are what ordinary Bajans want to know about Mr. Campion and all developers – especially from over and away.

If Mr. Campion desires to comment or reply, we will print his unedited response right here and give him full coverage. We and all Barbadians would like to hear his side of the story.

Regarding David Campion, some questions …

by BFP reader Just give me a straight answer

After the Harlequin fiasco:

  • Is David Campion living and working in Barbados based on documentation as an ongoing employee of the non-operating Harlequin (of Merricks) fame?
  • If not, has he legal status in Barbados?
  • Has he applied for or is he in possession of a work permit?
  • Is Argo (his “company”) actually registered as a company?
  • Is Argo VAT registered?
  • What are his professional qualifications?
  • Regarding the claims of Argo’s expertise made on the Argo website, does he have a core building industry professional qualification? such as Surveyor or Engineer?
  • Is there any other person here working for him (the site claims 4 directly employed persons) who is professionally qualified and is registered and have they paid their yearly fees?
  • If Mr. Campion is properly qualified, is he a member of one of the professional organisations here in Barbados?
  • If he has a professional qualification, is he on the governments register of qualified professional persons …and has he paid the statutory fee for 2013/2014?
  • Has Argo direct or indirect ownership in “Tourism Consultants International”, who with Argo have recently been appointed by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry – BCCI – to carry out surveys of Bridgetown businesses as part of their “Revitalization of Bridgetown Initiative”?
  • If he is in the process of submitting Town and Country Planning applications to the Town Planning Department, and is he aware that certain qualifications have to be proven (for submitting proposals of more than domestic or residential size) before the Town Planning Department will accept the application?

BFP thanks The Nation for the source photo. Used with permission!


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Economy