Tag Archives: Harlequin Lawsuit

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

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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

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

Dave Ames and Harlequin Property file legal papers against Barbados Free Press readers

matt-mullenweg-wordpressed

Hi folks,

A few weeks ago we informed our readers that Harlequin had served our webhost WordPress – Automattic Inc with a court subpoena concerning reader comments on Barbados Free Press. Ames and Harlequin want to discover the identities of BFP readers who left anonymous comments on stories about them.

This will be difficult even if WordPress turns over the ip numbers to Harlequin because further steps are required with internet suppliers in other countries. Lots of folks use proxies and protection like ‘Anonymouse.org‘ for surfing too. Nope, we’re not worried at all and we run this here little blog. Have for nine years and the DLP and BLP haven’t found us yet!

WordPress didn’t send copies of the legal papers to us, so we presume they are fighting it out in court with Harlequin and David Ames. WordPress inventor Matt Mullenweg has a reputation as a hell of a scrapper when it comes to defending free speech and he’ll spend millions rather than give into extortion. (Matt is the handsome young chap above, just turned 30. And ladies, not only is he single – his business costs about $400,000 a month to run, but takes in gross revenues of $45 million a year. You do the math. The latest Business Insider issue says Matt is probably worth a billion yankee dollars and he has homes in New York, California and Texas. He was in Barbados a few months ago – I’ll try and find the photos I saw on the web.) 

Today we received more legal papers – unofficially and anonymously – from someone. This batch lists exactly what comments and BFP readers that Ames and Harlequin is after.

We’re not worried because we know that the WordPress business model would collapse overnight if Matt and the boys didn’t defend free speech.

Besides – we believe in Matt and WP crew. They will fight this attack all the way on a purely ideological basis – nevermind anything else.

Meanwhile here are the two batches of documents so far…

Latest – 04447212-Page0-41(1)

Previous – 2014_04_21_19_26_39

109 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

Harlequin – Dave Ames serves WordPress with court subpoena about Barbados Free Press

UPDATED April 30, 2014: PDF of Court Document Posted Below

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

Harlequin / Ames alleges defamation by commenters?

Dear Barbados Free Press readers,

Here is what we know so far…

Today some anonymous person posted the following as a comment on Barbados Free Press.

IF the posting is for true, then Harlequin, David Ames and Carol Ames served some court papers on Automattic Inc. (otherwise known as WordPress) in San Francisco USA, demanding that WordPress produce the IP numbers and email addresses for persons who posted some comments about Harlequin on Barbados Free Press. According to the court papers, it is not BFP who is being served or sued, but our internet host WordPress.com.

We at BFP have not looked at the comments, but they are listed in the court papers printed below. It looks to us like what was posted as a comment contains errors of the type that come when a paper page is scanned and converted to a Word file.

We expect that WordPress will vigorously defend free speech – because, aside from free speech and human rights, if they don’t defend free speech, their business model collapses.

PDF of Court Document: Harlequin Court Document 2014_04_21

Here is what was originally posted as a comment on BFP…

The following is the Ames application for the IP addresses of those posters Ames feels may have defamed him,

SUBP-002
ATTORNEY OR PARTY WITHOUT ATTORNEY (Name, State Bar number, and address):
Timothy B. Broderick (97082), Katrina M. Saleen (253706)
Broderick Saleen, 2600 El Camino Real, Ste. 506, Palo Alto, CA 94306
TELEPHONE NO.: (650) 857 9000 FAX NO.: (650) 857 1100
E-MAIL ADDRESS:
ATTORNEY FOR (Name): Dave Ames: Carol Ames• Harlequin FOR COURT USE ONLY  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Human Rights

Regulatory Legal met with David Ames & Harlequin – What now?

Harlequin Resort

“The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.

Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2013 22:06:21 +0000
From: mail@harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk
Subject: Harlequin Investor Group – Meeting with David Ames – 22nd April 2013

Network Email

All,

The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.

•3 investors and 2 Directors from Regulatory Legal met with David Ames.

The meeting was conducted cordially and respectfully as building a rapport in these difficult times is clearly key.

1.There is no doubt in the minds of those attending on behalf of investors that Harlequin is cash starved and requires new investment.
2.The lack of cash in the business is a key issue as without liquidity the business will continue to struggle.
3.The business has a significant number of non-completed contracts, many of which have completion dates which are overdue. In simple terms, the various companies are obligated to repay investors their money back plus 10%. The “repayment overhang”.
4.The business needs to source new monies. This is going to come from either

(a) Investment into the equity of the business

(b) Completions on properties (eg the balancing 70%)

(c) New investor monies

We feel (a) & (b) are the best way forward. The HIG see (c) as unlikely in the present situation. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Harlequin Legal Survey – Results to be published here

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Lawyer Gareth Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors are conducting a survey of Harlequin ‘investors’. The results will be published here at Barbados Free Press, and we understand that Mr. Fatchett will be making additional recommendations based on the results.

We encourage readers to head on over and take a look, and then make your own decisions.

After all, we at BFP didn’t invest in Harlequin and I can’t say we know of any Bajans who did. That might have been a flag for foreign investors or a question they might have asked. Too late now to ask “Have any locals invested?”, but next time maybe!

Harlequin Investor Survey

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Filed under Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Barbados solution to 20-year court backlog: throw it all out, nevermind justice and the victims

How long would any Harlequin Resorts court cases take to reach trial?

by Nevermind Kurt

by Nevermind Kurt

Sophisticated business and financial industry investors have long had the word: civil cases in Barbados take at least 10 years and often up to 20 years to make their way through the courts. Many court cases never finish because witnesses, victims, plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers and judges move away or die.

When cases take 15 or 20 years to get to trial, people often die or go broke – or both. After 15 or 20 years plaintiffs can no longer afford their lawyers. Defendants go bankrupt (sometimes planned) – leaving victims no real prospect of recovering anything.

“New business investors in Barbados now make their decisions accordingly in the knowledge that if things go wrong there will probably be no real recourse through a lawsuit.”

But consider what this means for existing investors and business people who didn’t know about the state of our courts when they made their original decisions about doing business or entering into legal contracts in Barbados. Consider what this means now for all those potential Harlequin victims. If they want justice in Barbados, they have two choices: be prepared to spend the next decade or two and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in pursuit of justice, or walk away.

“Chief Justice Marston Gibson: Court chaos threatens Barbados international business sector

Marston Gibson describes massive backlog, missing case files, deliberate delaying tactics by unscrupulous profiteering lawyers”

from BFP’s March 12, 2012 article: Shocking mathematics of the Barbados Court system: Thousands of cases will never reach conclusion

The reality of the court system in Barbados

Faced with an unbelievable backlog approaching 3000 cases, Chief Justice SIR Marston Gibson has decided to give thousands of folks a shove to abandon all hope for justice through the courts of Barbados. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law