Tag Archives: Harlequin Properties

Should financial advisors be penalized for recommending the disastrous Harlequin ‘investments’?

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

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

TailorMade Independent under the microscope…

“In total around 7,000 investors put £300 million into Harlequin, half of this, £150 million was invested on an advised basis.”

Gareth Fatchett, solicitor at Regulatory Legal, who is representing a number of Harlequin investors, said most of the advice he had reviewed was poor and had been motivated by commission. ‘99% of the advice I’ve seen is terrible, inappropriate, commission-driven stuff,’ he said.

It doesn’t get much worse than this, and we wonder when and if criminal fraud charges will be laid against David Ames and his cohorts. So many lives ruined, so many pensions destroyed.

Some new happenings:

FSCS writes to Harlequin promoter TailorMade’s clients

Harlequin investors hit out at TailorMade Group

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539 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

Serious Fraud Office confirms Harlequin investigation, asks for investor stories

Harlequin Fraud Office

Serious Fraud Office and Essex Police: Harlequin Property

5 March 2013

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO website), together with Essex Police, is looking into complaints in relation to the Harlequin group.  The business activity of the Harlequin group includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations.  If you have invested in Harlequin schemes, we would welcome any information you can give us.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people who invested in the following resorts:

(1) Buccament Bay in St Vincent & the Grenadines;
(2) Merricks in Barbados;
(3) Marquis Estate in St Lucia;
(4) The Hideaway in the Dominican Republic;
(5) Las Canas in the Dominican Republic;
(6) Two Rivers in the Dominican Republic and
(7) Garapua Beach Resort in Brazil.        Continue reading

104 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

Beginning of the end for Harlequin Properties and Dave Ames? Court petitioned to freeze business and personal assets.

UPDATED March 14, 2013: Comments closed and redirected to latest article

Hi folks. After almost 1,500 comments on this story readers are getting a little tired of having to scroll through them all to continue a current discussion. So we’ve closed the comments on this post and redirect you to the most current Harlequin post as of March 14, 2013…

Harlequin Properties stunner! SIPP-Pension investors advised to act immediately

Prior Updates…

URGENT: Barbados Free Press under attack!

Some folks want to discourage discussion about Harlequin

Wednesday, March 13, 2013   1am Bridgetown

Friends, the number of comments on this story is over 1,300 – a new record for Barbados Free Press. Combine those comments with our other news articles about Harlequin and Dave Ames and there are almost 3,000 comments here at BFP.

The Harlequin discussion is carried on primarily by two kinds of people… desperate investors hoping to understand and get their money out somehow, and people who see no wrong by Dave Ames and Harlequin. Some of the second group use different names to post, like Dave Ames’ head of security who got caught trying to infiltrate the discussion without telling his true identity.

Now some people are using techniques to try and block the discussion here at Barbados Free Press. They are inundating us with spam comments trying to sell everything from ice makers to japanese dating sites. Then we have people calling themselves “Yorkiepoo” going for volume to dominate the discussion with garbage comments. This “Yorkiepoo” has to be more than one person because they are here for so many hours. This is way beyond trolling – this must be an organized group trying to stop investors from talking here at BFP.

So who would want to interfere with the Harlequin discussion? (He asked knowingly.)

We’ll do our best to remove asinine and irrelevant comments – but don’t be discouraged. Just talk ya talk and nevermind them others. In response to the attacks, we’ll post this at the top of the blog for a few days so you don’t have to hunt for this very active article. The more they interfere, the more articles we will run and the longer we’ll leave this at the top.

Chickens do come home and we be working on it!

BREAKING UPDATED: Harlequin pays off investors who launched court action!

Saturday March 9, 2013  7:20am Bridgetown

Echo News reports this morning that the Birmingham High Court bid to freeze Harlequin’s and David Ames’ assets was dropped yesterday when a settlement was reached.

Apparently Harlequin paid off six investors represented by Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal, who dropped the court case. Said Fatchett: “Our primary aim was for the return of these investors’ deposits. We now have 20 more investors seeking refunds due to missed completion dates.”

Meanwhile, the H-Hotel construction site in Barbados remains shut down after Harlequin laid off dozens of workers. We haven’t heard anything recently about The Merricks, but we’ll take a drive out of the city on Monday and let folks know.

Echo News: Harlequin Property freezing order bid ends after investors paid out

Here is BFP’s original story first published on March 3, 2013…

Will Dave Ames dodge SFO bracelets?

Will Dave Ames dodge SFO bracelets?

Financial Services Authority also investigating Harlequin and Ames

A high court action will start in Birmingham on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 against Harlequin Property and David Ames. This, according to investigative journalists Russell Myers and Sharon Churcher of the Mail on Sunday.

“Legal papers will be lodged at the High Court in Birmingham on Tuesday to freeze the assets of Harlequin Property and its directors in an attempt to claw back money for worried investors.”

The court could deliver a double blow to Harlequin and Ames: freezing all business and personal assets. Plus Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs pensions regulator will act – just as Barbados Free Press first reported several months ago.

As we say in Bim, de chickens coming home…   Continue reading

1,467 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Serious Fraud Office asked to investigate Harlequin – “3,000 Britons fall victim”

Harlequin Pension Fraud

(click photo for full size)

Mail on Sunday visits Merricks Beach Resort in Barbados “Rubbish-strewn field”

“We have been left completely in the dark and fear we’ve lost everything. they haven’t even started building the resort yet.”

Merricks buyer Mrs. Gupta in the Daily Mail article 3,000 Britons fall victim to £250million fantasy villa fiasco

The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday are publishing a series of investigative news articles about David Ames and the Harlequin Property scandal that saw thousands of people ‘invest’ in what is so obviously a Ponzi pyramid scheme that relies upon finding new ‘investors’ to pay sums promised to earlier ‘investors’.

Journalist Russell Myers and his colleagues Martin Delgado and Sharon Churcher published the first piece in the series on Saturday, February 23, 2013.

Online reports from investors here at Barbados Free Press and elsewhere recently revealed that Harlequin is behind in interest payments to some investors who took out mortgages and loans to fund their Harlequin purchases. Harlequin was supposed to pay the interest to the purchasers’ financial institutions as part of the agreement with the ‘investors’ but it looks like the house of cards is getting very shaky indeed.

The role of the governments of Barbados and other Caribbean nations caught up in the Harlequin scandal is also drawing international attention and must reflect badly upon the involved Caribbean governments and nations.

Barbados and the other nations failed to protect foreign investors and as a result the Harlequin fiasco will taint the region’s other resort and retirement projects for many years. Barbados Free Press has been extensively covering this story because we believe our leaders made very poor decisions about Ames and Harlequin in an environment where Barbados lacks Integrity Legislation, Conflicts of Interest standards and Freedom of Information laws. The lack of accountability for elected and appoint public officials likely played a large role in how Barbados politicians welcomed David Ames and his ‘political donations’…

“Our government gave Ames and Harlequin the benefit of our country’s reputation – and when the Harlequin house of cards falls, it will be the reputation of Barbados that is harmed the most.

Something for our ‘leaders’ to think about the next time that some offshore investor property developer arrives bearing gifts – because no doubt Mr. Ames spread some gifts around freely.”

… from the January 26, 2013 BFP story How Harlequin damaged Barbados reputation

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort hasn’t filed financials in 7 years! Liable to be struck from companies registrar

Harlequin Resort

Nothing filed with Saint Vincent government since 2005

One of the main hotel resorts which received investment from overseas property firm Harlequin Property has not filed accounts for seven years.

Buccament Bay Resort on the Caribbean island of St.Vincent – the flagship investment of the £200m unregulated Harlequin investment scheme – has failed to file any accounts or financial statements with the registrar of companies of the state of Saint Vincent since 2005.

According to documents seen by IFAonline from the deputy registrar of Saint Vincent, the Buccament Bay Resort is now in “default” of its obligations. As a result it is liable to be struck off the island’s companies register.

For more, see IFA Online’s article: No accounts for Harlequin Property resort since 2005

78 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Report: David Ames and Harlequin under investigation for dodgy condo project in Thailand

We wondered why the hit-o-meter was going wild from the UK on our Harlequin articles and then we discovered the reason why: a bunch of Brits purchased condo units in Thailand from Ames / Harlequin

and… and…  Guess what?

Money gone, no condo…. that’s what!

One has to wonder just when this house of cards called Harlequin will finally run out of people willing to trade their cash for a promise that never arrives…

Is Thailand’s Attorney-General Moving Against Dodgy Developers?

Emerald Palace Visited By Police – Sensation

A controversial condominium project in Pattaya linked to a British company, which has taken billions of pounds for property projects, which have never been built, in the Caribbean and Thailand, was yesterday (Wednesday) visited by police and Pattaya Consumer Protection Officers.

Emerald Palace on Pratamnak Hill, Pattaya, initiated by David Ames of the British company ‘Harlequin’, could be described to have been raided but that may be stretching things. The visit was long overdue.

The project is a classic study on how foreign property companies in Thailand can rip off unsuspecting clients.

First of all some buyers, mainly British, but also some Russians, a Canadian and other nationalities, were sold units and were never even allocated one.

Secondly all the remaining buyers found that, when they came to occupy their rooms in the project which came in three years late, they had all been mortgaged to Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank. (One buyer found that his allocated unit was in fact occupied by the mistress of a bank official.)

And thirdly the original sellers, the people who took the cash, quietly removed themselves as directors.

And their company, which actually owns the project is not the company with which the buyers were actually dealing.

Emerald Palace was initiated by David Ames of Harlequin U.K. based in Basildon , Essex. Ames is a formerly bankrupt ex-double glazing salesman.

Read the rest of the story at Andrew Drummond’s blog.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Harlequin’s H Hotel Barbados – Five months of photos: Can you see any progress at all?

(click all photos for large versions)

Where are the workers? Where are the materials? Where are the walls?

Five months of photos at the H Hotel construction site show little, if any, real progress happening at this David Ames Harlequin project. Barbados Free Press first published photos of the worksite dating from February 16, 2012 to March 22, 2012 (BFP’s March 23, 2012 story here). Now, six months later we publish photos taken on July 18, 2012 and we cannot see any progress at all. Some piles of sand, some concrete tiles in the corner, a few internal supports removed – but this isn’t progress. It certainly isn’t what we would expect to see on an active construction project after nearly six months.

Does this look like six months of work on a healthy, vibrant project to you?

These photos will probably cause some Harlequin investors and prospective investors to do a doubletake, and perhaps they should. What work is being done? How much money has been spent on labour and materials in the six past months? Why isn’t this construction site a beehive of activity like every other healthy site you’ve ever seen? There is, however, precedent for this snail like pace by Harlequin…

Unless there’s something we’ve missed, folks who purchased units at Harlequin’s Merricks project six years ago have yet to see one customer unit delivered. Where is all that customer money now?

Perhaps we ordinary people don’t understand how the whole Harlequin project portfolio can support itself without using customer funds from one project to keep other projects going, and by using the funds from new investors to cover existing daily expenses. We don’t understand where the money will come from to build all those sold units at Merricks, because after six years of paying some of the highest sales commissions ever to ‘investment counselors’ who push Harlequin ‘investments’, we think Harlequin is relying on new investors to support the whole scheme. Continue reading

79 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Economy, Offshore Investments