Harlequin Property update: Harlequin applies to enter administration

Posted on April 23rd, 2013 | Categories – News

Harlequin Management Services (South East), which trades as Harlequin Property has applied at the High Court, to go into administration, according to reports today.

The Essex based overseas investment property has been beset by problems over recent months, including delays in completing developments and a protracted court case in Ireland, whilst many investors have experienced delays in their monthly income payments and refund payments.


Whilst a number of Statutory Demands have been served on Harlequin Property by angry investors, there appeared to be a general desire from all sides to work together to achieve a satisfactory. Indeed a series of meetings were due to take place today in Warrington between Harlequin and their investors; it is unclear whether these meetings will now take place.
Statutory Demands

A separate meeting was held only yesterday, which included Regulatory Legal, a group of investors and representatives from Harlequin Property to discuss the options available. However, in a statement released today Carole Ames, Director of Harlequin Property, said: “The company is or is unlikely to become able to pay its debts.”

Ames intends to appoint Shipleys LLP, an accountant based in London, as administrators.

“Serious for investors”

Commenting on the move to put Harlequin property into administration, Gareth Fatchett, of Regulatory Legal, said: “This is serious for investors.The Harlequin Investor Group will now be looking at how best to protect investor interests in the Caribbean. An update for investors will be published from http://www.harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk for investors in the next 24 hours.”

However, a spokesperson for Harlequin said the proposed administration “will not threaten” investments and the Directors are “confident” the company can be restructured.

Speaking to FTAdviser, the Harlequin spokesperson went on to say: spokesperson for Harlequin Property said: “The last few months have given Harlequin the chance to restructure its business to attract new outside investment and develop properties in accordance with the sales made via Harlequin Property.”

“The first stage of this restructure is for the directors to place Harlequin Property into administration via a notice of intention to appoint administrators. ”

“The administration procedure will give Harlequin Property some breathing space and the ability to deal with its challenges.”

“The underlying business model of the Harlequin group is strong and the directors are confident that, with the external finance and property completions anticipated, our investors will see significant development at our resorts in the near future.

The news will dismay thousands of investors who have invested money, often borrowed or from their SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) into the various schemes marketed by Harlequin Property through a network of agents and advisers.

At this early stage it is unclear how the move to send the company into administration will affect investors, although it will certainly add to their anger and uncertainty being experienced by investors, many of whom have committed large sums to the projects.

Important Communication!!!

If you have invested in Harlequin Property with a SIPP provider and you have lost your money, we have a solution and help to get your money back.

We have organised a meeting for the 1st of May at 11 am in London for this specific case.

Contact us at CPC Worldwide now for information

Tel: 0191 3862487
E-mail: cpcholding@europe.com

www.propertyproblemsabroad.co.uk

Important communication!!!

If you have invested in Harlequin Property with a SIPP provider and you have lost your money, we have a solution and help to get your money back.

We have organised a meeting for the 1st of May at 11 am in London for this specific case.

Contact us at CPC Worldwide now for information.

Tel: 0191 386 2487
E-mail: cpcholding@europe.com

www.propertyproblemsabroad.co.uk

Harlequin hits back over Sipps firm’s ‘not Sipp-able’ claim

Property investment firm says claims its properties were ‘dwellings’ and that it is a Ucis are “mistaken”.

By Donia O’Loughlin and Ashley Wassall | Published Apr 11, 2013 

Embattled property investment group Harlequin has hit back at self-invested personal pension firm Liberty Sipp, which has said it has never allowed investments into resorts managed by the firm as it continues to believe they do not meet criteria for inclusion in a Sipp wrapper.

Sipps are at the centre of the recent controversy over Harlequin investments after the Financial Services Authority issued an alert to advisers in January warning of the need to carry out proper suitability assessments when recommending clients to invest heavily through a Sipp into overseas property bought through the firm.

Liberty told FTAdviser that Sipps firms should never have allowed Harlequin within the wrapper as most of the money was invested in villa-type properties that it believes would likely be classified under qualifying investment rules as residential property.

John Fox, managing director at Liberty Sipp, said that when the firm first looked at Harlequin in 2010, it did not believe it was ‘Sipp-able’ and that “remains our view today”.

He said: “A hotel room is a place you sleep, wash and get changed whereas a villa allows you to do more than that and therefore falls into the definition of a dwelling.

“In some cases, the rules were misinterpreted [by Sipps providers] saying that it was a villa in a resort that could only be booked through a travel agent; that the rooms didn’t have kitchen facilities and therefore fulfilled the criteria of a hotel.

“We felt that there was a degree of poetic licence in all this.”

However, a spokesperson for Harlequin hit back at the claims, saying Liberty is “mistaken” as buyers of the unit have no right to occupy and no right to ownership of the chattels.

He said: “The appearance of the Cabanas at Buccament Bay Resort are villa-esque in style but this does not detract from their use as hotel rooms because the properties have no kitchen and bear no other resemblance to a ‘dwelling’.

“Furthermore, please note that each Sipp contract clearly states that the Buyer has no right to occupy the unit (obtain a defined benefit) and no right to ownership of the chattels (fixtures and fittings) in the hotel room.”

Mr Fox said that another concern is that Liberty was told by a Harlequin investor that the money they had invested in one resort had actually been allocated to help construct another. In his view, this raised questions whether this brought it close to being an unregulated collective investment schemes.

He said: “If it were a Ucis then I very much doubt that many of the people investing in Harlequin were the ‘sophisticated’ individuals able to invest in such products.”

The spokesperson for Harlequin disputed these claims, saying it “is wholly satisfied that it is not selling a Ucis and has sought regulatory legal advice on this point”

Harlequin: Who is Accountable?

 

Harlequin: Who is Accountable?

 

Posted on April 7, 2013 by  | 

 

David Ames (Harlequin) r, Mark Maloney (Preconco) r

David Ames (Harlequin) r, Mark Maloney (Preconco) r

Harlequin Hotels & Resorts has halted operations here owing employees two months’ salary, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) about $80 000 and several local businesses and contractors in excess of $3 million – Nation Newspaper (07 April 2012)

The Harlequin matter continues to hog the media space in Barbados and in the United Kingdom.. The blogs have been harping on this issue for months and if what is carried in today’s press is to be believed, it has been with good reason. It seems that today’s business environment can easily be described as toxic, Ponzi, greedy, lacking governance and other similar unflattering descriptions. David Ames and his cohorts, the owners of the Harlequin operation, have been able to ‘persuade’ investors mainly from the UK to fund their questionable project.

BU has posted several blogs which have expressed disgust about the lack of interest shown by local authorities to investigate the local operations of David Ames and Harlequin. It is ironic that in August 2012 the most widely circulated local newspaper published a headline, Harlequin boost to buildingequally ironic it was penned by the same award winning reporter Maria Bradshaw. Needless to say when the Nation newspaper was delivering its PR job on Harlequin, a simple Google would have unearthed a myriad of concerns about Ames and Harlequin Limited which should have provoked the most dense journalist to be probing in their report. Unfortunately an unacceptable level of passivity from the Fourth Estate and many other agencies in Barbados is what we have to tolerate. Was it too much to expect the Nation journalist to have included that the FSC issued an alert about Harlequin last month? Obviously the answer is yes.