Harlequin Group offered investors the chance to invest in properties abroad. Investments were often missold as they were unsuitable for the investors’ attitude to risk and hundreds of investors lost money.
The investments were at best high risk and not easily transferred or cashed in and so were unsuitable for most customers and what they call “retail investors” (ie people like you and me). As such the investments were probably missold by many of the Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) who recommended them.
In many cases the customers are targeted by Harlequin companies or unregulated advisers who then referred the customer onto an IFA who was regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The Financial Conduct Authority (in its previous name of Financial Services Authority) published an alert warning of the danger of investing in Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited as they were unregulated and whose investments were in overseas property.
If the IFA is no longer trading you may not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service but you can still make a claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme even if they no longer exist.
There have already been hundreds of successful claims to the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme in relation to Harlequin investments.
On 17 February 2017, the Serious Fraud Office charged David Ames, chairman of the Harlequin Group of companies, with three counts of Fraud by Abuse of Position, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. The charges were brought in relation to activity which occurred between January 2010 and June 2015.
The SFO attended a Pre-Trial Review hearing a Southwark Crown Court on 31 January 2019 at which HHJ Loraine Smith set a trial date of 20 April 2020.
Omaya Beach Resort, Dominican Republic
The SFO website states that it is aware that the Harlequin Two Rivers development in Dominican Republic is now being marketed as the Omaya Beach Resort and that investors are being offered the opportunity to re-invest.
It warns investors to consider carefully whether to invest and take legal and financial advice.
Given the background of these investments and the people involved we would repeat that advice.
The SFO invited investors to complete questionnaires to support their case against Mr Ames. It is no longer possible to complete these but they are still accepting any submissions by email to email@example.com
If you have lost money through any such investments that were unsuitable for you because they were too risky, illiquid (they cannot be transferred or cashed in easily) or for any other reason you may have a claim.
Call Nick, a senior solicitor with over 25 years experience to take your claim forward, on 01925 759 510 or complete the enquiry or contact form.