Update Harlequin 150pxRegulatory Legal, who runs the Harlequin Investor Group (HIG), have released an update on the latest developments in the Harlequin property Saga.

According to recent reports some 6,000 investors have committed around £400 million to Harlequin Property, which has faced multiple problems over the past few months, including an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and various legal actions.

The full update from Regulatory Legal reads:

At outset, HIG are more than prepared to continue to engage with Harlequin and will seek to understand and support a rescue plan where this is feasible notwithstanding the protective steps we are suggesting below. ie. our objective is to pursue different strategies which aim to achieve the best outcome for investors regardless of the course adopted. Simply sitting back while matters worsen is not a strategy HIG are prepared to adopt.

HIG members are all investors in Harlequin and would like nothing more than it to work. However, we have to be realistic. It is not going to work in the current format. It needs a major overhaul to give us any chance of surviving. Currently, the whole process is dictated by a handful of people at the Harlequin core. Frankly, that does not work for investors who need to understand the actual position.

The seriousness of the situation has increased with a High Court Judge making an order against Mr & Mrs Ames personally. Of course, Mr & Mrs Ames are able to challenge the order and seek to have it revoked. What is concerning for HIG is that the order was granted in the first place.

We are trying to keep an open mind, but the slippage of timetables, non-payment of creditors and the issuing and granting of the injunction does little to reassure us.

Plan A – Rescue Plan

We have not received the Rescue Plan as yet. We were promised some details this week. We are now promised the documents during next week.  There is  little point in speculating as to the content.  We will advise on the detail if and when we receive it.  What we can say is that for any plan to work the vast majority of investors will need to be in agreement. The current position suggests that this is far from the case.

Questions posed to David Ames

We expect detailed answers to our questions by the 23rd May 2013.  To date we have received nothing.

Harlequin Investor Group plan of action

Plan B – Securing of Assets

The Harlequin Investor Group feels it is time to prepare for a worsening of the situation.  The advice from HIG is that everyone capable of issuing a Statutory Demand should do so.

  1. It announces the intent of the investors
  2. It allows people to move quickly upon expiration of the demand period (21 days)

There are some defined groups who need to make demands :-

  • Group 1 – Investors with “Finance Agreements” with Harlequin Property (SVG) Limited where the missed payments exceed £750.00.
  • Group 2 – Investors who hold contracts (with any Harlequin company) where their Completion Date has expired.
  • Group 3 – Investors who hold contracts with Buccament Bay Resort Limited (any date).
  • Group 4 – Investors who hold contracts relating to the investment within Brazil.

Process

Gather together a copy of your contract along with evidence of the date you paid monies to Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited.

Send the documents to harlequin@regulatorylegal.co.uk

The relevant statutory demand will be issued and served in SVG.

The cost to deal with this process is £360. If you have multiple properties please let us know.

Why should you do this?

If a Rescue Plan proceeds then the only way the threat of a winding up petition being presented (following the expiration of the statutory demands (21 days))  is to come to terms (e.g. agree to pay off  the demands).

If a Rescue Plan is not possible then investors may wish to take matters into their own hands.  By being one of many statutory demands we can petition the relevant court together with a consolidated petition.

HIG feel that we have to increase pressure on Harlequin. If not, matters will drift.

Queries – please call Martyn Anderson at Regulatory Legal Solicitors on 01384 426400.

Can we withdraw the Statutory Demands ?

Yes, if a satisfactory proposal is received all court papers can be withdrawn.

Current Litigation

  • You will have seen in the papers that 13 investors obtained an ex-parte injunction against David & Carol Ames personally on the 14th May 2013.  The return date at court in London  is on the 28th May 2013
  • The RL  damages claims against BBR (1) David Ames (2) and HMSSE (3) was issued early April 2013.  David Ames has notified RL of his intention to defend the claim
  • As at today just under 100 Statutory Demands have been issued. Many of these have gone beyond the 21 day period.  Therefore, they are operable. No challenge to the debt has been made by Harlequin’s lawyers in SVG
  • In one case positive instructions have been given to issue a Winding Up petition.The simple conclusion is that investors are becoming impatient. Nervousness will not have been reduced by a High Court Judge issuing the £1.1m freezing order.  Far from it. The call/ email level has risen dramatically

Dealings with Harlequin Assets

HIG have asked for some form of confirmation that there will be no disposals of Harlequin assets (other than in the normal course of dealing).

HIG take the view that any and all steps should be taken to prevent dealing of the land / corporate assets of Harlequin. With this in mind, RL have emailed Harlequin and their advisers to seek a confirmation by close on the 24th May 2013. If no such confirmation is received, then HIG will set out the further steps investors should be taking to protect their positions. Advice has been requested from lawyers in the Caribbean.

Conclusion

This week has seen very little positives to report from Harlequin. We understand that David & Carol Ames are in SVG for the next week.  Their lack of attending to matters here is very telling.

We will be updating everyone about Proof of Debt forms over the weekend.  Please make sure you deal with these forms as soon as possible.

We will be updating everyone on other matters on the 24th May 2013.

Are you a Harlequin Property investor?

If you are a Harlequin Property investor you will naturally be concerned about the recent developments. The investors we have spoken to have had mixed emotions, however all have wanted to take some form of action.

We would recommend that Harlequin investors continue to monitor the situation whilst completing the Harlequin Property Serious Fraud Office questionnaire , which can be found by clicking here  and also visit the website set up by Regulatory Legal: www.harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk/  for more news.

You can also contact our team  of Independent Financial Advisers  on 0115 933 8433, alternatively enquire online  or email info@investmentsense.co.uk