Thousands of Brit victims hit by holiday home scam

Published:  25 Feb at 6 PM
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Around 3,000 British investors are faced with financial disaster after pension advisors recommended the off-plan purchase of Caribbean villas.

Essex-based Harlequin Properties promised would-be expats and investors a luxury life in one of 6,000 upscale villas to be built on Barbados and other Caribbean paradise islands. At the present time, only 300 have been built, the FSA has issued a warning and the Serious Fraud Squad are investigating.

Total losses by those who purchased off-plan are likely to be around £250 million, and suppliers and builders on the St Vincent’s holiday village site are not being paid, according to the island’s former Prime Minister. Auditors report there have been ongoing issues with the company’s accounts, and Liverpool Football Club, tennis star Pat Cash and footballer Andy Townsend are regretting allowing their names to promote the development.

CEO of Basildon-based Harlequin, David Ames, strongly denies the allegations, adding he has been a victim of dodgy developers and promising all the holiday villages will be completed as promised. However, Regulatory Legal Solicitors’ Gareth Fatchett, representing a group of Harlequin clients, stated his serious concerns that the advestment advice given was seriously flawed.

Fatchett also stated that legal representatives had visited Barbados, resulting in further serious concerns on all fronts including accounting, building and land tenure. Worried investors attempting to get answers from Harlequin have met with refusals to give straight answers.

Although this may not be much comfort to a good number of expats in Pattaya, Thailand, they’ll no doubt sympathise with the victims, as they’ve undergone a similar trauma with Harlequin (Thailand), a spin-off of the Essex company. Promised projects did not happen, purchasers were pushed off onto other developments, the company was resold, units were sold off, the deeds are now owned by a Thai bank and a fraud investigation is ongoing.
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