3,000 Britons face financial ruin by Caribbean property scheme

3,000 Britons financially ruined by Caribbean property scheme

Up to 3,000 Britons could face financial ruin after investing up to £250million into a Caribbean property scheme which is now facing legal action.

The Daily Mail reports that several investors were persuaded by pension advisors to invest large sums into projects run by Essex-based Harlequin Property. Although the company has promised to build 6,000 luxury villas in St Lucia, Barbados and the Dominican Republic, so far only 300 have been constructed.

As a result, the Financial Services Authority has issued an 'alert' about the company and the Serious Fraud Office has been asked to investigate.

The Mail on Sunday has discovered that Liverpool Football Club, tennis star Pat Cash and former Republic of Ireland footballer Andy Townsend have all allowed their names to be used in promotions, and one holiday village in Barbados is still a building site.

However, David Ames, who runs the company with his wife Carol and son Daniel insists that he has not misled investors. He blames contractors, who are now subject to legal action, and says that all the projects will be completed.

The FSA Alert says: "We have seen an increasing number of self-invested personal pension schemes whose underlying investment is in an overseas property purchased through Harlequin Property, a UK-based overseas property sales agent that is not regulated by the FSA.

"The FSA expects advisors to have undertaken thorough due diligence on the various developments being sold through Harlequin Property to fully satisfy themselves that this is a suitable investment."

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