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  • Landlords in Distress

    Viewpoint Salford, Camilleri, Cunningham

    Charles Cunningham, Andrew Camilleri, Viewpoint Salford, Fresh Start Living, Absolute Living Developments, DS7 Limited, Empirical Property Group:

    Fresh Start, Empirical Property Group: Not Quite The Robin Hood of Property Investment 

    When it comes to investing, you’d think you could trust a former Eton contemporary of Prince William. Especially one with the aim of renovating old properties and renting them out as affordable homes. And, when the CEO of the company claims it is “one of the only safe investments available”, your ears might !!!!! up a little further. And the 9% annual return and phenomenal growth promised is also likely to push you to make an investment. 

    The paragraph above describes Fresh Start and Empirical Property Group, a company run by Charles Cunningham and Andrew Camilleri. In 2013, Fresh Start was served a winding-up petition in Nottingham over a scheme that then had five unpaid county court judgements against it, totalling £31,400. 

    Across the country, Fresh Start and its parent, Empirical Property Group, left a trail of half-baked and half-finished developments. Those that were completed were plagued by breaches of safety standards and poor finishes. 

    Investors had been lured into student accommodation schemes, and paid millions in deposits to secure a foothold. Many schemes never even got off the ground, and at least one was sold to investors without Fresh Start owning a single brick of the property to be refurbished! 
    At other buildings, work was completed and rooms rented out to students – then Fresh Start kept all the rental income. Fresh Start was finally wound up in December 2013. 

    I indirectly lost £200k to Fresh Start by having to pay back investors and court costs. In the end, we won the case but the company had no assets! 

    Except, magically, about £18 million appeared in the accounts of the parent company, Empirical Property Group. Where did it come from??? We will probably never know. 

    Fraudsters are able to use the Companies Act to siphon off money from one company to another. Of course, without detailed accounts and access to their bank it very hard to prove anything and it seems the authorities have bought their story and excuses. 

    Ponzi scheme, Scam or Bad Business Model? I'll let you decide. 

    1,000 
    – the number of units sold
 by Fresh Start 
    Unknown 
    – the exact amount 
lost by investors in to 
the Fresh Start ‘opportunities’

    – by Brett Alegre-Wood : How to Avoid Property Fraud, a Ponzi Scheme, Scam or Bad Business Model
    The 12 Warning Signs That Will Help You Avoid Being A Victim
    Author of the 2010 Peoples Book Prize winning The 3+1 Plan

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    I reckon that these people should be facing criminal charges

    After all there isn't much difference to what Phil Martin has been doing

    The company Get out of Jail free card has to be stopped

    Some sort of injunction must surely be able to be served on the bank account holding the millions!?

    Perhaps the lawyers dealing with the PM cases might be interested in this lot of criminals!?

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    Hong Kong Police confirm Runcorn flats conversion company probe


    Matter passed to commercial crime bureau after 118 people claim they were 'deceived', following protests outside police HQ and UK consulate.

    Hong Kong Police (HKP) has confirmed it is examining allegations made in connection with a company behind a controversial flats project in Runcorn.

    In a reply to the question whether it was investigating Absolute Living Developments (ALD), an HKP spokesman said it had received reports from 118 individuals who ‘suspected they were deceived while investing in properties involving HK$74.17m’ and the matter was being ‘followed up by the commercial crime bureau’.

    ALD was the company that launched the controversial bid to convert the asbestos-contaminated East Lane House in Runcorn into 448 one-bedroom flats, 394 of them in the ‘studio’ style.

    Winding-up proceedings are now under way at ALD.

    Last week it was reported that angry investors had protested outside Hong Kong Police headquarters and the British Consulate General in Hong Kong over ALD.

    Chinese and trade press articles from publications including The South China Morning Post, RTHK, The Standard and Property Industry Eye had covered the demonstrations.

    The investors are being represented by Hong Kong lawmaker and trained solicitor James To Kun-sun, whose office has said one of the complaints relates to one flat at East Lane House.

    A spokeswoman for Mr To said the protests were in connection with ‘suspected fraud’ and ‘about five projects in the UK’.

    They have claimed the matter could damage the UK’s business reputation.

    Mr To has written to the Consulate General Caroline Wilson and City Of London police commissioner Ian Dyson.

    Companies House documents showed that ALD was first registered to an address in London and later Liverpool and prior to December its directors were based in Malaysia.

    Management of the East Lane House flats scheme has passed to another company, Singapore-based Daniel Mark Harrison & Co.

    The UK Foreign And Commonwealth Office and City Of London 
    police commissioner Ian Dyson were approached for comment.

    by Oliver Clay : Liverpool Echo

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    Viewpoint Salford, Manchester View, Aspen Woolf, Prime Noble Properties


    I have seen this posted on another forum for property investors-

    Have received sales details for this 'investment' from Prime Noble Properties (new company) and Aspen Woolf, it looks a far cry from these photos - In view of the number of failed property schemes in Manchester this is what the property looks like today. I would want to see independent evidence that the proposition is sound.

    https://bit.ly/2clqERW

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    Reposted from moneysavingexpert: Investors are already losing money and not a brick has yet been laid.

    FSL PROPERTIES FORD LANE LIMITED 

    England and Wales Orders & Judgments 
    FSL PROPERTIES FORD LANE LTD 
    COUNTY COURT MONEY CLAIMS CENTRE 
    A84YJ337 
    £41,156
    Unsatisfied Judgment 
    7 EMPRESS STREET, OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER, M16 9EN 
    FSL PROPERTIES FORD LANE LIMITED 
    NORTHAMPTON CCBC 3QG77384 
    £897 
    Unsatisfied Judgment 
    7 EMPRESS STREET, OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER, M16 9EN 
    FSL PROPERTIES FORD LANE LIMITED 
    NORTHAMPTON CCBC 
    3QZ47980 
    £5,123 
    Unsatisfied Judgment 
    EMPRESS MILL, 7 EMPRESS STREET, OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER, M16 9EN

    Petitions to Wind Up (Companies)
    In the Manchester County Court

    No 2685 of 2016

    In the Matter of FSL PROPERTIES FORD LANE LIMITED

    (Company Number 07707345)

    and in the Matter of the Insolvency Act 1986

    A Petition to wind up the above-named Company FSL Properties Ford Lane Limited of 7 Empress Street, Old Trafford, Manchester M16 9EN was presented on 27 July 2016. The Petition was presented by MR ADITYA CHOWDHURY of 3 Balmoral Close, Pontefract, WF8 4LF (the Petitioner), claiming to be a Creditor of the Company. 

    The Petitioner’s solicitors are Jordans Solicitors, 18 King Street, Wakefield, WF1 2SQ. Ref SL/LB/65441.2

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    No action over ad claiming flats were 'waterfront' - when they weren't

    The latest round of complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority against property firms’ ads have once again ended only with ‘informal resolution’ of the cases.

    One was against property investment company Aspen Woolf which advertised the Viewpoint apartments in Salford on its website with a claim ‘Stunning Waterfront Location’ when in fact the scheme was not on the waterfront.

    “We contacted the advertiser who corrected the heading used on their webpage” says a spokeswoman for the ASA.

    In a statement to Estate Agent Today, Aspen Woolf said: “The landing page in question was just a simple mistake that was not picked up when proofing the page. The copy ‘Stunning Waterfront Location’ was part of the page template and not removed before the landing page went live. We removed the line as soon as it was brought to our attention as we never want to mislead valued clients.”

    https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/break...hey-werent

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    Rotherham Development linked to Dubious Investment Schemes

    Work is slow on a housing development in Rotherham town centre with development companies wound up and even linked to protests in Hong Kong by worried investors.

    Revised plans to convert the historic Howard Building into self-contained studios and apartments were approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council in 2015.

    The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son.

    With little evidence of the conversion into twelve, one bed apartments and 60 studio apartments at "Howard Residencies", applicants, AVRO Developments headed into insolvency, with Rotherham Council leading the petition in 2015 to have the company wound up.

    Financial documents link AVRO Developments to DS7 Limited which has acted as a lender to Absolute Living Developments, Fresh Start Living and Empirical Property, all highlighted in the media as leaving buy-to-let investors out of pocket.

    Similar schemes in Manchester, Bradford and across the North of England were sold off plan to investors with the promise of decent returns, but the work was never completed and companies were wound up and projects moved on in complex deals. In some cases where some work was carried out, tenants were left with exposed electrical wires, a leaking roof, an illegal gas connection, a car park strewn with contaminated waste and an open sewer pipe.

    The Telegraph & Argus reported this year that police in Hong Kong are conducting an international investigation into Liverpool-based Absolute Living Developments, which had been part-way through three apartment projects in Bradford when it was placed in compulsory liquidation. Overseas investors fear they have lost their money paid in deposits.

    Howard Residencies is currently being offered as an investment opportunity by Crown Union (located at a virtual office in London and shares directors with companies linked to the Howard Building and DS7 Limited). It is offered as an "Ideal purchase for investors looking at UK Buy To Let's as a way of getting onto the first rung of the property investment ladder. From dynamic apartment layouts to classic period façade and stonework surrounds, this redevelopment brings together Rotherham past and present to create a truly unique place to live for post-graduates, young professionals & key workers."

    Starter pads and 1 bed apartments are being offered at £49,950 and £69,950 with an 8% ROI per annum.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fre...gh-2919959

    https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/ne...9_s_collap%20%20se_continues_as_number_of_people_alleging_de ceptio%20%20n_grows/

    https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-ne...?id=170660

    https://dmh.plcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/...rd_web.pdf


    Crown Union website

    https://www.crown-union.com/item/howard-residences/

    by Tom Austen https://www.rothbiz.co.uk/


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    Charity conman linked to £30m property development at centre of police fraud probe

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scotti...d-10187112

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    Former Eton pupil named as mastermind behind alleged multi-million pound property development scam

    A former public schoolboy has been named as the alleged mastermind behind a multi-million pound property development fraud, according to High Court papers.

    Charles Cunningham, whose time at Eton overlapped with Prince William’s, has been identified in court papers as controlling a series of companies used to defraud Asian investors of millions of pounds by enticing them with UK developments that were never completed.

    The son of a City financier, Mr Cunningham, whose brother Rupert is friends with some of Prince Harry’s inner circle, lives in a large country estate in North Wales with his wife. The couple boast a who’s who of society contacts.

    Mr Cunningham, 38, flatly denies all the allegations and has said that he is confident that a High Court hearing will overturn the freezing order which was brought by the liquidator of Absolute Living Developments.

    He has been accused of being one of the masterminds behind ALD, which offered five large development projects in northern England that were marketed to investors in the Far East and South-East Asia.

    But in April 2016 the company, which boasted developments in Runcorn, Manchester and Bradford, went into liquidation.

    ALD is one of a raft of UK property companies that have become mired in controversy in Asia. Hong Kong investors and politicians have accused the UK authorities and police of turning a blind eye to multi-million pound ‘fraud’.

    Hong Kong politicians have reported ALD to the Serious Fraud Office and have also asked the Chinese government to protect the interests of Chinese investors in UK property projects. The news comes as Beijing attempts to slow down the outflow of capital from the country.

    Liquidator Louise Brittain was recently granted a £14.5 million freezing order in the High Court, designed to prevent ‘steps to dissipate or secrete assets’ from ALD by Mr Cunningham and a business partner.

    In her High Court affidavit in support of the order, the liquidator said she had discovered that ‘a substantial proportion of the monies owed and/or paid to ALD…had been wrongfully diverted’ to three companies, named as DS7, Gozon and EPG Manlet.

    Brittain states that the ‘three companies form part of a complex structure of entities under the control’ of Mr Cunningham and his alleged business partner, which, she claims, ‘has been used to defraud investors (most of whom are based in Hong Kong and Malaysia)’.

    Mr Cunningham told The Mail on Sunday: ‘These monies were not wrongfully diverted and a forensic report is currently being prepared which will establish the exact payments and the legitimacy of those payments made by these companies.’ ALD, set up in 2013 to market properties, is linked to a Salford-based company called Fresh Start Living. In 2011, Mr Cunningham was brought in as the face of FSL, but the firm went bankrupt in 2013 with debts of more than £2 million.

    Mr Cunningham, whose ancestors include baronets and a Founding Father of the American constitution, has a social media profile showing that he is Facebook friends with Ben Vestey, a close friend of Prince William, and Edward Guinness, a scion of the brewing family.

    In April 2016, Mr Cunningham bought a large Georgian country house in North Wales for more than a million pounds. It has played host to visiting literary giants Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott. Mr Cunningham told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The freezing order is a cynical abuse of power. DS7 categorically refutes all claims and allegations made by Louise Brittain and it will challenge the injunction and debunk any allegations with the very facts and evidence that they have deliberately withheld.’

    In the court papers, the liquidator states that ALD would take 50 per cent of the purchase price usually before the company had even bought the property. Investors complain that the properties were never actually completed.

    Mr Cunningham admitted that some had not been finished, but blamed a group of Malaysian businessmen who he claimed were the ultimate owners of ALD.

    Source: Adam Luck – Mail on Sunday

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    Does not look good for this development. It is currently subject to a freezing injunction: HC-2017-002742. Absolute Living Developments Limited (Claimant), v. DS7 Limited and others​

    https://bit.ly/2ETyaPc

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    Historic Rotherham building wrapped up in legal claim:

    Progress on converting the historic Howard Building in Rotherham town centre looks unlikely anytime soon after a court injunction was granted that prevents its sale.

    A tangled web of development and investment companies, and their directors, has been served with a freezing injunction with liquidator, Louise Brittain, alleging that money from investors has been wrongfully diverted to a number of companies.

    The assets have been frozen as the liquidator of Absolute Living Developments hunts to recover money for investors and creditors left out of pocket when schemes failed to be completed, or in some cases, even started.

    https://bit.ly/2IWpL02

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