In February 2017, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged David Ames with three counts of fraud by abuse of position relating to an unregulated property scheme based on luxury villas in the Caribbean and other exotic locations.
Speaking to International Adviser at the time, Ames “vehemently” denied any wrongdoing.
Harlequin Property SVG (St Vincent and the Grenadines) entered insolvency proceedings in October 2016.
Thousands of, mostly, British pensioners invested around £400m ($526m, €454m) into the unregulated scheme via UK financial advisers, which offered guaranteed returns of 10% from luxury villas.
In September, clients of UK advisers who claim they were mis-sold the collapsed investment were told they may be eligible for financial redress from the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS said it had reviewed the situation and because the investment vehicles through which Harlequin property investments were sold were likely to be unregulated collective investment schemes (Ucis), claims for bad investment advice would fall under its remit.