SVG

Eustace denies writing UK’s Serious Fraud Office

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace (File photo).

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 5, IWN — Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has denied asking Britain’s Serious Fraud Office to investigate Harlequin Property, as the company’s chairman, Dave Ames, claimed in a letter to investors last week.

“That’s a lie,” Eustace said on his weekly radio programme on Monday.

“I have not written to anybody. It’s the investors [who] have written their lawyers and asked them to do that in England,” Eustace further said.

“That is not me; I can’t do that. … These people invested … millions of pounds and they can’t see anything for it and they want back their money,” the former prime minister said.

Eustace noted that investors in Harlequin, about which the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority has issued an alert, are mostly pensioners.

Harlequin says it specialises in luxury five star resorts in some of the best locations in the Caribbean.

It offers property investors the opportunity to buy overseas properties, ranging from studio apartments to six bedroom luxury villas, off-plan at well below market value. The properties are freehold and offer excellent potential for high capital appreciation and an annual rental income, the company says.

But Eustace says that while pensioners have invested their money, “there is no building for them to see, no room for them to go to.

“What that has to do with me,” he said of the efforts in the U.K. to freeze Harlequin’s assets.

“I [am] getting them (investors) to get a case? I don’t know them. But you are trying to fool people here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ‘Oh, it’s Eustace fault.’ The fault is that they did not build for the people what they were supposed to build and people want back their money and they are taking legal action to get back their money,” Eustace said.

Eustace further said that most of the comments he makes about Harlequin, which owns the Buccament Bay Resort here, has to do with the money the company owns Vincentians.

“The workers, farmers and small contractors, those are who I spoke about and will continue to speak about. I want them to get their money,” Eustace said.

Investor Dave Ames. (Internet photo)

Investor Dave Ames. (Internet photo)

“I can’t bring a case against Buccama or tell the United Kingdom fraud squad what to do. I can’t tell our fraud squad here anything, far less the UK.

“They must be think Vincentians are fools or something. I want people to understand that people in other parts of the world and here in St. Vincent have lost millions of dollars because of this exercise that is going on here with Harlequin.

“And people are seeking every means to get back their money. And if it means closing down Harlequin, that is what they are going to do. That has nothing to do with me, either the New Democratic Party,” Eustace further said.

Ames, in his letter last week, said the SFO had not contacted Harlequin as part of any investigation, and blamed Eustace for the allegation.

“It is an attempt to embroil Harlequin in local politics and is driven by those seeking to harm Harlequin. As far as Harlequin is concerned, there is no reason why the SFO would or should be looking at the company. However, in the event that the SFO wishes to discuss these matters with Harlequin, Harlequin will be happy to do so,” Ames further said.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Eustace denies writing UK’s Serious Fraud Office

  1. Mr Eustace,please be more patriotic.i think you should say lets hope that something is worked out ,instead of giving the impression you dont care if the resort closes..More than half your supporter are employ down there,so you are not showing any concern for there well being.im not surprised anyway.As long as your party mash up Saint Vincent and blame it on RALPH.,that what you want so you can win the next elections..but we have an education revolution..we are wiser now.

    Posted by Phillip Charles | March 5, 2013, 23:04
  2. PHILLIP CHARLES, have you been sleeping for the last few years? or are you simply stupid. The people who have called in the serious fraud squad in the UK are the 1000’s of peopl;e who have invested their life savings and retirement pension funds, on the promise of an investment return on their money better than traditional investments.

    Out of seven investment locations on different Caribbean islands only one has been partially built, that is the Buccament project. The investors all have contracts which Harlequin are in gross breach of, completion time for most of the locations is long past. Investors have asked for their money back without success. Those investors who have financed their investment through a third party institution were promised that their payments would be made for them, they are not being paid by Harlequin as promised. Investers are therefore being sued by mortage and lender groups.

    Harlequin owe huge sums of money’s to Vincentian suppliers, tradesmen, farmers and equipment plant and machinery providers. Some have been owed money for many months and even years. Many of the resort employees have not been paid since November/December.

    Of course its Gonsalves fault, he took this project on as a personal project, took it under his wing, wanted to claim the glory. It is alleged that he failed to make a proper due diligence test on the Harlequin players, Ames has been involved in at least two past bankruptcies, the Buccament project was their first project. To make SVG look worse Eloise Gonsalves, wife of the PM got paid an enormous sum of money shortly after her husband signed the deal, paid by Harlequin for interior design on three studio apartments.
    Now a witness and person employed by Ames has told a BBC program maker that a bag of money was taken to Gonsalves office. That is an allegation by an ex-employee who claims to be a witness of the whole matter. Of course until proven otherwise Gonsalves must be assumed innocent of any crime.

    If Eustace did play any part in the bringing down this group of people, he should be applauded as an honest man with integrity. But I know he took no part in that, its the people who have lost their money, who may even end up losing their main residences in the UK, to satisfy lenders demands on their guarantees.

    Now PHILLIP CHARLES, its time for you to accept that this is not a matter of RALPH bashing as you imply, its much more serious than that. Get real man.

    Posted by peterbinose | March 6, 2013, 07:54
  3. PHILLIP CHARLES, as for your statement “we have an education revolution..we are wiser now” obviously your not wiser. In fact looking at the ULP supporters of Gonsalves, there are more idiots to the sqare mile than anywhere else in the World. If these are a product of the education revolution as you infer, God knows how stupid they were previously. Or perhaps the sheer stupidity of people like you is evidence of the failure of the education revolution.

    Posted by peterbinose | March 6, 2013, 08:03
  4. I just found this powerful statement in an article at Barbados Free Press, discussing Harlequin “guilty governments were like executioners leading foreign investors up the scaffold. This wasn’t just ‘wilful blindness’, it was out and out betrayal of foreign investors”.

    Posted by peterbinose | March 6, 2013, 08:42

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