We Review London European Securities Ltd For A Second Time

A few days ago our hosting service received a false copyright claim from a Mr Abdul Halim Al Ghazi. He claimed that an article we wrote on 4th February 2020 titled “We Review London European Securities’ unregulated bonds paying 5.5% per year” was a copy of his original work and requested its removal.

We know that article was written by our staff so when something like this happens it normally means that the company involved is planning to raise more money or is in trouble and wants to remove negative articles. We don’t know the current financial position of London European Securities Ltd, but it would be sensible for its investors to check for themselves and take steps to protect their investments.

In order to prove to a hosting company that he wrote the article Mr Abdul Halim Al Ghazi has to point the hosting company to what he claims is his original article. This means it is still visible. Therefore, we have no problem pointing anyone interested in the original article to the webpage – LINK. To be honest, Mr Al Ghazi was not expecting this so we now have two articles instead of one. His article (which is a copy of our original article) and this one. That’s called shooting yourself in the foot.

If you intend to read the original article we recommend you do it as soon as possible because we doubt that Mr Al Ghazi will leave it up for long.

So, now we find ourselves reviewing London European Securities Ltd for a second time.

The original investment offer contained differing investment returns. A facebook post claimed the returns started at 4.9% whereas the promotional material quoted returns of 5.5%. The returns were described as “secure and protected”. Quite a few of Martin Young’s former companies have ended up in an insolvency process.

Corporate bonds are now regulated by the FCA in the UK. The funds raised by London European Securities are used for commercial lending. That must be difficult in this current climate with borrowers struggling to recover after two years of Covid and now the war in Ukraine. Investors will be hoping Martin Young is up to the task.

Asset-backed loans are not secure because if the company goes into administration or liquidation there is no guarantee that the asset values will be sufficient to refund investors. This risk applies to any loan note even when it claims to be “secured”.

As with any individual loan note to a small unlisted company, this investment is only suitable for sophisticated and/or high net worth investors who have a substantial existing portfolio and are prepared to risk 100% loss of their money. Investors should seek professional legal and financial advice before considering an investment in loan notes or corporate loans. 

Before investing investors should ask themselves if they have a sufficiently large portfolio that the loss of 100% of their investment would not damage them financially?

Moorwand and the UPayCard Scam

Earlier this week Safe Or Scam published an article on UPayCard – LINK and the involvement of FCA-regulated company Moorwand Ltd.

Without repeating the entire article the key points were:

  1. Moorwand Ltd used to be called UPayCard Ltd;

2. UPayCard Ltd provided money collection services for at least one binary option scam (commonly known as money mule services), which is of course illegal;

3. Moorwand confirmed that it was still associated with UPayCard at the time of the offences because it was allowing UPayCard to operate under its licence’

4. Moorwand declined to identify the company, person or persons, who it had transferred the UPayCard business to, and would not give a straightforward answer regarding whether or not it owned the bank account which was being used in the scam.

Remember – this is a FCA-regulated company which is supposed to operate to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Moorwand would not say anything about who was operating the UPayCard account under their licence for two years, but was weirdly willing to offer up information that UPayCard was transferred to a Cypriot company two years later and had now ceased all operations. Quite why Moorwand felt that was relevant is unclear, especially when they are so secretive about the first two years’ ownership which is when the binary option scam was using UPayCard to launder the proceeds of crime. Perhaps it was an attempt to warn investors that they’re wasting their time trying to get their money back because the scammers have closed off their options by transferring to Cyprus and then ceasing operations. But investors can still hold Moorwand to account because the offences occurred on their watch.

We know of at least one investor who paid into the UPayCard money mule scam and is taking action through the FCA and the FOS. The investor has also reported the matter to Action Fraud.

Safe Or Scam’s article alludes to there being further concerns about the activities of Moorwand and UPayCard. It has promised a second report next week.

Anyone who paid money to UPayCard from 2017 onwards is recommended to report the matter to the FCA and to Action Fraud.

 

Car Insurance Scam – Fake Brokers

Last week the BBC ran this article on their website – Ghost Broking: Young and vulnerable people targeted by insurance scam – LINK. 

The gist of the article is that scammers pose as middlemen for insurance companies.  They claim to be able to arrange cheap car insurance for those struggling to get affordable cover. They might advertise on student websites or WhatsApp or social media. They might actually arrange the insurance, but then cancel it without the insured person’s knowledge. This means the money is returned to the scammer and the victim is left uninsured. The victim may never know unless they are involved in an accident or pulled over by the Police for some reason.

So what can you do ?

You can warn friends and family to watch out for these kinds of scams. When you come across one you can report it on social media and encourage others to spread the news to get any scam accounts blocked. You can report it to Action Fraud.

Life is hard enough without having to wonder whether every text or email might be a scam. Unfortunately that is today’s modern world and the best advice we can give is to treat every text or email you receive as a potential scam. Don’t pay just because you receive a text from an organisation you recognise. Scammers are very good at copying the branding of any organisation or government department.

 

Social Media Scammers Target Under-35’s via Whatsapp

In case you missed it, the BBC published a very good report into how scammers use Whatsapp and social media to contact younger members of the public to con them into transferring money.

The report can be viewed on this LINK to the BBC article.

It’s very difficult for anyone to know whether any contact is genuine because scammers use email, whatsapp, text messages amongst others and they pretend to be the tax office, insolvency firms, insurance companies etc. The best policy is if in doubt contact someone you trust or a citizens advice website and ask them to look at it. Do not contact any email or phone number given to you in the communication because the scammers are very good at putting their victims at ease. Their documentation is also very professional and designed to mimic genuine documents issued by genuine authorities.

Check it out before you part with any money.

 

Ward & Co Insolvency Fraud

A report has been published on the Safe Or Scam website regarding a fake insolvency firm which operates using the domain name of wardinsolvencyservices.com.

The domain was purchased in March 2022 and these scammers have been contacting High Street Group victims in an attempt to persuade them to hand over more cash as an “insurance payment” so they can receive a non-existent payment out of the insolvency. It’s a scam.

They may have started targetting High Street GRP victims, but it will not be long until they expand into contacting victims who have lost money in other scams.  The website looks very credible and professional because it has copied pages from genuine websites such as the ACL Consultancy website – LINK.  ACL Consultancy is a genuine FCA-regulated claims management company which is handling claims on behalf of High Street GRP investors.  They have reported this matter to the Financial Conduct Authority.

Ward & Co is not a licensed insolvency practitioner company and never has been.  Genuine insolvency practitioners NEVER charge creditors for receiving a distribution from the insolvent company.

It is important that you never pay any money to any party claiming to be an insolvency firm, or claiming to be representing an insolvency firm, in order to receive a distribution. 

To view the full Safe Or Scam article click on this LINK.

 

Green Swan Holding Bond and Simon Whittley-Ryan

An article has been published on the Safe Or Scam website raising due diligence concerns and deliberate non-disclosure in attempts to raise $250m for a Green Swan Holding Bond.

An informant provided information that the Managing Director, and until very recently the 100% shareholder of Green Swan Holding Ltd, was acting as a front man for Simon Whittley-Ryan and that it was Simon Whittley-Ryan who owned and controlled the bond. The informant called the Managing Director, Andre Schut, a ‘window director’.

The reason why this is a concern is because Simon Whittley-Ryan has a history of failed companies behind him. When those companies have collapsed he has then failed to co-operate with the insolvency firms making it very difficult for them to trace where the investors’ money ended up.

The key points from the article are:

  1. Simon Whittley-Ryan has defaulted on interest and dividend payments for five companies. Four of them are in liquidation and he has not been co-operating with any of the insolvency firms. He also tried to persuade investors he had an operational Covid-19 research company at the height of the pandemic into which he was seeking investment. That was a scam.
  2. Two of his companies claimed to have cast-iron insurance policies to protect investors’ money. When the companies collapsed the insurance companies refused to pay out citing, in the case of Win River Ltd, the company made deliberate and/or reckless material non-disclosures and/or misrepresentations to the Insurance Company when the WRL policy was negotiated and agreed.  These related to Mr Simon Whittley-Ryan’s background and involvement in previous investment schemes”.
  3. Simon Whittley-Ryan is involved in court proceedings brought by one of the insolvency firms to force him to handover the records of the company which he has refused to do for two and a half years.
  4. Andre Schut of Green Swan also has a chequered financial history. The informant claims that he is owed millions by Andre Schut.
  5. Emails sent by Simon Whittley-Ryan to banks, prospective insurers and others involved in the bond show that he uses two names – Simon Ryan and Simon Whittley. He uses Simon Ryan with a Green Swan email domain and his emails are copied to Andre Schut’s Green Swan email address which suggests that Andre Schut is a collaborator in the deception.
  6. The informant claims to be aware of a Swiss bank account under the control of Simon Whittley-Ryan which the informant claims is money that belongs to UK creditors and has been hidden from them.

The article questions whether anyone can rely on insurance negotiated by Simon Whittley-Ryan or Andre Schut. If they have failed to disclose material facts then the insurance company will not pay out. It suggests some extra measures a potential buyer might want to consider such as personal guarantees from the directors.

Simon Whittley-Ryan has realised that his ability to take money from members of the public has been irreparably damaged and he is now using a fake name and hoping that institutional investors won’t pick up on his background in their due diligence process.

The full article can be viewed on this LINK.

 

Essex and London Properties Trial Ends With 5 Guilty Verdicts

The trial of seven men involved in the Essex and London Properties scam has ended. One man pled guilty, four men were found guilty by the jury and two men were acquitted. The case was investigated and brought to court by Essex Police.

The Essex and London Properties scam persuaded ordinary investors to become limited partners in a Scottish Limited Partnership. In effect, investors were giving loans to the company at 10% annual interest. The money was supposed to be invested in UK property. More than £13m was taken in and only one property valued at around £150k was purchased. The rest of the money was stolen.

The five men who were found guilty were

MOHAMMED TANVEER

ABDUL MUKITH

FLORIAN PIERINI

MOHAMMAD HUSSAIN

JEFFREY RAZAQ

Most of these men have also been linked to other scams. The two who were acquitted were Mitchell Mallin (the company director) and Anthony Whymark (a sales agent who owned Apex Alternatives).

The five men who were convicted will be sentenced at the end of July. For a more detailed report visit this article on the Safe Or Scam blog page.

LXK Inc and Bank Of China Follow-On-Fraud – Scam Alert

A Scam Alert article has been posted on the Safe Or Scam website warning investors of a follow-on-fraud involving shares in LXK Inc.

In brief, scam sales agents (one of which was called Wellington Capital Group) sold fake shares in LXK Inc. That scam has run out of steam so they have moved into the recovery room phase which is to approach the victims and claim that their shares have been sold and a full refund is being held for them. It will be released if the investor pays the release fee.

The organisation which is overseeing these transactions is claimed to be the Bank Of China. The LXK Inc scam was originally marketed very heavily in Asia so it is no surprise to see them name-dropping Bank Of China in this follow-on-fraud.

Safe Or Scam has seen a lot of follow-on-frauds where Bank Of China is claimed to be involved in some way. For the avoidance of doubt, Bank Of China is definitely not involved.  It is a scam.

The documents that the scammers are using are very professional. The story they have put together is believable to most ordinary people. This follow-on-fraud was not put together by a couple of low-level idiots. This has all the hallmarks of an organised criminal gang operating a large call centre staffed by their own salespeople.

The full article, which includes the documents these scammers are using, can be viewed on this link to the Safe Or Scam article.

 

 

 

High Street Group loses second auditor in a year, still 18 months behind with accounts

This article below was written by the previous owner of bondreview in April 2021. It is being published because now that High Street GRP Ltd is in administration it will be interesting to see whether or not the prophecies came true. This article is 12 months old so it will obviously have been overtaken by events later in 2021.

Safe Or Scam has written two articles on the High Street GRP Ltd administration on its blog page

Lady Bracknell: Now, to minor matters. Are both your parents living?

Jack: I have lost both my parents.

Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

High Street Group has lost a second auditor in the space of a year.

A filing with Companies House indicates that Haines Watts, who signed off the December 2018 accounts for holding company High Street Grp, have resigned as auditors.

Big Four juggernaut PWC had previously resigned as auditors in September 2020.

Before resigning, Haines Watts did manage to sign off the December 2018 accounts for the holding company High Street Grp Ltd. The accounts, as reviewed here, revealed that HSGrp would have made a loss of £24.5 million in 2018, had it not dumped High Street Commercial Finance, which raised money from bondholders, out of the group and into the personal ownership of HSG owner Gary Forrest. Haines Watts however objected to this move, on the basis that this booting out actually took place on 2 January 2019, and issued an “Adverse Opinion”, the strongest black mark available to an auditor.

Whether this has anything to do with Haines Watts’ subsequent removal as auditors is unknown.

HSG’s second auditor resignation in a year leaves a considerable amount of work undone. High Street Group remains a whole year and a half overdue with the December 2018 accounts for High Street Commercial Finance, which previously raised money from its bondholders; it has also been overdue with its December 2019 accounts since last year. The High Street Grp holding company remains overdue with its December 2019 accounts.

In my original review of January 2018, I noted that:

The investment literature claims that the group made 26 million profit in 2016 and has 100 employees. This is curious, because that level of profit and workforce would require the group to file full accounts with Companies House, yet High Street Grp Ltd’s last accounts (30 December 2016) were filed under the small company regime. This means the accounts did not have to be audited or display a profit and loss statement.

High Street Group’s subsequently posted accounts for 2017 and 2018 did appear to qualify for small company exemptions thanks to its losses and negative net assets. The issue is with the claim in the literature that it had a profit of £26 million in 2016. (Which is neither confirmed nor contradicted by the relevant accounts filed with Companies House, due to the profit and loss account being withheld under small company exemptions.)

High Street Group, via their lawyers, have twice vehemently contested my joining of the dots, claiming that I had defamed them by doing so. Yet they have never attempted to explain the discrepancy between a) the results claimed in its literature b) its claiming of small company exemptions, despite me asking them directly.

High Street GRP Ltd – News

High Street Group logo

When Safe Or Scam took over the bondreview site there was one condition. We had to agree not to publish any articles about High Street GRP or any of its subsidiaries on this site.

We won’t go into the reasons because it was before our time, it’s none of our business and we aren’t particularly interested in what happened previously. We agreed because that was the deal, but now that High Street GRP is in administration we will re-publish the articles which were published by the original owner.

They’ll be out of date of course because things have moved on. We recommend that anyone interested in High Street GRP Ltd or any of the High Street Group subsidiary companies, of which there are around 100, visit the Safe Or Scam blog page because we refused to allow Safe Or Scam to be subject to the same gagging deal which prevented bondreview from publishing articles. We agreed that we would honour the bondreview agreement for this website, but Safe Or Scam will never be gagged.

If you want to make comments on articles then bondreview is the place to make them. The Safe Or Scam site allows comments, but it’s not really what we do. We like to focus on investigations, scam alerts and recovery actions.

Here’s a link to a Safe Or Scam article about the HSG administration published on 23rd March 2022.

It’s worth a read because the administration is a lesson in misdirection and non-disclosure. Another article was published on 24th March 2022 as more things came to light.

Over the next few days we will re-publish those original HSG articles on this site and they will be open for comment.