Harlequin Property, the troubled UK-based overseas property sales agent which is at the centre of a Serious Fraud Office investigation, is embroiled in 15 legal battles in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, IFAonline can reveal.
A document obtained by IFAonline from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines High Court dated 6 March 2013 outlines a string of cases in the process of being brought against Harlequin, its chairman David Ames, and the group's resorts in the Caribbean including Buccament Bay and Merricks.
The dates of the cases being heard at the court range from 6 March to 6 June this year, and are being brought by a range of different claimants.
These latest litigations only add to Harlequin's legal woes - the company is already embroiled in court battles in the UK and Ireland.
One UK case involves Harlequin suing their ex-accountant Jeremy Newman, formerly of Wilkins Kennedy, for defamation after Newman set up a website called Harlecon in which he alleged Harlequin was a Ponzi scheme. Harlequin denies the allegation.
In another case filed in the UK High Court last month Ames and his wife Carol were served with an order freezing their assets up to £1.1m, brought by a group of 13 disgruntled Harlequin investors.
The Irish case relates to the Buccament Bay resort and in which Harlequin is pursuing compensation for an alleged breach of fiduciary duty against a former contractor, who Harlequin claims diverted £8.5m meant for the resort to himself.
A statement from Harlequin about the court listings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said: "The majority of cases listed involve purchasers of our properties.
"Harlequin has always agreed refunds in circumstances where purchasers are entitled to them. In circumstances where purchasers make exaggerated claims beyond what they are legitimately entitled to and an amicable solution cannot be agreed, Harlequin will defend these claims. However, good progress has been made in resolving the outstanding issues.
"Harlequin adopts the same approach with service providers who attempt to take advantage of Harlequin and its investors by submitting exaggerated invoices, as is the case with one of the other matters appearing on the list.
"Harlequin has a duty to question and challenge these figures. This will occasionally result in recourse to the courts. Harlequin has acted consistently in this regard and will continue to ensure that the interests of Harlequin investors are protected against those who seek to demand more than they are entitled to."
A spokesperson for Regulatory Legal, which acts on behalf of 1,100 unhappy Harlequin investors, said: "The court listing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines shows an increase in litigation against Mr Ames and Harlequin.
"This increased court activity is not a good thing for Harlequin, particularly as they are seeking to restructure. It is hardly confidence boosting."
IFAonline revealed this week that the group of 1,100 Harlequin investors represented by Regulatory Legal is proposing to make an offer to Ames to put the troubled overseas property company's assets in a trust while a managed wind down of the business is achieved.
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