SFO launches Harlequin investigation


The Serious Fraud Office has begun an investigation into unregulated overseas property firm Harlequin Property.

The SFO and Essex Police are looking into complaints relating to the Harlequin group, which marketed and built luxury off-plan property developments.

Investors have been asked to complete an online questionnaire if they invested in the following resorts: Buccament Bay in St Vincent & the Grenadines; Merricks in Barbados; Marquis Estate in St Lucia; The Hideaway in the Dominican Republic; Las Canas in the Dominican Republic; Two Rivers in the Dominican Republic and Garapua Beach Resort in Brazil.

The FSA wrote to Sipp operators earlier this month requesting information on members who invested in Harlequin, and issued an alert in January warning advisers to carry out due diligence on the Harlequin developments.

Essential IFA managing director Peter Herd says: “This action is long overdue. I was among the firms that reported my concerns about Harlequin to the FSA six years ago so will be furious if claims fall on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.”