SFO charges Harlequin boss with fraud

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The Serious Fraud Office has charged Harlequin Group chairman David Ames with fraud.

The SFO has been carrying out a joint investigation with Essex Police into collapsed property firm Harlequin since 2013.

It has announced today it is charging Ames with three counts of fraud by abuse of position. Ames has been summoned to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22 March.

The SFO says the alleged activity took place between January 2010 and June 2015.

The Harlequin group of companies marketed and built overseas luxury property developments, with some clients investing in the developments through their Sipps. Harlequin Property, one of the firms under the umbrella Harlequin brand, went into administration in 2013.

The SFO’s investigation into Harlequin remains ongoing.

The organisation says for clients advised to invest in Harlequin via a Sipp, where their advice firms is no longer trading they may be eligible for redress from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.