Tony Hetherington is Monetary Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, preventing readers corners, revealing the reality that lies behind closed doorways and successful victories for individuals who have been left out-of-pocket. Learn how to contact him under.
D.P. writes: I’m wondering in the event you might help, as I’m going through a delayed redemption of my funding bond, issued by Leonreed Restricted, which additionally calls itself Leonne Worldwide.
Tony Hetherington replies: In 2020, you invested £20,000 in mortgage notes issued by Leonreed, the corporate behind Leonne Worldwide. You have been promised curiosity at 12 per cent a 12 months, and redemption of your funding in July 2021. Effectively, July 2021 arrived however your cash by no means did.
And precisely the place your cash went is unexplained. Leonne Worldwide is a weird enterprise, headed by a weird character, Michael Haston, who has additionally used the title Michael McQueen.
Misplaced in area: Leonreed, headed by Michael Haston, mentioned it put £2million right into a satellite tv for pc agency
It claims to be ‘a number one multinational personal fairness agency’, and its detailed brochure boasts: ‘The group at Leonne Worldwide is skilled in proactively figuring out, concentrating on and buying worthwhile companies the place worth may be added via enhancing efficiency with the availability of long-term capital and working help to the administration groups.’ Nice phrases, however empty phrases. It claims to have 12 places of work unfold throughout six continents, with investments in healthcare, the media, and monetary companies.
It says it’s in partnership with world-league corporations together with Goldman Sachs, KPMG and JPMorgan. But the one accounts the corporate has ever produced present that it doesn’t have a single worker.
In reality, Leonreed has didn’t file accounts for 2021 that have been legally due in June this 12 months. On August 30, officers at Corporations Home started proceedings to have the corporate struck off, however simply over every week in the past, on September 30, they suspended motion briefly. This typically implies that a creditor has requested for a corporation to be stored alive so it may be sued, or that an investigation has begun.
On the time you invested with Leonne Worldwide, the corporate had introduced that it was pouring greater than £2million into a very separate enterprise that was planning to construct a rocket launching web site in Shetland.
The Shetland House Centre is run by SaxaVord UK Spaceport, headquartered in Grantown-on-Spey, south of Inverness, and the funding would have given Leonne a 20 per cent stake within the undertaking, which was to supply launch services for industrial satellites.
On the time, the area undertaking’s chief govt Frank Strang mentioned he was ‘delighted to have Leonne Worldwide as a associate’. Relations have clearly soured since then. They can not have been helped by a warning issued by the Monetary Conduct Authority in March 2020 – simply weeks after you invested – stating that Leonne was not authorised to supply investments or different monetary merchandise, and telling potential buyers to be cautious.
Frank Strang instructed me: ‘SaxaVord UK Spaceport doesn’t have hyperlinks with Michael Haston or any of his firms. SaxaVord UK Spaceport just isn’t concerned in or aware about the preparations between Michael Haston (and any of his firms) and his or their buyers, whether or not in relation to company bonds or in any other case.’
He declined to say whether or not the promised £2million had ever reached his firm within the first place, however he has mentioned that any funds that arrived have been repaid and that Leonne has no stake within the Spaceport scheme. And which means that all questions now land on the door of Michael Haston.
I requested him to clarify why you had not been repaid when your mortgage notice matured final 12 months. I additionally requested him to verify that nonetheless a lot he did put money into the Spaceport undertaking had since been refunded. And I requested for particulars to again up his brochure’s claims about stakes in main companies. Haston instructed me he was comfortable to debate every part I had requested.
He mentioned: ‘We’ve got performed some implausible issues right here at Leonne and can proceed to take action.’ And he added: ‘Let me understand how you wish to proceed as I’m positive you’re conscious that I’ll pursue legally any inaccurate or deceptive info.’
I provided Haston 5 separate occasions and days after we might communicate. He mentioned he would e mail the solutions to my questions. When no solutions arrived, Haston instructed me he had been ‘extraordinarily busy’ however was reviewing what you had instructed me about your mortgage notice.
Lastly, greater than a month in the past, Haston promised: ‘I am going to have the required questions and the place on Mr P emailed throughout to you by early subsequent week.’ In fact, he did not, and he has stayed silent since then. Haston isn’t any stranger to dodgy firm dealings and failed corporations. Final 12 months, two administration consultancy firms he headed have been compulsorily struck off by Corporations Home, together with two monetary administration companies.
And in 2017, Haston was charged with fraud, although proceedings have been later dropped, with the authorities asserting: ‘The Crown reserves the precise to proceed sooner or later ought to additional proof grow to be obtainable.’
Within the absence of any solutions from Haston, large query marks grasp over the claims in his funding brochure. The questions I put to him should now be repeated, whether or not by the Insolvency Service, the FCA, and even the police. He shouldn’t be allowed to stroll away from this.
It price me £60…to speak to Sky!
E.S. writes: I contacted Sky TV to amend my contract. I used to be on maintain for over an hour and to my horror, I discovered I used to be charged practically £60.
I contacted the telephone firm O2, who mentioned Sky set the costs. Sky provided me Tesco vouchers, which I refused as I paid in kilos, not Tesco vouchers.
We’re over 70, on a set revenue, and this quantity is every week’s looking for us.
Overcharged: Sky seems to have stored an outdated costly premium charge quantity in use
Tony Hetherington replies: I spoke to O2, which instructed me you had referred to as 0844 241 4141, an costly premium charge quantity operated by Sky. To its credit score, O2 even mentioned that if Sky didn’t repay you, then O2 would.
There’s some disagreement over who income from the costs. What is obvious is that that is an outdated quantity that Sky seems to have stored in use, whereas on the similar time changing it with a less expensive service.
Sky instructed me: ‘As a gesture of goodwill, we’ve got refunded the costs.’
In case you imagine you’re the sufferer of economic wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Monetary Mail, 2 Derry Road, London W8 5TS or e mail email@example.com. Due to the excessive quantity of enquiries, private replies can’t be given. Please ship solely copies of unique paperwork, which we remorse can’t be returned.
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