Fraudulent investments?

in Savings & Investments
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  • Invested with MUNIO 13-1 2017
    Last letter /contact from MUNIO 28-3-2018.
    Since then NOTHING. No emails,No replies, No letters,No Info. No phone calls.
    I would be greatfull for any Info in regard to this investment
    Graham Vodden .
  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    Invested with MUNIO 13-1 2017
    Last letter /contact from MUNIO 28-3-2018.
    Since then NOTHING. No emails,No replies, No letters,No Info. No phone calls.
    I would be greatfull for any Info in regard to this investment
    Graham Vodden .

    I am afraid your money is almost certainly gone.

    Were you advised to invest by an FCA-regulated adviser?
  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
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    Graham Vodden sorry to hear you are going through this too, it's a horrible situation. I'm afraid I can't give you any advice as we have yet to hear from munio aswell. Although I see on companies house they were going to have a compulsory strike off which has now been discontinued. As far as i can see this is because they provided a vaild reason why it shouldn't happen but maybe someone can correct me on that. I do think how you deal with this depends on how you invested, was it through a financial adviser or was it some other way? I wish you all the luck and hopefully every victim of this will get justice and eventually their money back.
  • Thanks MALTHUSIAN and M . ELLIOTT for your input.No I did my own assessment of the investment
    memorandum and every thing seemed ok .I invested through a reliable introducer and as the memorandum
    stated that there was a added insurance cover of 95% if there was a problem I invested .I am just wondering if it's time to bring in the fraud police and a solicitor .
  • ReaperReaper Forumite
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    Unlike the OP who invested through a registered IFA you went direct which means you are in a weak position. You assessed the investment yourself and made your own decision to invest using a "reliable introducer" in your words - though I suspect more likely just a commission based salesman.

    Presumably you felt the investment strategy was robust enough and the insurance offer sufficiently asset backed and independent enough to go "off piste" and put your money into an unregulated investment.

    Since you made those decisions yourself you have little to fall back on when it does not work out. You can try to sue the company if you believe there has been fraud but it will be fruitless unless they have assets with which to repay you. Given they were on the brink of being struck off and their accounts are overdue (existing accounts filed only go up to July 2016) my hunch is they don't have much.

    It's too late for this one but I suggest you stick to regulated investments if you prefer to make your own investment decisions.
  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    I invested through a reliable introducer

    Evidently not. What made them seem reliable - have they sold you any other investments?
    I am just wondering if it's time to bring in the fraud police and a solicitor .
    If you contact Action Fraud you will need some evidence that fraud actually took place. A business collapsing and defaulting on its loans is not fraud.

    Beware of throwing good money after bad. Even if you successfully won in court against your introducer, it won't do much good if they don't have the money to pay redress.

    If someone approaches you saying they can get your money back it is almost certainly a scam.
    M.Elliott wrote: »
    Although I see on companies house they were going to have a compulsory strike off which has now been discontinued. As far as i can see this is because they provided a vaild reason why it shouldn't happen but maybe someone can correct me on that.

    It's more likely to have been a creditor, possibly HMRC. Munio is AWOL according to Graham and it is very doubtful its directors have bothered to contact Companies House themselves. If the company is struck off due to failing to file its accounts the Government takes all assets, if it remains the creditors can call in the liquidators. Whether a liquidation would result in any recoveries for creditors is doubtful, but arguably better than no chance at all.

    As Munio is still overdue with its accounts, Companies House will eventually start the strike-off process again, and in theory it could bring a criminal prosecution against the directors, but that is vanishingly rare.
  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
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    Graham, in my parents case they were told their munio money was being invested into privilege wealth. Was the case with you also and if so are you aware that privilege wealth are now in administration? I don't even think it went into privilege wealth as in the administrators report into the breakdown of where funds came from, munio is mentioned no where. Just curious, did you meet either of the directors of munio directly or speak to them before you made your investment? In reality your money and my parents money from munio is gone in one big scam. My parents have hope of some recovery as their investment was through a financial adviser so there is action can be taken from that. Hope karma exists and everyone involved in this scam will be caught and made to pay. Good luck whatever you do.
  • What exactly is Helix Investment Management?

    Is it the same as Helix Capital Investment? Their website shows a Youtube video that appears to use Russian (or Greek?) writing.
    I find this video confusing. The woman's voice is foreign, European maybe?

    Then there is Helix 'SLP' in Luxemburg - which appears to be slightly separate branch of the company and is involved in the court dispute.

    The website gives an address in Eastbourne, but the website uses US spelling and refers to USD investments.

    The UK website states it is authorised and regulated by Companies House - rather than the FCA?
    Helix Investments Ltd is indeed REGISTERED with Companies House at the Eastbourne address, with British directors.

    The contact number appears to be a mobile phone number - which doesn't show up much else when Googled.

    It also states it has a 'Financial Services Licence'. Is there such a thing in the UK? That seems to be an Australian term.

    So what is Helix? The website refers to fund managers - so is it an OEIC? or an Investment Trust? Financial advisors?

    And if you take a look at the FAQ section on the website, it is a pdf document (full of gramatical errors) - that refers to Australian brokers.

    Please excuse my ignorance, I know little about financial services. I'm not alleging anything wrong with this company, but it's just not clear to me where they fit in the financial services setup.

    Michael.
    Selling off the UK's gold reserves at USD 276 per ounce was a really good idea, which I will not citicise in any way.
  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    The UK website states it is authorised and regulated by Companies House - rather than the FCA?

    Misleading to the point of being a lie. Companies House does not regulate companies in anything like the same way that the FCA regulates financial services compensation. As you say, it registers them and checks they file accounts and other statutory documents on time. That's about it.

    "Authorised and regulated by the FCA" is a standard boilerplate you will see on the website or letterhead of almost any FCA-regulated company. The phrase "Authorised and regulated by Companies House" is clearly intended to imply something similar. It does not.

    Anyone in the world, no matter how dodgy, can register a company with Companies House for two tokens off the back of a cornflake packet (unless they have managed to get banned as a director). Anyone who announces that they are registered with Companies House as if it confers legitimacy should be treated with extreme caution. It is far more likely to do the opposite. (Being registered with Companies House does not make you dodgy. Proudly advertising that you are registered with Companies House makes you very dodgy.)

    The administrator's report from the administrator of Privilege Wealth refers to Helix in full as "Helix Investment Management SPA". This suggests that this SPA company should be at least a fairly important shell company, if not the overall holding company. However a Google for the exact phrase "Helix Investment Management SPA" produced no results. A search on opencorporates.com turned up nothing either. So where this company is supposedly located is anyone's guess. SPA is usually the Italian equivalent of a PLC (società per azioni).
    Please excuse my ignorance, I know little about financial services. I'm not alleging anything wrong with this company, but it's just not clear to me where they fit in the financial services setup.
    From the perspective of a UK investor they are an unregulated company and whatever it is they supposedly do, retail investors should be going nowhere near them. Any attempt by Helix to induce UK investors to invest is or was a criminal offence.
  • Well, like I said, I don't know much about financial services.

    I did consider that Helix could be a hedge fund or private equity fund of some kind. Some structure I've not encountered before.
    Most OEICs / UTs / ITs / ETFs tend to have their portfolio holdings listed. But then that's because you (as an investor) are actually buying shares (or 'units') in that fund.

    The Helix company appears to take the customer's money and invest it in other companies - but what does the customer then hold? A contract with Helix? Direct share ownership in the companies chosen by Helix? That would point more towards Helix operating as some kind of broker or advisor, rather than a fund itself.

    The other point I find curious, is that the OP's parents' money appears to have been mostly or fully invested in one company (Privilage Wealth plc). But I thought the main point of funds was asset diversification?

    Just goes to show that a company being listed on a stock exchange is no real indicator of reduced risk (eg Carillion etc).

    Also, when you follow the money, it appears to have ended up in the pockets of US citizens, via the IFA, Helix, Prestige, Rosebud lending. So that's a lot of people taking a cut along the way. At the end point the issue of different courts for Native American reservation inhabitants adds further complexity.

    The OP's parents could possibly have invested in a UK based peer-to-peer lender or payday loan company directly and had the same level of risk?

    I am not inferring anything negative about these companies mentioned.
    Selling off the UK's gold reserves at USD 276 per ounce was a really good idea, which I will not citicise in any way.
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