A luxury tourism project in Barbados, whose developers had promised to transform a major part of St. Philip, could result in some British nationals visiting the island, but not to vacation.
With Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and Essex Police now “looking into complaints” about the activities of the United Kingdom Harlequin Group, which broke ground and started construction on its Merricks venture several months ago, indications are that the investigation might necessitate a journey here.
From last week the UK’s Serious Fraud Office has been inviting “people who invested” in Merricks and six other resorts, including two others in the Eastern Caribbean, to give it information via an online questionnaire.
“The business activity of the Harlequin group includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations. If you have invested in Harlequin schemes, we would welcome any information you can give us,” the SFO said in a statement.
“Your answers will help us to understand the general nature of your evidence. We may then contact you to obtain a full witness statement for potential use in a criminal prosecution. We do not generally comment on investigations but may from time to time issue updates in general terms. You can check for news and other developments in the investigation by checking our website,” it added.
A number of workers were recently laid off from the Merricks venture here, and Harlequin officials have been defending themselves against allegations of wrongdoing in any of their projects, including the one here and others.
These latest developments follow a warning in January from the UK’s Financial Services Authority which urged individuals against putting large sums of money “into products weighted heavily towards the company’s “Harlequin’s) overseas property”.
Just yesterday it was also announced that English company TailorMade, a UK distributor of investments in Harlequin Property, indicated it had stopped taking new money into the overseas property venture following the FSA alert. (SC)