Harlequin Group chairman David Ames has been released on conditional bail after charges were read out against him at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
In February Ames was charged with three counts of fraud by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Ames, 65 of Wickford in Essex, appeared in court in late March and three charges were read out against him, all of which related to abuse of position.
The first charge was: ‘Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2013, that you have dishonestly abused your position as a person in control of Harlequin Management Services South East Limited (HMSSE), in which you were expected to safeguard or not to act against the financial interests of investors who had dealing with HMSEE by inducing investors to enter into contracts for the purpose of off-plan properties which were located outside the UK. When the true state of affairs of those properties was such as to expose those investors to risk of loss, intending thereby to make a gain for yourself or another.’
The second was the same as the first but related to abuse of position at HMSEE, between February 2011 and December 2013. And the third charge was the same as the first, but related to abuse of position at Harlequin Hotels and Resorts Limited between June 2012 and June 2015.
According to CityWire, no plea was received as the matter was referred to the Crown Court. Ames is due to appear at Southwark Crown Court this month.
The magistrates granted Ames conditional bail ahead of his appearance at Southwark Crown Court for the first hearing.
The conditions, as read out by one of the magistrates, are that Ames is subject to a condition of residence, that he surrenders his passport to Raleigh Police Station, he does not travel without the express permission of the SFO and that he does not contact directly or indirectly the prosecution witnesses on a list provided by the prosecution.