David Ames Will Not Face Trial Until 2018

David Ames the boss of the celebrity-backed multi-million-pound Caribbean investment business Harlequin Property will not face trial until 2018.

According to the Express online edition, the Southwark Crown Court heard that the trial of David Ames, 65, from Wickford, Essex, is likely to last between 12 and 14 weeks from September next year.

Ames, a former double glazing salesman, is charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position concerning a total of £390 million allegedly lost by investors in a series of planned luxury Caribbean holiday resorts.

The first charge involves alleged dishonesty from 2010 onwards and concerns an alleged loss to investors of around £225m.

The second charge concerns alleged dishonesty from 2011 onwards, involving an alleged loss of around £130m.

According to the British paper, both these charges concern UK-registered company Harlequin Management Services (South East) Ltd, based at Honywood Road, Basildon, which is being liquidated.

The third charge relates to a successor offshore company, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts (Cayman) Ltd, and alleges dishonesty from mid-2012 onwards, concerning an alleged loss to investors of around £35m.

The prosecution was brought after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), together with Essex Police, which began in March 2013.

Ames denies any wrongdoing, and at the next hearing this September, an application by the defence to dismiss the case will be heard.

At least 6,000 people are believed to have invested in the off-plan properties, at planned resorts in Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, and even Mexico, much using self-invested SIPP pension schemes.

Only around 100 plus properties were built at the flagship Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent.