Andrew Wheeler QC and Ben Isaacs were instructed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), together with Michael Bowes QC of Outer Temple Chambers, in the prosecution of former Harlequin Chairman, David Ames.

On Wednesday 3 August 2022, Mr. Ames was unanimously convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of two Fraud offences by Abuse of Position. It was the Prosecution’s case that between 2010 and 2015, whilst Mr Ames was Head of the Harlequin Group of Companies, he dishonestly induced investors to enter into contracts for the purchase of off-plan properties located outside the United Kingdom, mainly in the Caribbean. This took place when the true state of affairs in relation to those properties was such as to expose those investors to loss or a risk of loss, intending thereby to make a gain for himself or another, or to cause loss to another, or to expose another to loss or a risk of loss, in breach of Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

During that period, thousands of properties were sold by Mr Ames and Harlequin to thousands of investors across a number of different resorts, mainly in St Vincent, Barbados, St Lucia, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Approximately 200 properties were constructed in total, out of which less than 30 sales were completed to investors.  The loss to investors arising from the period of the offences for which Mr Ames was convicted was in excess of £225 million.

You can find out more on the SFO’s website.

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