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FSA secures freezing order against suspected unauthorised schemes
by Michelle Abrego on Dec 21, 2011 at 10:55
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has secured interim injunctions and freezing orders from the High Court against a number of suspected unauthorised land banking firms.
The firms include St Clair Estates, OFG Investments, Option Land UK, and GIG Properties.
The FSA said the orders were taken out to prevent the companies from selling plots of land until further investigations are conducted.
‘The FSA took this action because it suspects that these companies were running a land banking operation which amounted to an unauthorised collective investment scheme,’ it said.
The firms, believed to have marked plots of land on a site at Winkleigh Airfield in Devon, and the FSA has frozen about £850,000 believed to be derived from customer investments.
Since 2008, the FSA has obtained injunctions against nine firms involved in land banking. Most recently, on 9 December, the FSA secured a summary judgment in the High Court against Cityshore Commodities and its director Aaron Walker.
FSA head of unauthorised business, Jonathan Phelan (pictured), said: ‘Anybody investing in land should always have it independently valued to check its worth. Furthermore, if you are ever sold land as an investment, and on the basis that someone else will manage it for you as part of a wider site, you should seek the advice of a firm that is authorised by the FSA.’
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