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FSA secures winding up order against £4m land bank
by Iain Martin on Jun 08, 2011 at 17:17
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has secured a winding up order from the High Court against alleged land bank Plott UK, which collected £3.9 million from UK investors.
In a separate hearing at the High Court, the regulator secured an extension to a world-wide freezing and restraint order against European Property Investments (UK), which the FSA believes took over the business of Plott.
The FSA alleged that Plott marketed plots of land for investment with the promise of 200% and 300% returns.
Plott customers invested a minimum of £10,000 each in the land, which was in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, meaning it was highly unlikely that it would receive planning permission, according to the FSA.
European Property Investments collected £639,000 from investors between 1 April 2011 and 25 May 2011 but the FSA was only able to secure £180,000 before the rest was transferred out of the firm’s accounts. The FSA said it believed that European Property Investments only became active after it launched its investigation into Plott. The FSA has an ongoing civil case against European Property Investments for running an unauthorised collective investment scheme.
‘This is an important outcome and sends a warning to other unauthorised land banks that the FSA can and will act decisively to shut them down,’ said Tracey McDermott, FSA acting director of enforcement and financial crime.
‘Consumers are much better off not putting their money into these schemes since, by the time we can catch up with the operators, most of the money has disappeared and investors are left with land thats value simply doesn't reflect the money paid for it.’
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