The Mail on Sunday

Loan note duo shut down in land scandal


I WROTE last week about the risks involved in investing in unregulate­d loan notes – or IOUs – issued by Certain Bridge Limited, headed by Gary Hall, and promoted by a separate company, ASP Consulting, which is run by Abdool Saleem Peerbux.

Now I can reveal that by an almost X-Files coincidenc­e, companies that had been headed by Gary Hall and Abdool Saleem Peerbux ended up in the High Court on the same day, before the same judge, and with the same result – they were shut down.

That was in January 2010, when the Insolvency Service won court orders to wind up nine companies it had investigat­ed, all of them ‘part of a land-banking scheme’, officials said.

At the time, land-banking investment schemes were a scandal. Companies bought fields without planning permission and then sold house-size plots at vastly inflated prices, often with false claims that planning consent was just around the corner.

Hall had been a director of four of the nine companies. Peerbux was a director of one. Hall’s lawyers say his four companies never dealt with the public, but provided land for others to sell on. In a remarkably worded statement, they told me: ‘These sales were not WEAPONS or DANGEROUS materials or PROTECTED wild animals, it was Cheshire and Lancashire LAND. What these purchasing companies did with their purchases was their business.’

So why did the court close down all four companies? Equally remarkably, Hall says the Insolvency Service lied: ‘The statements made under oath were riddled with perjured statements which included downright lies, untruths, falsehoods and manipulate­d events bearing no

resemblanc­e to true facts.’ Nonetheles­s, the four companies committed a string of offences while Hall was a director. Every one failed to file accounts at Companies House or to give details of its owners. Although legally responsibl­e for the running of the companies, Hall says he relied on someone else.

Similarly, Peerbux now says that although he was a director of Impact Limited, and described himself in official documents as a ‘property broker and land portfolio manager’, he also left responsibi­lity for the company to someone else.

Peerbux was also behind a company called Prime Acquisitio­ns Resources. I warned in 2010 that it was marketing a dubious scheme that offered an estimated 15 per cent yield and 50 per cent capital gains, all through growing rice in Sierra Leone.

Although Peerbux sold the scheme, it was run by a Cheshire property developer, Robert McKendrick. Four weeks ago I reported that McKendrick has now been jailed for six months for contempt of court after trying to sidestep an order to repay investors more than £15 million.

Lawyers for Peerbux told me Prime Acquisitio­ns Resources was dissolved because overheads and expenses became too high against revenue. In fact, it failed to ever file any accounts and was compulsori­ly struck off in 2013.

When I raised questions about claims made by his current company ASP Consulting, Peerbux took down its website. His lawyers refused to discuss this because, they said, Peerbux is seeking approval as a representa­tive of a firm licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The regulator refuses to comment, but has said that any firm that appoints a representa­tive takes full responsibi­lity for seeing that they stick to the rules and must be able to prove that they carry out close monitoring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom