The SFO is investigating two leasehold schemes in the UK [Credit: SFO / Gov.uk]

SFO probes suspect £150m leasehold investment schemes

UK: The Serious Fraud Office [ SFO ] has revealed that it is investigating two investment leasehold schemes in relation to suspected fraud and money laundering for holiday homes and student accommodation in the UK.

It is alleged that the Alpha and Green Park group of companies misled investors into investing £150 million into leasehold schemes, claiming that they could guarantee eight to ten per cent returns in the first ten years.

The SFO is investigating reports that the Green Park-branded firms sold leaseholds for holiday homes in Devon, and that Alpha-branded companies sold leaseholds for student accommodation in Lancashire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire.

According to the SFO, 1500 investors from approximately 50 countries invested up to £150 million into the schemes over four years between 2014 and 2018, based on the terms of the original agreement. However, the investors are said to stopped receiving their returns in 2018, and it is believed that the directors of the company made £20 million from said schemes.

Mick Gallagher, chief investigator at the Serious Fraud Office, told The Financial Times: “Thousands of ordinary people lose their pensions or life savings on risky schemes, while those at the top line their own pockets and enjoy a lavish lifestyle.

“The Serious Fraud Office is committed to delivering justice for victims of fraud and corruption. We invite anyone who believes they have a connection with our investigation to come forward,” he added.

Having carried out a six-month covert investigation, the SFO conducted raids, interviews and mandatory requests for evidence across the UK last week.

At the time, The Financial Times reported that one suspect had been arrested and interviewed, while a number of Section 2 notices were issued to ensure the relevant companies provided the information that the SFO required.

UK-based investors are due to be contacted by the SFO and asked to complete a questionnaire by 30 November, in order to help it “identify and pursue new information and continue progressing the investigation as quickly as possible”.

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