Panorama update

Posted on March 29, 2013

Investors may already have seen reports that the edition of Panorama exposing those to blame for our losses has been delayed due to a complaint received by the BBC from twice-bankrupt former double glazing salesman Dave Ames. His company, Harlequin Property, allegedly took investors’ money to build luxury properties in the Caribbean without the necessary permissions or land ownership.

Ames claims that the producer, Matthew Chapman, hinted at the possibility of work with the BBC to encourage Ames’ former ‘security consultant’ to respond to an approach made over LinkedIn. There is no suggestion that any payment of any kind was made. The BBC is investigating the matter. We hope that Chapman, a BAFTA award-winning journalist, is swiftly cleared, and wish to offer him our unqualified support.

We have received assurances that the part of the programme relating to our complaints will remain unchanged, and that a new transmission date will follow shortly.

In the meantime, we hear that the FSA, which is due to morph into the FCA on Monday, has finally found its balls. It has fined insurer Prudential £30m and censured its CEO for failing to tell the regulator soon enough that it planned to acquire Asian insurer AIA []. At one point, it is rumoured, the FSA planned a £50m fine, and a separate financial penalty for CEO Tidjane Thiam. It did, however, warn that it was ‘necessary to send a clear message to directors of firms as to the fundamental importance of behaving openly and co-operatively towards the FSA.’

Capita’s sins make the Pru’s pale into insignificance. It knew that Nigel Walter was a crook, that loans were being extended and recycled and were being made outside of the agreed terms, that the information memorandum was misleading and that the guarantee from Tiuta was of little value, and it chose to slink away without telling the FSA or investors. We must hope that the FSA’s rebranding exercise will only strengthen its resolve to act decisively against regulated firms that conceal the truth from it, and that it will decide that nothing short of Capita compensating investors in full will be acceptable.

Posted in: Uncategorized