Blog written by Angharad Phillips | Trainee Solicitor, Financial Mis-selling
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the Alpha and Green Park group of property companies in relation to suspected fraud and money laundering.
The SFO suspects the Alpha-branded companies are fraudulently misleading investors into purchasing leaseholds for student accommodation in Leicestershire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire. The Green Park-branded companies are suspected to be part of a similar scheme to sell leaseholds for holiday accommodation in Devon.
The companies sold investments in leasehold units between 2014 and 2019, promising investors returns of between 8 and 10 percent over the first ten years. Over 1,500 investors from around 50 different countries invested an estimated £150m into the leasehold schemes on the back of these guaranteed returns, but all stopped receiving these in 2018. Meanwhile, the directors of the company are thought to have made £20m from the leasehold schemes.
Following a six month covert investigation, the SFO carried out co-ordinated raids, interviews and mandatory requests for evidence across the country on 29 September 2021. It carried out formal searches on multiple properties, arresting and interviewing one suspect with Cleveland Police. The SFO also issued several Section 2 notices, which force companies to provide relevant information.
SFO investigators will contact UK-based investors and ask them to fill out a questionnaire by 30 November 2021 to help ‘identify and pursue new information and continue progressing the investigation as quickly as possible’.