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March 6, IWN — The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced on Tuesday that it, together with Essex Police, “is looking into complaints in relation to the Harlequin group”.

“If you have invested in Harlequin schemes, we would welcome any information you can give us,” the SFO said in a release on its website.

The FSO said it was particularly interested in hearing from people who invested in the following resorts:

  1. Buccament Bay in St Vincent & the Grenadines;
  2. Merricks in Barbados;
  3. Marquis Estate in St Lucia;
  4. The Hideaway in the Dominican Republic;
  5. Las Canas in the Dominican Republic;
  6. Two Rivers in the Dominican Republic and
  7. Garapua Beach Resort in Brazil.

The FSO asked persons who have invested in these or any other Harlequin schemes to complete an online questionnaire.

“Your answers will help us to understand the general nature of your evidence. We may then contact you to obtain a full witness statement for potential use in a criminal prosecution.

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“We do not generally comment on investigations but may from time to time issue updates in general terms,” the FSO further said.

The announcement of the probe came one day after Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace denied asking the FSO to investigate Harlequin, as alleged by Dave Ames, the British investor who is chairman of Harlequin.

The FSO, in its release did not say what triggered the investigation.

But, British pensioners who have invested in Harlequin have complained that while they have invested money, Harlequin is yet to build properties as promised and some investors have demanded their money back.

Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, several categories of construction workers and contractors of goods and services to the resort have complained about not being paid.

The Harlequin group’s business includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations.