Harlequin hits out at SFO over ‘confidential’ details

Harlequin hits out at SFO over ‘confidential’ details

Harlequin has hit out at the Serious Fraud Office for acquiring what it considers to be confidential information about its investors.

The SFO is conducting a survey of people who invested in Harlequin as it continues its inquiry into the controversial investment scheme.

A questionnaire has been created which will be used to assist the inquiry and may form the basis of the evidence given at any subsequent criminal trial.

Article continues after advert

But Harlequin has raised concerns about the process and questioned how the SFO got details of its investors.

A spokesman for the hotel and resort company said: “Harlequin has been contacted by a number of investors who are concerned that they have received a questionnaire in the post from the SFO without having provided their details to the SFO themselves.

“Harlequin can confirm that we have not handed over our database to the SFO and we, too, would like to know how the SFO acquired information we consider to be confidential.”

The spokesman said Harlequin was now “considering its options”.

The SFO launched its investigation into Harlequin in 2013, together with Essex Police. It came after the FSA issued a warning to advisers about investing clients money in Sipp products weighted heavily towards Harlequin’s overseas property.

The spokesman said: “Harlequin remains very confident that, in the fullness of time, Harlequin will be vindicated, and the accusations will no longer impede the business.”

Right to reply

A spokesman for the SFO said: “We have a dedicated intelligence unit and sources providing us with information, but cannot go into details on specific cases.”