Clydesdale to re-open claims on failed offshore investment

Clydesdale to re-open claims on failed offshore investment

Clydesdale Bank is "re-considering" investor claims it previously declined in relation to a failed multi-million pound Cape Verde property scheme. 

Investors in the Cape Verde Paradise Beach development gave more than £1.5m to promoter Arck LLP in 2009, before the scheme collapsed. 

When the "luxury property" scheme failed investors fought to reclaim lost funds through Clydesdale, the bank responsible for the accounts through which the money raised by Arck had flown.

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In February last year the Court of Appeal found Clydesdale was liable to repay the scheme’s investors, overturning a previous ruling by the High Court which had found in favour of the bank.

Now investors who first had claims denied by Clydesdale as far back as 2014 are being told by the bank's lawyers their case is being "re-considered". 

In a letter seen by FTAdviser investors have been told the bank previously carried out a "formal, rigorous review of its role in providing banking facilities to Arck LLP and the impact of that role on investors."

It was as a result of this initial review that many investors were told their claim would not be accepted. 

But the latest letter reads: "The bank is now reviewing again a number of the previous claims that have been made regarding investments in Arck LLP. 

"As part of this process we will be re-considering your claim using the information that you have provided to date."

Investors are also asked for additional documentation and any information regarding funds already recovered via the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or "from your IFA via a compliant to the Financial Ombudsman Service". 

The letter includes no mention of last year's Court of Appeal ruling, which found investors could claim against the bank on a contract despite never having seen it.

The court had heard Arck had requested in a letter that Clydesdale open a segregated client account, which instructed the invested funds could only leave the account once the bank had received written undertakings from the developers' lawyers.

But the court heard Clydesdale failed to ever open the segregated account and the investors’ money was transferred out of the bank without the required conditions being met.

The Court of Appeal ruled the Arck letter was a binding contract, even if the investors had not seen it at the time, and Clydesdale was in breach by not opening the account under the agreed terms.

When Clydesdale argued the investors would have lost their money in any event, regardless of the account being opened, the court found the burden of proof was on the bank to prove the potential loss - something it had failed to achieve. 

The decision at the time was hailed as showing "light at the end of the tunnel" for investors embroiled in a near decade-long attempt to recover lost investments.

Clydesdale has been approached for comment.