Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.
Tall story: DCP claims to be based in the giant Shinjuku Park Tower
R.M. writes: Many years ago, I foolishly bought shares in Safeguard Technologies, a US company that featured in your column as a rip-off nearly 20 years back.
Now though, I have just received a call from a man in Japan who gives his name as David Moody, and he has emailed me with a purchase agreement for my shares.
Is this another scam?
Tony Hetherington replies: The offer to buy your shares has come from DCP & Consultants, which gives its address as a major office development in Tokyo. The call came from a man who signs himself as David Moody LLB, the Japanese company’s chief legal officer. And the company itself is said to be headed by chief executive Konno Yatsuhiro.
The DCP website boasts: ‘DCP & Consultants has been known to be an outstanding provider of financial and investment strategies that helped many start-up and growing companies across major industries optimise their business operations and secure a solid future.’ The company has, it claims, ‘exceptional mergers and acquisitions expertise.’
So much for fiction. Now for facts. Googling David Moody LLB produced not a single hit, which is pretty unusual, especially for the chief legal officer of an outstanding Tokyo firm. Googling Konno Yatsuhiro produced the same result – zilch!
The contract you received says that DCP & Consultants is a Japanese corporation based in the giant Shinjuku Park Tower. Well, I checked with Japan’s company registry and there is no such corporation.
How about all those claims to have helped new and growing companies? Surely there must be some record of this? Well, no, there is not a single record.
Back to DCP’s website then, and it appears DCP has produced its startling record of success in almost no time at all. The website dcpjapan.com was registered just weeks ago on May 5. The owner of the website hides behind an anonymity service with an address in Iceland. And the domain name fees have been paid for just one year, which does not point towards a firm that expects anything other than to be out of business by next May.
I put all this to DCP itself and invited answers and comments. It offered neither.
So what’s all this about? Well, the sting in the tail is not in the share purchase contract itself, but in DCP’s email to you, where David Moody says: ‘If you agree to sell your shares you will require assistance from our governing body to register the shares under the US Securities Act 1933, rendering them free-trading.’ He says he will call you again to discuss this.
In other words, if you take the bait and agree to sell your shares, Moody and his mates will demand an up-front legal fee for a non-existent process to ‘re-certify’ your shares before the deal can go ahead. Pay it, and the deal will fall through and your money will have disappeared.
Where is my missing Isa, Metro?
Mrs A.G. writes: I went to the Coventry Building Society to arrange a transfer of my ISA from Metro Bank.
A few days after the ISA matured, the society told me it was awaiting the transfer. A month later, it said it had still heard nothing, and that staff had written to Metro by recorded delivery.
I went to Metro and got someone there to ring the society, but still nothing happened. I thought transferring an ISA took 15 days.
Mysterious: Metro Bank said it had no record of being approached by the building society until it received the signed-for letter
Tony Hetherington replies: Metro Bank told me it had no record of being approached by the building society until it received the signed-for letter. According to the bank, it then sent a cheque to the society within 15 working days, and the cheque went into your new ISA. The Coventry Building Society paints a different picture. Staff there explained that Metro Bank does not use the usual electronic transfer system, and everything has to be done by post.
The society started the process on the first day you went to your branch, and then chased this up until eventually they had to email the bank a copy of your transfer application. According to the society, it received a cheque from Metro bearing a date a fortnight before, so though it did not have your money for that period, the society has backdated your account so you do not lose out.
Staff at the Coventry say their original transfer request was also signed for by Metro. But Metro told me it had no record of receiving it. The society then gave me a picture of the proof of delivery, signed and dated by Metro. The bank now says it received other transfer requests from the society, but not yours. A Metro spokesman told me: ‘Evidently something has broken down somewhere.’
We’re watching you
11-year ban: Omar Hussein
A financial adviser from Gateshead who ripped off hundreds of pension savers for millions of pounds has been banned from acting as a company director for the next 11 years. Omar Hussein, 42, ran Consumer Wealth Limited, an FCA-authorised business that advised customers to switch their existing pension pots into a new Self Invested Personal Pension.
Investigators from the Insolvency Service found that savers’ funds were then invested in ‘Portfolio 6,’ a very high-risk scheme that poured their money into unregulated investments that provided no protection.
Disqualifying Hussein from running any British company until at least 2033, the Insolvency Service revealed that at least 608 of his customers have lodged claims with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which has so far paid out £11,527,401 as a result. This money comes from a levy on other financial advisers.
In July 2017, I warned that Hussein was drumming up business by hiring a sales company to cold-call people, claiming they were from Pension Safe, which they falsely said was working with the Government to make sure pension savers got the best value.
I challenged Hussein, but he refused to comment. I supplied the details to the FCA, which also refused to comment.
Last October, the FCA banned Hussein from the financial services industry, finally announcing that he had ‘acted recklessly and abused the trust of his clients’ – something Mail on Sunday readers knew five years ago.
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email [email protected] Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.
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