Buying Property

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1. Rent before you buy: Many people already living overseas will advise you to rent first and buy second because what you really want, and what you think you want, nearly always turns out to be different. Many Brits go in search of their dream hideaway villa, but those who start off in the “real” Spain soon find they miss many things (from marmalade to a news-paper or a good chat in their own language) and tend to sell up and move to a town or resort. Equally, the friendly resort you visited on holiday in May might not be quite so much fun in high summer.

2. Check out your agent and developer: To counter a number of cowboy outfits, developers have got together to form the Federation of Overseas Property Developers, Agents and Consultants, so visit their website: www.fopdac.com

3. Book more than one inspection trip: Many property abroad sales people have been trained in the very effective sales techniques of timeshare. While there is nothing wrong with this method of selling, it does mean that they are effective at closing the sale before you’ve had a chance to compare other developments or properties. Book at least two inspection trips, if not three to avoid being tempted to buy on impulse.

4. Measure travelling time to the nearest airport: If you intend to either let your property or fly out from the UK to holiday in it, you should look for a location that is no more than an hour’s drive from the local airport, or you will find your weekend retreat becomes a once-a-year trip.

5. Money follows money: Don’t buy the most expensive villa in a ‘cheap holiday destination’ because when it comes to playgrounds, the rich stick together. If you want to know how wealthy a resort is, look at the size of the boats in the marina or count the number of expensive cars outside local restaurants on a Friday night.

6. Visit the location out of season: Viewing your property location in November, December, January, February or March is the best way to see what it is really like. If there are no people about, you can be sure you will not have a winter rental market.

7. Ask about renovation grants: Many rural areas will offer grants of up to 50pc to restore and renovate old properties. Ask at your local council office.

8. Arrange finance before you sign: Don’t take it for granted that you can raise finance on the property. You may find you can only borrow 70pc of the value and also need to find another 10pc of the value to pay for buying costs. That means that you may find it easier to raise money at home by re- mortgaging your own property and buying the property abroad for cash. Either way, you need a written mortgage offer before you sign. It is a very good idea to arrange your finance in principle before you fly abroad.

9. Set up a local bank account: You will need to pay for the notary and other property purchase costs in the local currency via cash, cheque or credit card. For this you’ll need to set up a local ‘non-resident’ bank account. Typically, this means that you have normal current account facilities but won’t receive any interest on the money deposited. You may need to wait before you are issued with credit cards.

Source: The Journal – Newcastle-upon-Tyne 2006-03-04

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New York, sung about by Frank Sinatra, chronicled by Carrie Bradshaw and trampled by King Kong, is not the only city capable of captivating the un- encumbered and adventurous. The world is dappled with electric and stor- ied cities, and real estate is staggeringly affordable in many of them.

“There is so much value in a lot of foreign countries,” said Nigel Leck, an international property expert on the BBC-TV program “Uncharted Territo- ry.” “The capital growth will be very, very good.”

Entrepreneurial types should seize the moment in Eastern Europe, where cities like Budapest, Prague and Krakow, Poland, are in need of basic services and programs to propel them into the future. Those who want to be certain of a transparent market and the protection of property rights – but want more bang for their buck – should consider Toronto, Montreal and Quebec.

Sun-seekers looking to live and in- vest in a more tropical climate may want to migrate to one of the many flourishing cities in Latin America.

Young executives who want to posi- tion themselves for the next decade can get deals in Shanghai, even though the market there has been somewhat vola- tile of late, while romantics can em- brace a piece of Paris for less than they may have thought.

Information about ownership laws in 24 countries can be found on World- Properties.com. Click on “Country Info,” then “Business Practices.” Select a country from the drop-down menu. Where it reads “Select Business Prac- tice,” choose “Foreign Ownership.” Any restrictions should be listed.

In Mexico, for example, Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 pro- hibits foreigners from owning residen- tial real estate within 48 kilometers, or 30 miles, of any coastline or 96 kilome- ters of the borders.

“As a rule of thumb, countries that were former British colonies have few, if any, restrictions, whereas many other countries restrict and require you to get a special permit to buy,” David Michon- ski, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy and an international real estate specialist, wrote in an e-mail message. “But in resort markets, the countries often make exceptions.”

Renting is a more informal process. “It is always easier to rent in a foreign country than to buy and I know of no restrictions on renting anywhere,” Michonski wrote.

Latin American cities are among the most exciting and affordable, especially Buenos Aires, the sultry, party-until- the-wee-hours city known as the Paris of South America. In 2002, the Argen- tine peso was devalued by the govern- ment, resulting in a currency crash. But four years later the city is recovering.

“This is a city that is getting more ex- pensive because the economy is on the recovery, but it’s still at a fraction of the cost” of property in New York, said Jeff Hornberger, manager of international market development for the National Association of Realtors.

The enclave of the moment is San Telmo, a “young, hip urban scene with a thriving arts community and a strong ex-pat community,” as Hornberger put it. The neighborhood is dotted with res- taurants, bars, boutiques and colonial houses. Property costs $56 to $93 a square foot, Reynolds said. Renting also is affordable. There are furnished studi- os with weekly maid service for $450 a month at www.buenosaireshous- ing.com.ar.

Real estate is more costly, though still reasonable, in Recoleta, an elegant downtown tourist magnet. Prices are about $180 to $300 a square foot, Reyn- olds said.

Lief Simon, the editor of Global Real Estate Investor, a newsletter published by International Living, likes Panama City with its high-rise buildings, restau- rants and some 80 banks. “It’s a first- world city,” he said, and yet two-bed- room apartments can be had for $60,000 to $80,000.

Mexico City is recommended by some property experts, but its crowded streets and polluted air makes others cringe. Hornberger suggested living in Condesa, a chic area that has been likened to New York’s East Village. There are two- and three-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood for about $1,200 to $1,500 a month. Some one-bedrooms in downtown Mexico City are less than $700 a month.

Those who are partial to cooler tem- peratures could head to Canada. “‘It’s a great opportunity for kids today,” Michonski said.

Toronto is the financial headquarters of the country and three of its trendiest neighborhoods – The Beaches, West Queen West and King West Village – are among the most affordable. “It’s a mini-Manhattan, but we’re decades and decades behind in terms of where you are with your price points,” said Mi- chael Kalles, president of Harvey Kalles Real Estate (harveykalles.com) in Toronto.

In Montreal, the “place to be and to be seen” is Plateau Mont-Royal, said Bertin Jacques, a spokesman for Tour- isme Montreal. Property in this area, which is popular with young Canadians because of its cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, is about $220 to $240 a square foot and rentals are about $650 to $1,470 a month, he said.

If Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America, Quebec City is the Paris of North America. It is divided into Haute- Ville, the more expensive upper town, and Basse-Ville, lower town.

Warehouses converted into 750- to 2,000-square-foot apartments are about $170,000 to $390,000, said Richard Seguin, a spokesman for Quebec City Tourism.

Speaking of Paris, the city of Renoir and haute couture is far less expensive than New York and San Francisco, a fact that has escaped many.

“There’s a lot that is still way under- priced because it needs renovation and gentrification,” said Adrian Leeds, who moved from Los Angeles to Paris in 1994 and is the editor of www.parlerpar- is.com, a newsletter about Paris, as well as other Web sites about France, includ- ing French Property Insider (www.frenchpropertyinsider.com).

Those looking for a deal should con- sider arrondissements where the city’s bohemians and “bobos” (bourgeois bo- hemians) flock: the 10th, 18th and 19th.

In the 10th, the areas along the tree- lined Canal St.-Martin are beautiful, but those near the Gare du Nord “can be horrible,” said Yolanda Robins, a prop- erty manager for French Property In- sider who moved from Philadelphia to Paris two years ago. The average price per square foot in the arrondissement is about $530 to $670, she said.

Long-term furnished rentals in those arrondissements are about $320 to $430 a month, according to Leeds. “It doesn’t even come close to London,” she said.

As Hornberger put it: “London is out of reach unless you’ve got a really good trust fund.” Yet some Anglophiles and English majors remain undeterred.

Ryan Benson, director of Dream Properties London, suggested renting in St. John’s Wood. But even there, a 270- square-foot studio on the famous Abbey Road is on the market for about $1,470 a month (at www.foxtons.co.uk). Other areas to search are Maida Vale, West Hampstead and Little Venice, though the pickings are slim. Suburbs like Stanwall and Radlett are less expensive but what is saved in rent is paid for in gasoline or commuting time.

Those doing business in China (Michonski calls it “the land of the fu- ture”) may want to work and buy in Shanghai. Adrienne Farrelly, general manager of Shanghai Properties (shanghaiprops.com), suggested look- ing in People’s Square, nestled among two of the city’s major commercial and retail streets. Nearby is Top of the City, an apartment complex where property is about $350 a square foot and rentals start at around $700 for a 689-square- foot one-bedroom, Farrelly wrote in an e-mail message. “It’s probably the best value in town given that it’s at People’s Square,” she wrote.

Property experts agree, however, that the best values are really in Eastern Europe. There are “huge swaths of land” available for “knockdown prices,” said Leck of “Uncharted Territory.”

“That’s where the opportunities lie,” Simon said, “and that’s where the young person who’s entrepreneurial could make some money.” It costs about a $110 a square foot to buy in Bucharest, he said.

“I think the biggie there in Eastern Europe is Bulgaria,” said Michonski, adding that it has magnificent beaches as well as mountains for skiing and that “you can live like a king on $10,000 a year.”

Source: International Herald Tribune (IHT)

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Property investors are not a breed apart when it comes to learning something new, and should make new year’s resolutions just like the rest of us.

That is the message from experts at the forthcoming Homebuyer Show, who have devised four key pledges to help property investors make 2006 a prosperous year.

Investors should be prepared to further their education, review their property portfolios and try something new, all while making sure they enjoy life more, so the experts say.

The first thing they can do is improve their education by learning about all aspects of investment that affect them.

This includes learning about taxation to minimise the property tax they pay, researching market conditions to spot new investment areas, and keeping on top of government legislation such as real-estate investment trusts (Reits) and the impact they will have.

Next up is ensuring their property portfolio is healthy, disposing of underperforming investments which reduce the profitability of more successful investments. Investors should slim down to only those with the potential to perform well, releasing capital to invest elsewhere.

Third on the list of new year’s resolutions for property investors is trying something new, like an overseas property investment in places like Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Further afield, Thailand, New Zealand and China are also seeing an influx of investment into their property markets due to their potential for strong capital growth and good rental yields.

Finally, to reduce stress, property investors could hand over the management of their rental properties to letting agents. They will look after all the day-to-day issues such as tenant inquires, carrying out minor maintenance and collecting rent, and deal with all the paperwork freeing up the investors’ time.

“The new year is a great time for people to review their investments and decide what they want to get out of them over the next 12 months,” said Nick Clark, managing director of the Homebuyer Show.

“Property both in the UK and overseas can offer opportunities to investors at all levels, whether it be overseas holiday homes, buy-to-let portfolios or commercial investment, investors can help to turn 2006 into a successful year.”

Source: AboutProperty.co.uk

People should think very carefully before placing their incomes in retirement at the mercy of the buy-to-let property market, warns the Actuarial Profession.

The warning comes as product providers gear up to for changes to the rules for Self-Invested Personal Pension Plans (SIPPs). From 6 April 2006 SIPPs may, for the first time, invest directly in residential property. This may at first sight appear to offer an attractive income and capital tax shelter for buy-to-let properties inside a pensions wrapper.

But the Actuarial Profession cautioned that there are a number of reasons why residential property may not be suitable for many peoples’ pension investments prior to retirement, or for a fund which is being drawn down in order to provide an income:

The initial outlay is likely to be substantial in relation to the existing savings. Existing property cannot be injected directly into a pension fund, and investors should consider the cost of rearranging existing pension investments, and the balance of their revised portfolio.

Savers are permitted to borrow part of the cost of the property, leading to an element of gearing which increases the overall level of risk, especially if interest rates were to rise

Most people need to draw their pensions as soon as they retire, and may have little discretion about when this happens. If the property market is not performing well at that time, a forced sale may be required at a relatively low price

Overseas property investments may be subject to local legislation that inhibits dealing with them, and in some circumstances they may prove extremely difficult to sell.

Residential property can be a volatile investment. Rental income (which cannot be guaranteed) represents a large part of the return, and letting voids and/or marketing costs can quickly erode estimates of rental returns. Properties come in relatively large units and cannot be subdivided; and the property cycle (the period over which values rise and fall) is very long; all one’s eggs are in one basket.

Uncertainty over rental income is especially risky if the property is retained after retirement as part of a “draw down” arrangement, and the investor relies upon the income to fund his or her pension.

Only more financially-secure investors, such as those who already own a buy to let property and who wish to ensure that future rises in value are free from CGT, or those who have large existing pension funds and who perceive property to offer high returns for acceptable risk, should consider buy-to-let property.

Alan Goodman, Chairman of the Financial Consumer Support Committee of the Profession, commented: “There are just 150 days to go before the rules change and people may invest their pension funds in buy to let properties. We are sure some providers will be looking to cash in on this market with enterprising new investment vehicles.

“But people must not be seduced into buying them – even though house prices have rocketed and stock markets have slumped in the recent past. The value of houses, too, may fall as well as rise and the lack of liquidity that could arise from being a forced seller in a falling market could have very serious implications on an individual’s ultimate income in retirement.

“We have identified important reasons why people should think twice about putting all their pension eggs in one property basket. There may be a place for property within a diversified portfolio, but this is best achieved using a property fund rather than investing directly in bricks and mortar.

“In our view the vast majority of people should invest in pooled funds, rather than much riskier individual properties. We therefore urge everyone to consider very carefully whether residential property is a suitable investment for their pension funds and if so, ensure they get good independent financial advice before they go ahead.”

Source: Easier

Millions of Britons dream of owning a home abroad. But just how do you raise the money and what are the pitfalls along the way? Our guide to buying your foreign home answers your questions.

Finding a homeMany people spot something while they are on holiday. Otherwise, several magazines list foreign properties for sale, including Homes Overseas, Foreign Property News and Exchange & Mart. The internet is probably the best search tool at your disposal.

Raising the money

If you can buy with cash, do it. You will own the property outright without increasing your mortgage debt. This will mean fewer bills on your new property. If you don’t have the cash, there are two ways to pay for a foreign home. You can extend your main mortgage, or you can get a new mortgage for the property. Extending your mortgage is presently a cheap way of raising cash, but you may not be able to get a remortgage for more than 75% of the second property’s price. Remember, you risk losing both homes if you cannot keep up payments.

The other option is to take out a second mortgage on your holiday home. Several companies offer mortgages overseas, including Halifax, Abbey, which runs an overseas property service, Norwich & Peterborough building society and Barclays, which specialises in the French market.

You could also consider a mortgage in the local currency, but you need to be aware of all the risks. Taking out a foreign currency mortgage could be dangerous. The pound can move against the euro – if it weakens, your payments will increase. Properties generally have continued to rise in price this year (2004) as the pound has weakened against the euro. On the other hand if you are buying property in another country your home will be valued in that currency so it could make more sense to take out a mortgage in that currency. Abbey and Barclays both offer euro mortgages but the drawback is that you have to be paid in euros to be eligible.

Timescale

It depends on the country you are buying in. Buy property in France and it could take up to 20 weeks to complete the transaction. In Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal it will average between 12 to 18 weeks. Be aware the longer it takes to complete the transaction the more at risk you are from rate fluctuations, which could add thousands to the real cost of the property in the time it takes to complete.

You can, however, protect yourself from currency fluctuations. One option is to arrange what is called a spot transaction. Basically an instant transaction, it allows you (the buyer) to transfer funds ‘on the spot’ to the agent or vendor abroad, in line with the exchange rate at that time.

You could also arrange a forward transaction. This is when you agree to fix the exchange rate at the current level for an agreed completion date up to 12 months in the future.

Halifax will arrange both forward and spot transactions to other banks for a charge. Transferrals to the Spanish arm of Halifax are free. Barclays will arrange forward transactions for existing customers, providing you meet certain conditions, again for a charge. Abbey National offers a telegraphic transfer service which takes between two to five days in Europe. There is a charge to send a sterling or foreign currency transfer.

Currencies Direct specialise in helping people who are buying property abroad and can offer spot and forward transactions where they fix a rate for up to two years. There is a flat fee and the exchange rate will also include a small weighting for profit but there are no charges on transfers over £5,000. Contact 020 7813 0332. Travelex has an information pack on how to carry out a spot or forward transaction up to 12 months in advance. Contact 0870 010 0095.

Language barriers

You will need a reputable solicitor and valuer who is local. Ask your bank or mortgage lender, they should be able to help you find these professionals who also speak English if you don’t speak the local language. The Federation of Overseas Property Developers, Agents and Consultants has a list of lawyers who specialise in buying abroad as does the Law Society. Beware that in some countries lawyers act for you and the seller, so make sure you’re getting independent advice. Talk to a British lawyer before you sign anything, and remember, you often cannot pull out of an agreed offer as you can in England and Wales.

To help make life easier, This is Money has a free brochure service for properties abroad. Merely tick the relevant boxes in our brochure finder.

The costs

These will probably be more than you thought. Britain has some of the cheapest homebuying costs in Europe. For example, French legal fees are high – ranging between 10% and 15% of the house price. There is also a regional tax and an occupancy tax if you live there more than eight months a year.

In Spain, valuation will costs you, and loans must be signed by the public notary. Taxes and legal fees will normally amount to 8%-10% of the property value.

In Italy, costs are between 8% and 12%. In Bulgaria, which is growing in popularity with buyers, there is a notary tax and local taxes to pay, which may add a total 3% to the sale price. Solicitors can cost a further 3%, while setting up a company to make the purchase will cost £1,000 or more.

In Florida, you need to allow 4% of the price of your holiday home to cover stamp duty*, local taxes, legal fees and set-up costs.

In Cyrpus, you face stamp duty at the rate of 0.15% on £100,000 or less and then 0.2%. There is also a transfer fee of 5% on homes of £50,000 to £100,000 and then 8% after that. There is also an annual property tax of up to 3.5%.

The buying process is not the end of the expense. Check carefully what other local taxes you must pay, and be aware that in many blocks of flats you have to pay a service charge. You’ll need to open a local bank account, as services such as water and electricity may connect you only if you sign a direct debit. Local bills must be paid in local currency – this costs money to buy and in some cases foreign banks charge extra for transactions.

Tax implications

If you rent out your property abroad income will have to be declared to the British taxman. Check out the tax laws of the country you’re buying in. There may be implications if you rent or sell the house. Many countries have reciprocal tax agreements with the UK so that you don’t end up paying tax twice. You also need to make a will, as local inheritance tax laws may also come into play. For example, in France if there is no will a property cannot be passed solely to a spouse, but must be shared among any children.

You should also consider the extra insurance costs. There are a number of specialist insurers who cater for this. But you can also ask your own home insurer if they offer a deal to insure a property abroad.

The pitfalls

Don’t get carried away with the holiday atmosphere and think very carefully before committing. Most homes look nice in the warmth and sun. Make a return trip out of season to make sure you still like it and that there is the same level of local services – many resorts close up for the winter. If you are buying a ski chalet, check what happens once the ski season ends. Then ask yourself these questions:

If you buy somewhere that needs renovation, do you really want to spend your holidays doing DIY or negotiating with local builders?

If something goes wrong, can you drop everything to sort it out?

Do you really want to go to the same place every year?

 Can you afford the expenses to get to your holiday home? Remember budget airline flights may not remain at rock bottom cost forever.

Property prices

Remember that, like in the UK, the value of your home may rise or fall. Britons have a peculiar obsession with property prices, and wrongly expect them to rise above inflation indefinitely. You might find your holiday home will not rise in value and could be difficult to sell. Always bear this in mind.
Source: ThisisMoney

HUNDREDS of investors have lost millions of pounds after being duped by a string of property companies that promised to make them rich. In the first of a special two-part investigation, Financial Mail unravels the web and examines the companies that conned the public.

Kieran Connolly has done well out of misusing other people’s money. He drives a Jaguar and the house he rents is a grand affair. The Department of Trade & Industry has linked Connolly, 48, to several companies involved in bogus property deals. His wife Elizabeth, 31, has been linked to three companies.

The bungalow next to Connolly’s in the Leicestershire hamlet of John O’Gaunt, near Melton Mowbray, is home to Philip and Tina Waterfall, who have connections with five of the eight companies investigated by the DTI.

In three years, hundreds of investors handed over thousands of pounds in membership fees and deposits, expecting to receive a portfolio of buy-to-let properties. Most ended up with nothing.

Financial Mail this week focuses on the four companies most closely connected to Connolly.

Quicksell

QUICKSELL Estates was founded in 2002 in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with Connolly and his wife as its two directors. For £46.94 a month, investors were offered options to buy investment properties. Reservation fees were charged on each deal.

Quicksell advertised for investors and recruited those who attended courses run by Turningpoint Seminars and Portfolios of Distinction. Philip Waterfall, 41, was a founding director of Portfolios. His wife Tina, 38, was company secretary.

Glen Lawrence paid £4,000 to attend a Turningpoint course in 2002. Glen, 53, from Castle Bromwich, West Midlands, is married to Yvonne, who has multiple sclerosis. ‘I wanted a job at home to spend time with her,’ he says.

Glen and Yvonne, 48, paid seven £1,000 deposits on different properties. Glen says: ‘Not one of the deals was completed and we found the developers had not heard of us.’ The Lawrences have not had a penny of their £7,000 back.

In spring 2003, Quicksell was put into liquidation and Connolly was declared bankrupt.

Mansion Investments

CONNOLLY was soon promoting opportunities through Mansion Investments with Ian Jamieson, pictured below, a financial adviser in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

David and Louise Wilson were among the investors. David, who runs a car repair business, and Louise, 27, a financial controller, wanted to create a letting portfolio. David, 39, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, says: ‘Connolly promised to get me £1m worth of property.’ To help the Wilsons raise a £31,725 membership fee, Jamieson arranged a remortgage of their home, releasing £50,000 of equity.

The couple paid £3,160 in deposits to reserve properties in Manchester and Swindon and two in Northern Ireland. But the deals fell through or were delayed. They completed on a flat in Hampshire for £229,000, only to discover that the developer was selling them for £15,000 less.

Mansion Investments was formed in 2002 with engineer Barry Frost, 68, as sole director. In August 2003, Richard Smith took over. Both Smith and Frost were registered as directors from an address in Streatham, south London. This property was sold three months ago and Financial Mail has been unable to trace them.

Sterling Mansion (UK)

CONNOLLY and Jamieson, meanwhile, were expanding through the similar-sounding Mansion Investments-UK), founded in July 2003 with Jamieson as sole director. Customers of Mansion Investments were not told of the switch.

Mansion Investments (UK) and Mansion Investments had virtually identical stationery, shared premises, staff and customers, and marketed the same properties. Yet when investor David Wilson asked for his money back, Jamieson claimed the two firms were not linked.

Mansion Investments (UK) changed its name to Sterling Mansion (UK). It claimed falsely to be regulated by the Financial Services Authority and to be a member of independent financial adviser trade association IFAP.

Jamieson paid himself £200,000 in just 18 months at Sterling Mansion. As a bankrupt, Connolly could not take a big salary, but unconventional payments and ‘loans’ benefited Connolly and his associates.

Sterling Mansion went into liquidation in March. At a meeting, the liquidator stunned creditors by detailing payments such as school fees for Connolly’s children and £40,000 to cover credit card bills. Regular payments were made to Seal Properties, run by Tina Waterfall. These ‘loans’ totalled £651,000. The company completed on only 14 property sales.

SMI (Overseas)

LATE last year, Connolly moved to Sterling Mansion International, trading from Stamford, Lincolnshire. The founding directors were Tina and Philip Waterfall and within weeks the company’s name had changed, first to SMI Limited and then to SMI (Overseas) Ltd. Investors who inquired about Sterling Mansion were sold into SMI. Though his name was not on the paperwork, Connolly was in charge.

A former employee said: ‘Kieran and Liz Connolly did the hiring and approved letters sent out. Tina Waterfall was Kieran’s PA.’

The Waterfalls quit in November, and two months later Tony Nunn emerged as a director. Nunn was connected to Sterling Mansion, arranging international mortgages. He argues that SMI, backed by a mystery company in Belize, should continue trading. But questions have been raised about the company’s deals in Turkey and Spain. The DTI wants the business closed.

Connolly: ‘I’ve not got much to say’

FINANCIAL Mail caught up with Kieran Connolly as he arrived home in his Jaguar saloon. He denies wrongdoing. ‘I’ve not got much to say,’ he told us. ‘I don’t want to go into details until I lay documents before the court that will clear my name.’

Financial Mail hand-delivered a list of questions to Tina and Philip Waterfall and to Tony Nunn at SMI’s offices. They did not respond. Ian Jamieson claimed to be ‘liaising with the DTI’, but refused to discuss his role or answer questions.

The High Court wound up Sterling Mansion and Mansion Investments this month. Three related companies were also wound up. Portfolios of Distinction, Turningpoint Seminars and SMI (Overseas) are contesting winding-up orders. Hearings are due next month.

Source: thisismoney