Liquidators probe £25m car park investment scheme
Chad Griffin: ‘comprehensive investigation’
Liquidators have been appointed to two firms involved in an unregulated car park investment scheme which misled investors over promises of high returns.
Drake Estates Property Company and Aston Darby Group, which persuaded clients to invest more than £25 million in parking spaces close to Manchester and Glasgow airports, were wound up by the courts on 3 July following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Paul Allen and Chad Griffin, partners with business advisory firm FRP, have been appointed following a decision by UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma to place both companies in liquidation on the grounds of public interest.
Investors paid £25,000 for each space at Manchester’s Lode Hill site with the promise of an 8% return over the first two years, while 11% returns were guaranteed to investors at the Harbour Road, Paisley site, two miles from Glasgow Airport, for the first two years.
Investigators, however, established that these guaranteed returns were paid to investors from the original investments rather than income generated by the car parks.
The Insolvency Service said the companies made misleading claims in their sales brochures and marketing materials. Documents claimed that the sites were already generating yields of 8% and failed to make clear that the companies did not own the sites when initial sales were made.
Until recently the Glasgow site has been operated by ‘My Easy Park’, an online car park booking business. Due to the liquidation of the companies, Drake Estates Property Company and Aston Darby Group have ceased trading.
Commenting, joint liquidator Chad Griffin said: “We will be undertaking a comprehensive investigation into the car park investment scheme and various transactions that have been undertaken.
“We will also be assessing how best to maximise value for creditors, including short term management contract arrangements and an ultimate sale of the Glasgow site.
“Interested potential operators or acquirers are encouraged to contact the Edinburgh office of FRP as soon as possible.”