Churchills, a Karl Goldthorpe run company filed for liquidation last year. Many investors lost money in what has been described by a top city solicitor as "an obvious large scale fraud". This blog is designed to inform other victims and interested parties in the sorry history of this affair. We would also like fellow victims to post their own story, as a comment, so that there is a single site with the whole story presented.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

History

1. The Churchill Companies

There have been a whole set of companies related to the people involved in this affair. They include:
  • Churchill Innovative Solutions(CIS)
  • Churchill Property Overseas (CPO)
  • Churchill OU (dissolved 2008)
  • Churchill Estate Agents (dissolved 2005)
  • Churchill Property Lettings (dissolved 2005)
  • Frinteel
  • Ecobuild
  • EJ Development
For the most part these companies have been located on the Isle of Wight (IoW). In all cases the (managing) director has been Karl Goldthorpe (see later). Goldthorpe left CPO in 2007.

Goldthorpe tried to put CIS into liquidation in July 2008. But after an investor protested to Companies House this was put on hold. The company still appears to exist.

Frinteel is a company registered in Estonia and the land there is registered in its name. 

Churchill OU is another Estonian company that was responsible for the property development there. It was also wound up in 2008, with one of the directors in Estonia, Lee Williams, allegedly walking off with large sums of money, although he denies this.

EJ Development held the money in the UK before it should have been transferred to Estonia.  At the beginning of 2008 it is thought that some £400K of investors money was held here.

The main function of CIS and CPO seems to have been to sell property overseas. They also started a sideline: their own attempt at property development/marketing in Estonia.

2. The Victims

The victims are in two classes: those who were trying to buy Churchill properties in Estonia and those who were buying through Churchill elsewhere. All victims were left with large losses when CIS stopped trading. We have been in contact with over 140 other investors and our cummulative loss stands at around £ 1.5M. However there may be many other people who have lost money that we simply do not know about.

2.1 Estonia

Churchills sold properties on four sites near Parnu. These were:
  • Churchill Village
  • Tahkuranna Beach Resort
  • Parnu River development
  • Audru Golf resort
Incredibly they only had planning permission for the Tahkuranna development. Here three wooden quads have been constructed, not in any way related to the original specification. Moreover the provision for sewage is apparently inadequate and all other infrastructure is missing. The site is now abandoned and neglected.

No development whatsoever has taken place at the other three sites.

2.2 Elsewhere

The story here is of Churchills taking deposits for property being developed by third parties and simply not passing on the money. This appears to be blatant theft. The developments we are aware of are:
  • Braganza World, Goa, India
  • Turtle Bay, Maio, Cape Verde
The Braganza World development never happened, and in fact never had planning permission. See this collection of stories and this website

3 Perfect Day (PD)

The final piece in the puzzle is the financial advisory company Perfect Day (now, surprise surprise, in liquidation). PD recommended to many of its clients that that they should invest through Churchills (they were actually charging for this terrible advice).

However PD had a rather incestuous relationship with Churchills, certainly not one to encourage impartial financial advice. Dale Pilkington worked for PD and set up the project of recommending Churchill's investments - at which point he left PD to become sales director at Churchills, where he remained until the company was liquidated.

Once it became obvious that the whole Estonian development had collapsed PD acted with an incredible lack of business integrity, and failed to even communicate the full facts to their clients. On the 19th of December 2008 PD went into administration and were subsequently bought by two fomer employees. They set up a new company called Ablestoke with themselves as directors. They have employed many of the Perfect Day consultants and operate from the same premises. And Ablestoke consultants are telling their original Perfect Day clients the following: "there is no change to your affairs and the admin of it. We have just changed our compliance route back to Intrinsic and hence new company set up".

Intrinsic are a financial services company who used to provide services to Perfect Day before PD changed to a company called Money Portal, who were to provide PD with substantial numbers of client leads. On the strength of the Money Portal deal PD began a big investment in expanding the business, but when things went wrong with the Money Portal deal PD had to be put into administration. The CEO of Money Portal had to resign and the CEO of Perfect Day will not be part of Ablestoke.

4. Related Fraud

Zoe Dare Hall, in her Sunday Mail Article, describes how she lost £26,000 when she invested with Balti Paradiis in the Valgeranna Golf development, Parnu. The Directors of this company were Chris Tonkinson and Lee Williams (of Churchill OU). Apparently all documents relating to the Balti Paradiis development were kept in the Churchill OU office.  Tonkinson also took money through his other company, Crichton Developments.

Once again this development never happened and some £300,000 went missing.



6 comments:

  1. Chris Tonkinson and Churchill, please clarify the link, I met and invested with him for so called development in Estonia - with "crichton property Developments"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chris Tonkinson and Lee Williams were
    partners. Lee Williams managed the Churchill office in Parnu. Fingers in many pies all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm guessing there is very little that any of us can do now to recoup any costs, but would be grateful to anybody who can advise otherwise.

    wcallaway@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting reading. I was also suckered into buying a house near Estonia. Although I actually have a plot with a [derelict] building on it I was certainly overcharged. Lee was certainly a smooth talker and his staff were all adept at lying.

    ReplyDelete
  6. All buyers of Gold Sharm, in Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh, lost thousands through churchill innovations. Leaving some of us homeless and applying to the council for help after spending years paying off for a mortgage.

    ReplyDelete

Followers

About Me

We are a group of three investors who have lost money to the Churchills fraud. This blog gives background information about the fraud and about action being taken against the perpetrators