Sunday 21 July 2013

Who does SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd protect

“The aim of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the Regulations) is to detect, deter and disrupt financial crime and terrorist financing by reducing the possibility of legitimate businesses being used for money laundering or terrorist financing.”  From The Office of Fair Trading website. 

The whole point of adhering to this and the Proceeds of Crime Act is not to say that criminal activity IS taking place it is to DETER it, however if information comes forward at a later stage, then identifying what has transpired becomes easier for the Authorities.

What transpired within the Pleasurama debacle between Thanet Council and Shaun Keegan is a case in point and best explained using the “Horse and Cart” analogy. I have correspondence from TDC that indicates that they are dealing only with a UK based and registered Ltd Company, that much is true, however that is not the entire truth and the order of events and why they occurred is important in understanding what transpired.
 December 2002 Terry Painter stated “Shaun Keegan is the Project Manager of SFP Venture Partners (an overseas company)”, the beneficial ownership of this company wasn’t known at the time and only came to light in September 2008.
2008 “SFP Venture Partners is owned 100% by SFP Services”. This company is registered in Geneva and the general manager is Colin Hill. Who the ultimate beneficial owner is remains unclear. This company had the £1M that was paid through SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd so has to be connected.

In 2006, prior to the 1st agreement being signed, Shaun Keegan incorporated SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd. The effect of this greatly helped TDC in their dealings with Shaun Keegan as it does several things. 

Firstly it allowed TDC to say they were dealing with a properly constituted legal entity registered in the United Kingdom, something that up to then garnered a great deal of criticism from the public. 

Secondly it enabled them to do some “due diligence” which was extremely difficult with a company registered overseas. 

Thirdly Shaun Keegan would normally have had to identify himself especially as he is the figurehead for the developers; the incorporation of a UK company has allowed the focus to be placed on the UK Company alone. A search of the Electoral Records for the UK has him on the voters list in Essex up to 2002 then he disappears.
In view of the monies being channeled through the UK registered Company in 2009 from SFP Services in Geneva one wonders just why it mattered to either Shaun Keegan or the Council to have a UK registered company as Keegan could just as easily have set up another Geneva based company to develop Pleasurama and it makes you wonder on whose behalf the UK based company was set up. 

Why identify the party you are dealing with:

The Home Office estimates that serious organised crime in the UK generates approximately £20 billion a year. Purchasing property in the UK and overseas continues to be a common method used by serious organised criminals to launder the proceeds of criminal activity. The advantage of doing so is that large amounts of criminal funds can be ‘cleaned’ in a single transaction.

 This equally applies to Estate agents and Councils selling Freehold/Leasehold Property or Freehold/Leasehold Land. 

What to look for (or what not to do)

Knowing your customer 

By exercising due diligence in taking steps to inspect and verify client identity documents, you may
identify anomalies.
Examples include:
•  Use of false documentation
•  Reluctance to provide personal details
•  Doubts about the source of client funds
•  Refusal to provide the requisite proof of identification or residence
•  Inconsistencies in documentation such as anomalies in dates photographs or signatures


Anonymous said...

Well argued.

There are three laws in UK which make it an offence to "do nothing". IE To charge citizens with duties and make it an offence to fail to comply.

(1) The Statute that displaced Misprision of Felony Common Law 1967

(2) Misprision of Treason

(3) Proceeds of Crime Act

All councils have guidelines to ensure that they have fulfilled their duties concerning the Proceeds of Crime Act. The money laundering guidelines.

Here you appear to have TDC trying retrospectively (4 years) to carry out duties they should have first carried out in 2002 ?

It has been mentioned on Thanet blogs and links to other council guidelines (sometimes moderated off the blog by such as Michael Child I believe) have been posted.

There have been attempts to explain that no one is accusing Shaun Keegan of money laundering. The accusation is against TDC of failing to use the Money Laundering Guidelines. A lack of due diligence in the process of committing to a contract.

Keegan does not have to worry himself one iota with this. He has a contract ?

I think he is in a win win situation Ian. In a way the developers make me smile. They won't put their hands up till the bullet is half way up the barrel. At this time ? No bullet. They are good at their game and TDC are poor at theirs. Contractual good faith might be a bit of a turkey shoot for the developers barristers come the day ?

So maybe the game is mitigating loss not walking away to start afresh unscathed ? Richard

God help us said...

Whatever happens in the next round of talks and "due diligence" I hope TDC do not come to regret doing a proper job before they signed an agreement with SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd. I think this will all end in tears !!

Anonymous said...

I agree Barry. These developers know their game.

I think that many cllrs must secretly be grateful to Ian for focussing on the end game when they were just drifting and hoping someone else would kick off.

One to watch though though may be my Number One above ? Very tricky.

Softly softly. Richard

God help us said...

the timeline posted is fact and evidence according to TDC Legal adviser is no longer confidential. Maybe TDC would like to make everything from 2002 to 2009 available on their website.

God help us said...

For anyone interested TDC are not included in the group called individuals, however naming a Councillor or staff member would be.
English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements which are alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual (or individuals; note that under English law companies are legal persons, and may bring suit for defamation) in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him, her or them. Allowable defences are justification (i.e. the truth of the statement), fair comment (i.e. whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), and privilege (i.e. whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest).

Anonymous said...

Have you thought any more about the Authorities (case law) that might apply to the issues in the Pleasurama debacle.

God help us said...

anon 21:14 what case law?

God help us said...

anon 21:14 what case law?

Readit said...

It seems very strange that TDC are keen to promote that their agreements are with SFP Ventures(UK)Ltd when this company was only set up in 2006.

SFP Ventures Partners Ltd (A ficticious UK company) is stated on the planning permission in Jan 2004 although the £22,000 application fee was paid by Robert Leonard Developments Ltd and the architects PRC Fewster said this was a mistake on the application form.