December 9, 2023

Tony Hetherington is a crack researcher for the Financial Mail on Sunday who fights readers by uncovering the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those left without funds. Find out how to contact him below.

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DP writes: Can you help as I am experiencing a delay in redemption of my investment bond issued by Leonreed Limited, which also calls itself Leonne International.

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Tony Hetherington says: In 2020, you invested £20,000 in credit notes issued by Leonreed, the company behind Leonne International. You were promised interest of 12 percent per annum and the repayment of your investment in July 2021. So it’s July 2021 and your money hasn’t arrived.

Where exactly did your money go? Leonne International is a quirky business run by quirky character Michael Huston, who also used the name Michael McQueen.

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Lost in space: Leonreed, led by Michael Huston, has said it has invested £2m in a satellite firm.

The company claims to be a “leading multinational private equity firm” and its detailed brochure boasts: “Leonne International’s team has a track record of proactively identifying, selecting and acquiring profitable businesses that can add value through efficiency improvements with the provision of long-term term capital and operational support. management teams.” Beautiful words, but empty words. It claims to have 12 offices on six continents with investments in healthcare, media and financial services.

It says he is partnering with global league firms including Goldman Sachs, KPMG and JPMorgan. However, the only reports the company has ever produced show that it does not have a single employee.

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In fact, Leonreed did not submit its 2021 financials, which were legally due in June of this year. On August 30th, Companies House officials began the process of expelling the company, but just over a week ago, on September 30th, they temporarily suspended the action. Often this means that the creditor has asked to keep the company so that it can be sued, or that an investigation has begun.

At the time you invested in Leonne International, the company announced that it was investing over £2 million in a completely separate business that was planning to build a missile site in Shetland.

The Shetland Space Center is operated by Britain’s SaxaVord Spaceport, headquartered in Grantown upon Spey, south of Inverness, and the investment would give Leonna a 20 per cent stake in the project, which was to offer funds to launch commercial satellites.

At the time, the chief executive of the space project, Frank Strang, said he was “delighted to have Leonne International as a partner.” Since then, the relationship has clearly soured. They couldn’t be helped by a warning issued by the Financial Conduct Authority in March 2020 – just weeks after you invested – which stated that Leonne was not authorized to offer investments or other financial products and advised potential investors to be cautious.

Frank Strang told me: “SaxaVord UK Spaceport has no affiliation with Michael Huston or any of his companies. SaxaVord UK Spaceport is not involved in or involved in the arrangements between Michael Huston (or any of his companies) and his or their investors, whether in respect of corporate bonds or otherwise.”

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He declined to say whether the promised £2 million had reached his company, but he said that all proceeds had been returned and that Leonne had no stake in the spaceport scheme. And this means that all questions now fall to Michael Huston.

I asked him to explain why you didn’t get paid when your loan expired last year. I also asked him to confirm that no matter how much he invested in the spaceport project, the money was returned to him. And I asked for details to back up his pamphlet’s claims about stakes in large companies. Huston told me that he would be happy to discuss anything I asked.

He said: “We have done some fantastic things here in Leonne and will continue to do so.” And he added: “Let me know how you would like to proceed, as I am sure you know that I will legally pursue any inaccurate or misleading information.”

I suggested to Huston five different times and days that we could talk. He said he would answer my questions via email. When there were no responses, Huston told me that he was “extremely busy” but was reviewing what you told me about your credit note.

Finally, more than a month ago, Huston promised, “I’ll email you the necessary questions and position on Mr. P by early next week.” Of course, he didn’t, and he has remained silent ever since. Huston is no stranger to questionable company deals and bankrupt firms. Last year, Companies House forcibly expelled two management consulting companies he heads, as well as two financial management companies.

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And in 2017, Huston was charged with fraud, although the proceedings were later dropped, and the authorities said: “The Crown reserves the right to continue the case in the future if additional evidence appears.”

In the absence of any response from Huston, huge question marks hang above the statements in his investment brochure. The questions I asked him should now be repeated, whether it be the Bankruptcy Office, the FCA, or even the police. He can’t be allowed to get away with it.

It cost me £60… to talk to Skye!

EU writes: I contacted Sky TV to change my contract. I waited over an hour and to my dismay found that I had been charged nearly £60.

I contacted the O2 phone company, who said Sky was billing. Sky offered me Tesco vouchers which I declined as I was paying in pounds and not Tesco vouchers.

We are in our 70s, we have a fixed income, and a week of shopping is enough for this amount.

Reloaded: Sky seems to have kept the old expensive premium rate number.

Overpayment: Sky seems to have kept the old expensive premium rate…