Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Jonty Crossick is a man to be avoided by everyone who wishes to keep their pension intact.  This blog is issued in the public interest to alert people to steer well clear of anything this man does.

Mr Crossick is at liberty to sue me if he thinks I am libeling him. However, I have something in excess of 1000 documents to prove my assertion that any contact with him will damage your wealth, and would be happy to produce those documents in any UK court.

I, and about ten thousand other folks, have had the misfortune to be misled by Jonty Crossick. He is either totally incompetent or an out and out crook. The way the money has gone, the latter is the more obvious choice.

To my certain knowledge Mr Crossick has touted for funding for close on a hundred property projects. Out of all those schemes only one has had a partly successful outcome. All the others have led to massive losses for about ten thousand folks.

He set up property deals in the north of England. That entire business was put into bankruptcy with massive losses.

He set up a grand scheme for investing in property in Eastern Europe. That fell apart with investors losing over £100 million. I even lost money on that myself. Crossick’s partner, Craig Cameron, was fined £300,000 for dodgy dealing, and investors’ money was siphoned out of the companies and has gone missing, presumably into Crossick’s pocket. Not a single penny of what I invested actually reached the project I thought I’d invested in.

And now, here he is, jumping up again, offering to help people invest. What will happen is that he will help you transfer your hard earned investment funds into his pocket. I’m sure he has some amazing schemes up his sleeve. Don’t go near them. Don’t go anywhere near him. You will regret it if you do.

I’m surprised he has found a group of partners. They may be honest, but if they are allying themselves to Jonty Crossick either they haven’t done a check on his past, in which case they are incompetent, or they are crooks as well. Either way, are they the kind of people you want to do business with?

Who am I talking about here? First, Jonty Crossick, scam artiste extraordinaire. Second, his company Earthhawk. I know nothing about his partners, but they are prepared to do business with a person with an well documented history of fraud and incompetence. All I can say is that if you ally yourself with a crook, you must expect people to think you are a crook also. David Sherman, Dilip Sahajpal, Eva Eastman, Rob Elings; can any of you guys say with a straight face that you have checked out Mr Crossick’s past history of fraud and business incompetence, and yet you are still prepared to do business with him, and that past history is okay with you? Is so, you must expect any mud thrown your way to stick.

Let’s put some figures to the list of woes investors have had to put up with from Jonty Crossick.

It is estimated that Jonty Crossick and former wife Alise Crossick have defrauded up to 25,000 investors out of sums in excess of €250 MILLION. For example, Jonty and Alise Crossick’s own Ready2Invest website boasted that they had “sold over €400 million of off-plan property to our 25,000-strong network of investors in 16 countries across the world…” and “we also operate a private equity arm, which has raised over €150 million for 18 developments in eight countries, with an aggregate gross development value of nearly €2 billion”.

All these deals went down the drain and left those thousands of investors with massive losses.

You can see a list of the known Crossick schemes where investors have lost significant sums of money at www.r2iactiongroup.org/r2i-schemes.html. If you invested in any of these, you may wish to make contact with the R2i Action Group via that website.

I have not tracked a single investor who achieved the financial returns promised by Jonty Crossick – and only a handful (in the Bayside Silver Coast development in Portugal) made within 10% of the promised returns.

You have been warned. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS PERSON OR WITH HIS ASSOCIATES!

If you want to read about some of his scams from other sources, try these websites.

http://www.fca.org.uk/news/fca-bans-and-fines-two-ucis

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/fca-bans-and-fines-former-burlington-director

Please note, the only reason Jonty Crossick has not been nailed by the FCA is because he has never run a regulated business, he gets others to front the schemes. That means that if anything goes wrong once you sign up you will not be protected in any way. What you lose, you lose.

john clare
(one of the people who have been deceived and defrauded by Mr Crossick)

Advertisements

A few years back Green Planet Plc starting selling plots of land in the Province of Natal in North East Brazil. They operated out of expensive premises in The Gherkin in the City of London.

The main area for sale was at The White Sands Country Club, and White Sands Towers, just a few miles to the north of the city of Natal.

Admittedly this is a great area for development, but was it a great deal?

Purchasers of land at White Sands are mostly still waiting for certificates to show they own anything. Some have been offered planning certificates, but these relate to what we would normally call outline consent rather than detailed consent. My understanding is that the planning certificates relate to what the Brazilians called the loteamento, or the area classification. This is stage one of a rather lengthy process that can take four years or more to come to fruition.

To the best of my knowledge there have been no updates.

A trust certificate was issued to some purchasers claiming that a company called Title and Trust was acting as trustee for the operation. That company ceased trading at least two years ago.

Green Planet’s website, though still online, has not been updated for nearly two years. The company moved from The Gherkin into smaller offices in Soho Square. They then moved again into even smaller officers in Covent Garden, and my understanding is that there is one room, a desk, and a telephone, that is never answered.

It also appears that most of the directors have resigned, and the company is a skeleton. Not only is the UK version of the company no longer functioning, but neither are the two related companies in Gibraltar.

In short, the situation would appear to be that the company no longer exists, and the money that has been paid over for plots of land has gone god knows where, and there is in all probability no ownership of land in Brazil at all.

Someone claiming to be called Brian Hubbard appears to be acting as some kind of watchdog for the company. What his purpose is, is not clear at the moment, and although he has offered to speak to me, he has not returned my calls, neither has he sent any meaningful email of explanation to me. For the record, Brian’s email address is brian.hubbard@greenplanetinvestment.com

Whether there is anything tangible that could be called Green Planet Investment is another matter.

A copy of this post will be emailed to him, and I will post any reply he chooses to make. However, at the moment it would appear that Green Planet was yet another fraudulent operation, and those of you who have been defrauded are invited to join a group to see what, if anything, can be salvaged from this mess.

Please note, I am no longer updating these pages. There is a wealth of information on this site, but new blog entries are now being made on the Unique Property Site:

http://www.property.org.uk/unique/blogs/unique-property-blog.html

Buying in Lisbon

Part 2 of my reply to Pierre about buying a ruin in Lisbon

“We want to move to Lisbon permanently early 2013 and found several nice rentals.
But we also found an old house in Lisbon, on the border with Alfama. It needs very serious renovation (practically RECONSTRUCTION). But once done, we would have a T2 for ourselves, and 2 T1 for daily/weekly rental with great views (including the river). Total costs aprx. 250K. Would you consider this a risky investment?”

In part 1 of my reply I looked at the general economic outlook in Portugal. It is not good. However, let’s now look at the particular deal.

If this deal was anywhere else in Portugal I would say it was way too expensive. I must admit I dont know what house prices or rentals go for in Alfama. It certainly would appear to be a great spot overlooking the estuary. You really do need to check other prices in that area. A quarter of a million just for a ruin sounds crazy. Let me put it like this. I have a three bed apartment in London. It is close to several tube stations, and there is a massive amount of work available for good pay within walking distance. It is worth about the same amount.

Lisbon wages are not as high as London wages, so why is a ruin worth so much money? Something sounds not right here. I can in that area find for sale a property split into two apartments ready to move into for €150,000 (that’s half the price of your project) so unless the one you have your eye on has spectacular views from the top of the hill with courtyard and garden I have no idea why it costs so much.

A capital city should have a proper rental market, but you really do need to tramp around the streets and see what deals you can find, then get back and get out the spreadsheet and do your homework. Down here in the Algarve you’d have to be a total idiot to buy anything with a view to renting it out. You can rent a 1 bed apartment for €50 a week. For twice that you get something really nice. Lisbon should be much better, and at least Alfama is a hip place to be.

On the other hand, to put things into perspective, in this week’s Unique Members’ Bulletin there is a hotel in Cumbria going for £35,000. That is the price in a well known beauty spot in a wealthy country. You have a home and a business for a pittance. You cant get that kind of value in Portugal. Wages here are about €1,000 a month. That’s less than half what they are in the UK. House prices have to fall considerably in Portugal. They are still extortionately high.

I have been asked to look at Turkey and Sicily next. Let’s see what turns up.

john

I’ve been asked a question. It’s an old one. Those of you who have been reading my material for some time will know my views on buying homes abroad, and especially holiday homes. But what about businesses?

I’ve been asked whether it’s a good idea to buy a property (or two properties) in the Lisbon area. The problem with this is that every deal is unique, but let me throw out a few questions, and make a few observations.

First, I would be very wary of starting any business in the eurozone at this time. You may be successful, but it is a time to be wary. You would need to check out how similar businesses are going, and what the competition is. Is there room for more? In my experience there is very little room for many traditional businesses. The way to find out is to rent somewhere for three months and wander round the businesses and see for yourself how they are doing.

The second thing to look at is the business climate. Some countries are pleased to see you. Panama is one, Singapore is another. There are good places to work in. You dont even have to work in Singapore. How about KL? Dont want to go so far? Then why come to Portugal? There is an anti-business climate here.

You should go where the tax structure favours business ventures, especially start-ups, which is why I mentioned Panama. Check it out. Portugal has a tax structure that seeks to close down businesses.

Let me show you something very simple which will show you what I mean. Tax structures are put in place to do one of two things. The first is to bring in enough money to fund government expenses. The second is used to discourage some activity. Tobacco is taxed highly, ostensibly to discourage users. Certain activities are taxed heavily because they pollute, and so on.

However, let’s have a look at how Portugal’s tax system works. A small business is heavily taxed, and the level of purchase tax (IVA) is punishingly high at 23%. At that rate it is set to discourage the purchase of goods and services. This will tend to depress the manufacture of goods and the provision of services, and so the economy will contract. That is apparently what Portugal’s government wants. Is that the kind of business environment you want to enter?

Let me explain how revenues are usually collected. All taxation is primarily based upon the maximising of revenues. This is done by using a bell curve model and test taxing. A bell curve is a mathematical structure which looks like a pregnant woman, or a guy with a beer gut, viewed sideways. In other words we have a straight line to the right, and a curve to the left. The curve starts at 0 at the top and ends at 0 at the bottom. Each of these points represents the collection of zero tax.

What any government seeks to find is what is called the sweet spot, the band where most tax is collected, the fattest part of the curve, or the furthest extent of that beer belly. When you find that region you keep your tax levels close to that point. If you move away from that band you will automatically get less tax. So, if you raise taxes it means either of two things. It either means you haven’t found the sweet spot yet, or that you want to decrease the tax take for some reason, or, alternatively, seek to depress that particular market.

Portugal has decided to make its tax system punitive instead of productive. It has moved away from the sweet spot. There will therefore be a lower tax take, and people will be discouraged from making money. That’s not a good environment in which to start a business.

It doesn’t mean you wont be successful, but it does mean there are head winds to cope with.

There are other points to make on this subject, but I’ll come to them next week.
john

I have been saying for some time that it is impossible to second guess the way the eurozone mess is going to go because of the continued idiotic interference of politicians. I have also said that the euro is a currency that survives purely on confidence. Well, I think we have just had a serious change in perceptions.

Confidence in Greece using the euro is evaporating fast. Once that mood gets enough traction it will be impossible to stop, and the country will be forced out of the eurozone simply because it will become a monetary wasteland.

Those of you who read the New York Times (probably not a lot) will have noticed some interesting articles recently about Greece, Italy and Spain.

The news is that large corporations in the US and other countries are preparing for a Greek exit from the euro. Several companies, including Visa, say they can cope with a Greek exit within 24 hours, and they have contingency plans for a new currency. It looks as though politicians are going to be side-lined on this issue at last.

The problem is one of confidence. All fiat currencies rely solely on confidence. Hard currencies are backed by something else, usually gold, maybe oil. Fiat currencies are backed by consensus. If you look at a euro note you would be hard put to work out what it really is, who printed it, who guarantees it, and what it’s supposed to be worth. It might have a 20 written on it, but what that 20 is worth is another matter.

The fact that more and more international companies are questioning Greece’s ability to survive within the eurozone (which is really so obvious only a politician cant see it) means that confidence is going. With that gone, the currency is effectively gone too. It’s no good a politician saying we can paper it over. If no-one believes the politician, that statement is worthless. International businesses have simply stopped believing the politicians.

The question is, who is going to pay workers, and with what. Greek companies will have to do what they have to do, but what about international businesses? What about trade? Most firms dealing with Greece are already demanding money up front. Banks are already organising transport mechanisms to get bags of cash over the border to pay workers. Obviously with a currency change all banking will come to a halt.

This also means that companies have emptied their Greek bank accounts. All this worsens the situation, and it is clear the euro in Greece already has no international value. There could still be a proper rescue but the effectiveness of that rescue would have to be believed. Unfortunately no-one believes there can be any effective rescue. One of the major political problems is the stark reality that Greece has not put in place a single reform demanded as part of the previous bailouts.

If you look at the fundamentals, Greece is in a far worse position now than it was three years ago. It long ago went beyond the point of no return. Businessmen are realists. I would say it’s over.

The real question then is, what happens about Spain and Italy? I note the airlines are making contingency plans for a Spanish exit. I think that might well be good for Spain, but it will put enormous pressure on Portugal if Spain does decamp. I’m not convinced at this stage, but I think it’s all over for Greece. If the politicians hang it out much longer they will do enormous damage to the whole european economy.

There are interesting times ahead. Let’s just hope we can get the Greek thing over and concentrate on the next problem.

A massive devaluation is on the cards for the new currency. That will make property cheap. But it wont solve the dead-beat state of the economy or the various restrictive practises which are still in place, and look likely to remain, or the massive government subsidy situation, which presumably is about to recoil from a serious shock after the bailouts stop.

One other interesting fact. Forgers have stopped bothering to forge euro notes. That is significant. If the forgers dont think the currency is worth forging what the heck are the rest of us to think?

Now might be the time to start looking at nice tourist spots with a view to buying after the crash. But do wait for that crash, it’s coming.

john

Auction Prices

I’ve been receiving several bulletins telling me about the state of the UK property market. The general view is doom and gloom. Prices are going to tank with a vengeance. Apparently we can expect a 25-30% drop sometime over the course of the next year or so.

This is an interesting view of the market. In theory prices ought to be dropping more, but during a recession people dont tend to move around so much so the market is quieter. It’s not that prices drop, they simply stagnate because not much is going on. You have to have an active market for prices to rise. You also have to have an active market for prices to fall. Prices will only fall when interest rates rise. Then the buy-to-let mob will be squeezed, and there will be a rush for the exits. That’s when prices will tank.

Those who want bargains will then sit back and smirk for a couple of years, and then go out and buy. But I’ll let you know when the time is right. We aren’t there yet.

Meanwhile I did promise a couple of weeks back that I would do a quick calculation on the auction index to see whether I thought prices in the real market place (by that I mean where money has changed hands, rather than prices asked) were still above where they should be.

My conclusion is that prices are seen to be too high by the general public, and there is undoubted price resistance.

The index should read somewhere between 11-20 to indicate a normal market. Anything above 20 represents an expensive market. Anything above 30 represents ridiculously high prices which are unaffordable.

The average across the country for July came in at just over 22, so prices are, in general, slightly higher than perhaps they should be in a normal market. Given that we are in a depression prices are too high. Those figures do include an insane figure from the Bristol area of 42.85, and one anomaly in the South of 0.

The most reliable figure is for the North of England where I used the most results. The overall average was 28.36, which is very high. Prices obviously have to come down from these levels.

The lowest reading was in East Anglia where I found a figure of 11.76, which is about where I would expect it to be for the kind of economic situation we are currently in.

If I am right and rents begin to waver and fall by the middle of next year, we will have the scene set for a resumption of house prices drifting down. However, as we have a largely stalled market, I dont think the falls will be great. Prices will only begin to fall seriously when interest rates go up. That could be some time yet as the whole fragile mess of the world banking system is only held in place by low interest rates

Unfortunately low interest rates stifle business, as it becomes uneconomic to lend money; and in a capitalist system, without credit, enterprises dont get off the ground, and economic life just stagnates.

Almost all economies are now managed economies, and they are managed for political not economic ends. That means the mess goes on. That also probably means interest rates will stay low all next year and maybe the year after. We only get a crash when they go up.

Meanwhile, prices in the eurozone seem to be holding, although the euro itself is not. Expect more falls against other currencies as it hits more head winds. The trouble is, Europe is the UK’s biggest trading partner, so any fall in the euro will affect the economic life of the UK, and that will also act as a drag on sterling.

Now isn’t the time to be looking for bargains. They simply aren’t there.

john