January 22, 2018

Tchenguiz’s PR company New Century Media detonates Bottomley during Queen’s Speech debate

  • Tchenguiz PR man named in Commons

  • ‘Apology’ by obscure website to Vincent Tchenguiz read to MPs

  • Sir Peter asks what was Tchenguiz’s role during the Peverel / Cirrus price fixing scandal?

  • Tchenguiz freehold valuations questioned

  • Why are huge loans issued against valuations ‘created from thin air’?

  • Government should put pressure on professional standards bodies to ‘terrify life’ out of those assisting dubious practices

David Leslie and PR boss David Burnside, of New Century, which is employed by Vincent Tchenguiz. Leslie's email to Sir Peter Bottomley resulted in Tchenguiz's leasehold interests coming to the attention of the Commons

David Leslie and PR boss David Burnside, of New Century Media, which is employed by Vincent Tchenguiz. Leslie’s email to Sir Peter Bottomley resulted in Tchenguiz’s leasehold interests coming to the attention of the Commons

An initiative by Vincent Tchenguiz’s PR company New Century Media spectacularly misfired last night with junior PR man David Leslie being named in the Commons and his client’s leasehold activities coming under scrutiny.

Just after 9pm, Sir Peter Bottomley made the last intervention in the debate on the Queen’s Speech to discuss Tchenguiz’s involvement in leasehold.

He referred to leaseholders “who in many ways have been brutally abused, financially challenged and often intimidated”.

He questioned Tchenguiz’s involvement in retirement leasehold management, referring to the OFT finding into the collusive tendering scandal by Peverel / Cirrus.

He demanded answers to the over-valuation of freeholds acting as security to huge loans

Reading his reply to Leslie, he asked: “Has your client ever made an apology on any leasehold issue or action?”

Sir Peter left the house in no doubt that the leasehold interests of Tchenguiz would be coming under further public scrutiny.

Tchenguiz and his brother Robert are claiming £300 million off taxpayers owing to their arrest on wrong evidence by the Serious Fraud Office in February 2011. The case, scheduled for three months, begins in October.

The debate was prompted by an email from Leslie to Sir Peter yesterday afternoon including a copy of an apology to Tchenguiz by an obscure website “Over 50s Housing UK” . Link here

TchenguizapologyLeslie, aged 25, works for New Century Media, the PR company owned by former Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside, a pugnacious PR veteran who was employed by British Airways at the time of its controversies with Virgin in the 1990s.

The apology stated Tchenguiz had “no knowledge of or involvement in any collusive tendering. We also accept that we have no basis for the claim that Mr Tchenguiz subjected Peverel residents to ‘constant financial clipping.’ We apologise to Mr Tchenguiz for the distress and embarrassment caused.”

Leslie pointed out that Sebastian O’Kelly, of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, had contacted Sir Peter last December over a Tchenguiz-owned site. He did not indicate that Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation should be considering an apology of its own.

The Over 50s Housing UK apology “underlines our view that misconceptions and factual inaccuracies regularly appear in the media about the leasehold sector in general”, Leslie wrote.

Sir Peter told the House: “I want to spell out what is happening, and if members of the Tchenguiz family say that by getting a newspaper [sic] to produce a paragraph, their hands are clean, by all means discuss that in public.”

Sir Peter fired off a series of questions to Leslie by email that were read to the House.

He asked to “see in detail any and all exchanges with Over 50s Housing UK”.

Regarding the Peverel / Cirrus scandal, established by the OFT last December, he said:

“What we know about collusive tendering is that when people complained to the economics crimes unit of the police, to the Serious Fraud Office and to the Office of Fair Trading, because Peverel declared that they had been involved in collusive tendering, when it turned out that they had obtained through their subsidiary Cirrus all the work for new calls systems, which were often not needed and almost always at prices which were unjustified, there was no penalty.

“That is relevant to what Mr David Leslie has told me about Mr Vincent Tchenguiz not being involved at all.

“If relevant, I anticipate being told who established and who controlled the body that did control and had influence on Peverel when so many bad things were done to so many.

“Who was responsible for selecting the professional advisors and others associated with the valuations of properties bought, the loans obtained, the audits of and the responses to leaseholders when presenting valid questions and challenges to the way they were treated.”

“My intention is to lay out in Parliament the details of problems of the past, of the present and how life can be better in the future.”

Sir Peter then turned his attention to the questionable values of freeholds, against which are secured huge loans.

“One thing that the Government should think of doing is asking the professional standards bodies whether they believe they should be disciplining their members—chartered surveyors, valuers, accountants or bankers—when they go along with valuations created apparently out of thin air by the owners of freehold blocks

“For example, at Charter Quay in Kingston, a trust bought a freehold for about £700,000. It revalued it at over £3 million and borrowed £2 million against it, and when eventually the leaseholders managed to get the prospect of having a court decide what the value was, it turned out to be £900,000.

“A company cannot have a valuation trebled or quadrupled in its company accounts without a valuer putting their name to it, an accountant doing the accounts, and auditors and bankers getting involved.”

He urged the government to make professional standards bodies “terrify the life out of others who go along with clients who say, ‘I can arbitrarily increase the value.’”

“The only way a freeholder can put up the value is to have an income stream that goes way beyond the ground rents in the original leases.

“If, for example, they get insurance commissions of 40 per cent or 60 per cent, and if they can take exit fees that have been decided by the OFT and Peverel to be unjustified …”

Sir Peter claimed virtually every MP – including the prime minister and the chancellor – had constituencies where leasehold issues exist.

“I warn that this is an issue that does not just affect my constituents; each individual constituent may be old, elderly, vulnerable or poor, and without good advice cannot stand up against the big people.”

Sir Peter apologised to the House that he not attended the full debate. In part, this was because he was discussing leasehold issues with Lord Best and LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, whose work he praised.

Lord Best hosts an all-party Lords group on leasehold, which includes Baroness Gardner of Parkes.

Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North, asked Bottomley: “Does he feel that the House should be made aware of the gigantic sums of money that the Tchenguiz family give to the Conservative party?”

Sir Peter replied: “That is true. Certainly it should be known. I am a great believer in transparency.

“I believe that if things can be said in the open and justified or criticised, we are much better off.”

The full Hansard debate can be read here and is reproduced below

 

Full Hansard account

9.6 pm

Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con): I apologise to Members of the House for not being present for the whole debate. I enjoyed the important speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker), but I think that he will forgive me for saying that the best speech today was by my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth North (Penny Mordaunt). By keeping a straight face, she was able to make some serious remarks and some very entertaining remarks. She just about matched the hon. Member for Ealing North (Stephen Pound), who has been known to keep the House entertained on occasion.

One reason I have not been here for the whole debate is that I have been considering issues of leasehold. If I may, I will read out a paragraph from “UK Over 50s Housing” entitled “Vincent Tchenguiz – Apology” from 19 May 2014. It states:

“On 1 May 2014, we published an article entitled ‘Peverel to be pursued in compensation claim.’ We suggested that Vincent Tchenguiz owned, controlled and was involved in the day to day affairs of property company Peverel. We now accept that there is no truth whatsoever to this suggestion. Prior to going into administration, Peverel was owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust of which Vincent Tchenguiz is a beneficiary. Peverel always had an independent board of directors. Vincent Tchenguiz never had any day to day involvement in the management of Peverel. In particular, he had no knowledge of or involvement in any collusive tendering. We also accept that we have no basis for the claim that Mr Tchenguiz subjected Peverel residents to ‘constant financial clipping.’ We apologise to Mr Tchenguiz for the distress and embarrassment caused.”

I received that quotation from a man called David Leslie of New Century Media. I responded to him, saying:

“I have read the attached piece. A copy of this response goes to the magazine editor. Has your client ever made an apology on any leasehold issue or action?

Can you kindly help on some issues?

May I see in detail any and all exchanges with UK Over 50s Housing Weekly? As you mention them, I copy this to them and I can make it available to others interested.

Please let me know when you or your firm were first engaged to represent or to advise your client.

May I be sent a chronology of Tchenguiz links, including of influence, control, ownership and benefit in by and from Peverel and anything associated with it?”—[Interruption.]

If the hon. Member for Ealing North is asking why this matter is relevant, it is because the Queen’s Speech refers to Bills that are carried over, including the Consumer Rights Bill, which has to finish its Report stage in the
4 Jun 2014 : Column 108

Commons and has to go on to the House of Lords. In my meeting, I discussed the matter with Lord Best. If we cannot do so, I hope that he, probably with Baroness Gardner, will have the opportunity to add to that Bill provisions for the protection of leaseholders, who in many ways have been brutally abused, financially challenged and often intimidated.

What we know about collusive tendering is that when people complained to the economics crimes unit of the police, to the Serious Fraud Office and to the Office of Fair Trading, because Peverel declared that they had been involved in collusive tendering, when it turned out that they had obtained through their subsidiary Cirrus all the work for new calls systems, which were often not needed and almost always at prices which were unjustified, there was no penalty. That is relevant to what Mr David Leslie has told me about Mr Vincent Tchenguiz not being involved at all.

I have asked for a chronology of the Tchenguiz links of influence, control, ownership and benefit in and from Peverel and anything associated with it. I continued:

“If relevant, I anticipate being told who established and who controlled the body that did control and had influence on Peverel when so many bad things were done to so many.

Who was responsible for selecting the professional advisors and others associated with the valuations of properties bought, the loans obtained, the audits of and the responses to leaseholders when presenting valid questions and challenges to the way they were treated.”

I offered to meet these people. I went on to say:

“My intention is to lay out in Parliament the details of problems of the past, of the present and how life can be better in the future.”

I added that I have an interest in a leasehold flat in Worthing, where our managing agent was good, our freeholder was good, and I have had no problems whatsoever.

One thing that the Government should think of doing is asking the professional standards bodies whether they believe they should be disciplining their members—chartered surveyors, valuers, accountants or bankers—when they go along with valuations created apparently out of thin air by the owners of freehold blocks. For example, at Charter quay in Kingston a trust bought a freehold for about £700,000. It revalued it at over £3 million and borrowed £2 million against it, and when eventually the leaseholders managed to get the prospect of having a court decide what the value was, it turned out to be £900,000.

A company cannot have a valuation trebled or quadrupled in its company accounts without a valuer putting their name to it, an accountant doing the accounts, and auditors and bankers getting involved. I believe that all the professional standards bodies should be saying, “We’re going to find an example that we can make a decision on which will terrify the life out of others who go along with clients who say, ‘I can arbitrarily increase the value.’”

The only way a freeholder can put up the value is to have an income stream that goes way beyond the ground rents in the original leases. If, for example, they get insurance commissions of 40% or 60%, and if they can take exit fees that have been decided by the OFT and Peverel to be unjustified, we have an opportunity of saying that unfair contracts terms law can be imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority or the OFT saying that these things will not happen.

4 Jun 2014 : Column 109

As it happens, virtually every Member of Parliament in England has some of these blocks of leasehold properties in their constituencies. I know that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has them in Witney. I know that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has in them his constituency. I could probably go through each Member present from an English constituency, but I will not do that as that would be extending the courtesy of the House in listening to me, but I declare, and if necessary, I warn that this is an issue that does not just affect my constituents; each individual constituent may be old, elderly, vulnerable or poor, and without good advice cannot stand up against the big people.

I am glad that the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership is going to turn itself into a charity. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, the campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, is doing well. I ask the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Ministry of Justice, if necessary, together with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to get together an interdepartmental group, to ask what are the simplest things we can do to make the lives of leaseholders simpler.

Stephen Pound: The hon. Gentleman has quite rightly and properly mentioned his own possible interest in this matter. Does he feel that the House should be made aware of the gigantic sums of money that the Tchenguiz family give to the Conservative party?

Sir Peter Bottomley: That is true. Certainly it should be known. I am a great believer in transparency. I believe that if things can be said in the open and justified or criticised, we are much better off.

I had not intended to make this speech against the Tchenguiz family. I want to spell out what is happening, and if members of the Tchenguiz family say that by getting a newspaper to produce a paragraph, their hands are clean, by all means discuss that in public. All I am trying to say is that leaseholders deserve protection, I am here to help to protect them, and I am glad that other Members are interested as well.

Ordered, That the debate be now adjourned.— (Mr Gyimah.)

Debate to be resumed tomorrow.

Comments

  1. The speech by Sir Peter has allowed us again to mention the Corrupt Behaviour undertaken by Peverel Managing Services Ltd and Cirrus Communications from 2004 to 2009.

    The collusion began before the works were undertaken in 2005.

    We at ABC had a Warden Call System, that was according to our Area Manager in 2006 was *obsolete* they cited that BT intended to go digital? This change to digital would render existing systems obsolete? we know now this to be untrue, but at the time the Peverel Retirement Management were trusted?

    We understand that Area Managers were informed by PMS Technical Managers, once developments came of age *20*. This would then apply to thousand of Developments who had either a Warden Call System or a Fire System?

    Peverel Retirement provided the Developments to their Sister Company, Cirrus Communications, who would price the works and then pass on the information to 3 stooge companies?

    These 3 companies were allowed to bid, knowing the price that Cirrus was bidding, the 3 companies were instructed to add between 5% and 20% to each bid, so Cirrus would always win the Tender?

    Glyn Jackson who along with O`Rourke and Owens were fined £54,000 by the OFT and yet the instigators
    Peverel Management Services and Cirrus Communications were allowed to keep all the £1.4 million they made out of only 65 Developments and have immunity?

    The best part about this is that CirrusUK the same company are still used by Peverel Retirement to undertake works to WCS and FS, they even have a management contract for maintenance of the Door Entry System when we do not have communal doors???

    I have asked our Area manager what do we pay £600 a year for and he replied it was in case the Door Entry System failed?

    Some of us replaced our single Glazed Front Doors with PVCu only to find that the opening device will not work for those on the first floor?

    There is now only ten doors that have this device yet we still pay the same fee for the contract?

  2. Where is Richard Townsend – Rose, the scourge of Peverel Action in 2009.

    I have read his comments from August 2009 regarding the links between McCarthy & Stone and Peverel?

    He mentions the many scams that were happening then, 5 years later nothing has changed and those that were responsible for the Price Fixing have been moved on???

    The existing management of Peverel are refusing to provide all the information asked for, as there is still areas that were scammed that they do not want us to know?

    Richard stated that the Tchenguiz Family gave gifts to the Conservative Party as follows:-

    Robert Tchenguiz 2006 – £53,000
    Sister (name not given) – 2008 £1000,00
    Vincent Tchenguiz 2010 – £20,000

    The total £173,000 in gifts was for what?

    The name Kevin Barr Peverel Finance Director, was also mentioned by Richard, regarding the money that is supposed to be kept in a Trust Accounts in the Bank of Scotland. This money was found to be in an Ordinary Account. The comments were made by N.O. Dribbler, after the remarks made by Ian Raperley a Peverel spokes person?

    Richard left a list of scams which will be placed here tomorrow?

    • The Guardian Newspaper of 11 Mar 2011 carried a report on donations to Conservative Party and showed :

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/mar/11/serious-fraud-office-conservatives

      Lisa : 100,000

      Vincent : 123,820

      Robert : 70,820

      You ask total gifts of 294,640 for what ?

      Buys party policy and Housing Ministers influence to keep the Leasehold tenure system and not to push for change to Commonhold ?

      • fleeced says:

        Yes, bribery/corruption of politicians with large donations by landlords in leasehold occupation can be compared to the bribery/corruption of politicians/government departments by the powerful pharmaceutical industry that controls the NHS.

        The older/vulnerable age group is targeted and suffer the most in both these industries. Financial abuse in the case of leasehold and in healthcare drugs licensed on falsified scientific evidence (ghost writing) for profit.

        We live in an uncaring and dangerous world when it comes to business and politics.

        • fleeced says:

          Amendment:

          “…and in healthcare drugs licensed on falsified scientific evidence (ghost writing) for profit endangering/exposing millions of lives to harm and death from chemical/toxic poisoning.”

  3. Richard Townsed-Rose says:

    Hi Chas

    Regrettably I am not the Scourge of Peverel on Peverel Action … but there you go.

    I admit to uncovering the electricity scam which was posted on the late TTAS. This was the “Affinity Agreement”. The deeds at Riverside Park – estate 15808 – only allow the factor to recover NET outgoings – not that any of the moles have read the deeds let alone understood them. I can also confirm that many factors do the same thing … and that the Property Managers Association of Scotland attempted to cover it all up legally. Having read a law degree in order to write the contracts on the Chania II project in Kenya in the late 70’s I was able to argue the points.

    I admit to being one of many [including the late Don Heady who was a senior executive with the Inland Revenue] who pushed Barclays into pulling the rug on Peverel when they were owned by Holiday Retirement Inc.

    I admit to having defended a case brought by Peverel in The Scottish High Court – the Court of Session – which lasted four long years and cost Peverel an estimated half a million pounds – assuming they paid out what we did – and to do that my lawyer had to get the rules on legal aid changed …. actually the case never had a full hearing because Peverel “ran away” when they read the opinion of the Sheriff of East Lothian [Look up who holds that honorary post – and be surprised].

    But on political donations I know nothing ….

    I admit to advising Peverel Action about insurance and how to contact Janet. In fact I recently managed to get Peverel to get the insurer to issue an endorsement covering the estate for settlement on made up ground which was excluded – the cover note does NOT include the words “subject to exclusions” probably a Peverel typing error … what do you think ?

    In any event, as a Chartered Engineer – cleared by my institution of the complaints raised by Bagley sometime company secretary to lierally hundreds of peverel companies – I deplore their total inability to manage the maintenance of properties – from painting, to lighting, to cleaning … and as for their scams – i reiterate that in my view Britain is the most corrupt country in which i have lived and worked – and as Treasurer of Accountability Scotland [.org.uk] this becomes clearer every day ….

    May Parliament bring justice to the forefront and punish all those involved in corruption which is a far far worse crime than breaking and entering a flat and stealing some food drink and clothing – as has happened to me.

    I mention that, for instance, Student Loans although authorised by the state, are made privately and then sold off to the highest bidder. BUT here’s the nub, if a person with a student loan is declared bankrupt one imagines ALL the person’s debts will be cleared away – well all BUT the Student Loan ….

    I commend this web sites activities and will do everything I can to support is campaign for natural justice.

    And if you have my list of scams – please post them – but they are only the ones I uncovered when I lived at No 19, Riverside Park, Glasgow – its a matter of public record – so why hide it ? Just Google my name … its quite illuminating the information displayed – and remember that the same is true of EVERY single citizen of Britain.

    Eur Ing Richard Townsend-Rose MA CEng MICE
    P.S. Chas: email me and I will get all my peverel paperwork to you … In my late 60’s, I am now retired and having had my second heart attack [family inherited – so cannot blame peverel] I am concentrating on the garden.

    • Richard,
      Thank you for your support and look forward to receiving all your Peverel Paperwork and will continue to take up the cuddles for those residents who are unable or unwilling to pursue for NATURAL JUSTICE?

      So Richard, enjoy your retirement and your gardening, knowing that others have stepped in to your shoes and found them fit for purpose, unlike the Company Named Bellow:-

      Peverel Retirement
      Peverel Services Ltd
      Peverel Group
      Peverel Management Services Ltd
      Peverel Building Technology’s Ltd
      Careline/Cirrus
      Kingsborough Insurance Services Ltd

      They are incapable of providing the true facts of what had happened, over the past 14 years, since 1999 Peverel ***** were purchases by an American Company?

      This Company at the time of purchase, was under scrutiny by the American Senate?

      Seems like they had good teachers???

  4. fleeced says:

    So Peverel has caved in and the Premium Credit Finance Company war is finally over.

    “Dear …..

    I write further to previous emails regarding the service charge arrears for the above property.

    Our client has confirmed that in the circumstances, as a gesture of goodwill they will accept your Standing Order payments.

    Our file on the matter will therefore be closed and no further action will be taken.

    Kind Regards

    [NAME REDACTED]
    Legal Adviser
    for and on behalf of Bond Dickinson LLP”

    Had PMSL taken me to court a Pandora’s Box would have opened up and presumably Peverel was advised not to take that risk. And what will the legal fees be for sending out these empty threats? This has made PMSL look utterly ridiculous. So to all those Peverel Retirement customers paying monthly service charges by DD through the Premium Credit Finance Company cancel it immediately and set up a standing order that gives the customer control over your own money. I would never allow Peverel control over my bank account for any type of DD payments.

    “May Parliament bring justice to the forefront and punish all those involved in corruption which is a far far worse crime than breaking and entering a flat and stealing some food drink and clothing – as has happened to me.”

    Yes I agree but, unfortunately, from my own experience of government departments the Parliamentary system cannot be trusted either. Politics is a dirty business and there is corruption in every field of business and profession.

  5. fleeced,

    Pleas open PANDORA BOX?

    I/We will help spread the **** that is seems to be endemic in The Senior Management in
    Peverel Companies?

  6. Warning – Don’t consider entering the +50 housing UK website – my anti-virus software sounded a warning of software threat.

    This may be the Pandora’s Box which spreads the **** to spin confusion.

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