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Mrs. EH writes: I purchased preferred stock from Orange River Wealth, which promised to send me a hard copy of my stock certificate but failed to do so. There was no response to an email I sent to the company. I paid just under £40,000 for shares that cost 32p each. They also promised that a first dividend would be paid in January 2024.
When Orange River Wealth was raising millions of pounds in 2022 and tempting investors with an astonishing 15 per cent annual return, I looked closely and found more red flags than you’d see waving at an old May Day parade in Moscow .
Thus, 18 months ago, The Mail on Sunday warned that the offer document issued to investors was riddled with unreliable details. He claimed to have ties to a stockbroking firm in the city that had already gone bankrupt. He appointed a director who had resigned months earlier. And the man behind the bid, Lee Farbrace, provided a list of his directorships that conveniently left out one of his companies that had promised “unparalleled low-risk returns” but which within months had cost an investor £100,000. .
Orange River Capital says it has bought a 49 percent stake in Greengrow Capital, a medical cannabis farm in South Africa
The shares on offer were not even in Orange River Wealth itself. They were in a sister company called Orange River Capital. And while the 15 percent fixed dividend was very attractive (assuming you got it), control of the company remained in a different class of shares where the ultimate boss is, as you might have guessed, Lee Farbrace.
Where has all the money gone? Well, Orange River Capital says it has bought a 49 percent stake in Greengrow Capital, a medical cannabis farm in South Africa. No audited figures have been provided and, according to Companies House, both Orange River Capital and Orange River Wealth have failed to submit accounts that were legally due in May last year. This is a crime.
Your own very risky investment should never have happened. On paper, the stocks you bought were only intended for wealthy investors or those sophisticated enough to know what they were doing and take the risks. He told the Orange River Wealth stock salesman that he knew what he was doing, but the truth is that he didn’t.
You were asked to provide a signed certificate, giving details of the professional adviser who had discussed the investment with you, but there was no such discussion and you did not provide such a certificate. Orange River Capital should never have issued its shares. It’s as simple as that. He should settle the whole matter and return his £40,000. I asked Lee Farbrace to do this. He did not answer. I also asked him to explain why he had been asked to pay £19,200 of his £40,000 to an independent company called Phoenix Capital Investments. This company was created in 2017, without any person or company controlling it. Almost three years later, according to Companies House, Lee Farbrace informed officials that he had been the controller all along. Once again, Farbrace offered no explanation.
However, there was a response of sorts. After I started asking questions, he received the proper stock certificate he wanted and was sent a one-page report by Adam Collins, who describes himself as Sales Director of Orange River Wealth. This lacked financial details but revealed that the company has professional advisers in the form of NextCrowd authorized by the FCA. Except this is just another false statement.
Sacha Bright, who runs NextCrowd, told me he operates a crowdfunding platform, but added: “We do not act as advisors to any company.” Orange River Wealth wanted to connect with NextCrowd but did not answer questions about its business.
I asked Adam Collins about this false claim, but he offered no explanation. I also asked him what experience and qualifications he has as an investment salesman, since his last job was as a car salesman. Once again, he made no comment. All of this leaves him with stocks he should never have been allowed to buy and without the dividend he was told he expected. He could sue Orange River Wealth, Orange River Capital, or both. But he may be throwing good money after bad. When I checked court records, I discovered that both companies had unsatisfied county court judgments against them. It may be time to launch an Insolvency Service investigation.
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A millionaire former Liverpool property developer has been declared bankrupt following the collapse of an apartment project which the Treasury warned against in 2022. Lawrence Kenwright was behind plans to convert Kingsway House from offices to residential apartments.
Two years ago, I investigated the scheme after a reader who had made a £26,000 deposit faced demands from Kenwright’s lawyers for the remainder of £184,000. She was told his new apartment was “ready for occupancy.” But when I went to Kingsway House it became clear to me that significant work was being carried out on the building. Liverpool City Council presented evidence of serious breaches of building permits. And Merseyside Fire Service revealed the building did not meet safety standards. Now financiers Lyell Trading, who provided the money, say they are owed £25,000,337. The loan was personally guaranteed by Kenwright. Liverpool High Court was told he had failed to pay and that he and his wife Katie, who was also declared bankrupt, owe a further £4,366,314 which they borrowed to pay for a separate project. Any sale of Kingsway House is unlikely to cover debts owed to Lyell, leaving no money to pay the deposits.