Tuesday 20 July 2010

CMG Fails To Answer Legal Questions

I know, the post title is pretty familiar at this stage, but this is a very different set of questions being asked by some serious people - Justice Finlay Geoghegan in the High Court to be specific. These questions have been thrown up by the liquidation of Flash Developments, which had been holding the contracts and money of investors in the Palm View Resort in Boa Vista, Cape Verde.

In a piece in the Sunday Business Post on June 27th Ian Kehoe claimed that the "High Court has ordered an investigation into property company Flash Developments, after evidence emerged that the company may have used deposits from buyers to finance the running of the firm."

It went on to claim: "It has also emerged in court documents that the company, which is headed by businessman Ciaran Maguire, may not have title over land in Cape Verde, where it had proposed to build a €100 million property scheme."

It also claimed: "documents filed last week by the liquidator, KPMG accountant Kieran Wallace, said that Flash appeared 'to have financed the general running of the company' from the deposits it received, rather than place them on secure deposit. "

The Insolvency Journal had the following on June 23rd: "The High Court also heard on Monday that the liquidator of Flash Developments Ltd, Kieran Wallace, is pursuing an investigation into representations made on behalf of the company which appear to suggest that the company may have taken deposits for villas and apartments when it didn't have the authority to do so.

The firm, controlled by businessman Ciaran Maguire, was placed into liquidation in May following a court petition by international recruitment firm Hays.

Flash Developments had received deposits from 200 Irish and British investors for properties in a proposed €100 million resort on Cape Verde. But speaking to the Sunday Business Post last month, Magure insisted that all of the deposits were safe, despite the wind-up of the firm, because all contracts, development lands and credit lines had been transferred to another company – the Ciaran Maguire Group."

These are very, very serious claims of fraudulent activity and we didn't feel it was right to put such claims on the blog, even though the claims weren't ours, without asking Ciaran for a comment on them. In fairness, he's been fairly forthcoming in the recent past, answering most of the queries we've put to him. So we did just that - and didn't get an answer. Instead his office responded to say he was in Cape Verde and would like to be given a chance to respond on his return.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. Still nothing.

Eventually, on July 13th Ciaran came back to us with the following: "I have just returned from Cape Verde and can confirm that building works are on going and I will furnish you with the updated pictures tomorrow. I can also confirm that the claims from Kieran Wallace are absolutely false and I am very much looking forward to outlining all the actual facts. I would also like to highlight that Kieran Wallace has no involvements in Ciaran Maguire Group and therefore has never seen any documentation in the Ciaran Maguire Group including contracts thus making these claims unfounded."

So we waited for the follow-up - but it never came. In fact, Ciaran has stopped responding to our emails completely for some reason so we've had to put up the post without further input from him.

Today (July 20th) the following appeared on the Boa Vista Experience Forum from the user CMG:

Dear all,

I would like to convey that under the advice from my legal team, I will no longer be in a position to post comments on this forum. Despite several requests to sit down with interested parties in both my office in Dublin and including making myself available to fly to the U.K. to meet with any interested parties, I have not received one offer. I have made it categorically clear that I was happy to answer all questions put to me.

Sitting down and having a face to face meeting would have given me the opportunity to outline and display the facts allowing me to furnish these parties with all the relevant documentation. I believe this would have allowed you to give a true reflection on Palm View Resort.

In light of the above my legal team have been working on logging and detailing all the posts made on this forum. It is now my intention to aggressively seek compensation for defamation and reputational damages. I would like to highlight to the careless bloggers on this forum that my legal team have now traced all the IP addresses and real names behind the identified bloggers and will be issuing the legal letters to the aforementioned.

The people on this forum who have made comments deemed to be defamatory please note; I intend to use these posts on this forum as evidence against you in a court of law.

In relation to the existing 200 plus clients and investors in Palm View; I would like to advise that my office will be furnishing you with updated pictures of on going works on site and general monthly updates. We are on schedule for completion in December 2011 and we can all look forward to seeing Palm View coming to fruition.


Ciaran Maguire."

This follows a similar threat on the same forum on June 14th last. Following that post we were contacted by a number of posters on the forum who said Ciaran hadn't even got their country right in some cases.

This IP Address Tracking claim is a particularly strange one as most ISP's (Internet Service Providers such as Eircom and BT) these days provide clients with what is termed a 'Dynamic IP Address'. It is a system whereby IP Addresses are assigned randomly to clients as they are needed, rather than individual IP Addresses being assigned permanently, which is a very poor use of ISP resources. Consequently, most people's IP addresses change at least once every day and several times in most cases, depending on usage. This system makes tracking the IP Address beyond the region in which it is based (e.g. Dublin, Waterford, Cork, etc.) virtually impossible.

It is possible that those hosting the forum could trace the odd post back to a fixed IP Address (common in larger companies who have very heavy internet usage), but not very many of them. In the main they are, and will remain, totally anonymous.

Consequently, Ciaran's claim that he has the names of people posting on this, or any other forum, is absolutely bizarre.

In any case, we've always been very forthcoming with our interest in this particular development, Ciaran knows exactly who we are and the questions we've got. We've also tried to be fair to the developer and have given him every opportunity to put his side of the debate to the general public where possible. He simply seems to have decided not to do so in the last few weeks which is a great shame.

If Ciaran decides to change his mind on this matter and does email us with further information we'll be sure to put it on the blog post-haste.

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