12 year ban for director of coloured diamonds investments company

14 Sep 2016 05:40 PM

Gary Anthony Arnold, aged 30, a company director from London, has been disqualified for 12 years.

Mr Arnold was the sole director of Solitaire Alternatives Ltd (Solitaire), a company that “cold called” members of the public, claiming to sell coloured diamonds as investments.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that between April 2013 and May 2014, investors paid Solitaire almost £750,000 in total for diamonds, but none of them have received any stones in return for their money. There is no evidence that the company ever purchased any diamonds for investors.

This disqualification undertaking follows investigation by the Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service. The Official Receiver’s involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest, after the affairs of the company were investigated by Company Investigations.

Tony Hannon, Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, said:

Over the years the Official Receiver has had to deal with many cases where members of the public are “cold called” by companies offering “alternative investment” opportunities and claiming unrealistically high rates of return.

Many such schemes have been run principally for the benefit of those running the company, always at the expense of the investors, who have paid substantial sums for things of very little value.

In extreme cases such as Solitaire, the company has been so reckless that it has just taken the investors’ money for nothing at all in return.

Members of the public should exercise extreme caution if they are called out of the blue about such schemes. Always remember that, if an investment opportunity appears too good to be true, it probably is.

Because of the lack of company records, the Official Receiver has only been able to identify a small number of the investors who have lost money to the company. Other victims should contact the Official Receiver at piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk or 020 7637 6230.

Notes to editors

Gary Anthony Arnold is of London E4 and his date of birth is 14 September 1985.

Solitaire Alternatives Ltd (Company reg. no. 08268726) was incorporated on 25 October 2012 in the name Global Earth Metals Ltd. Its name was changed to Solitaire Alternatives Ltd on 12 February 2014.

The registered office was at St Clements House, 27 Clements Lane, London EC4N 7AE, a serviced office. The actual trading premises are unknown.

Gary Anthony Arnold has been the sole recorded director and shareholder throughout its life.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.

Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions. The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.