ARK DISASTER – MARAZION/EVERGREEN PENSION LOAN SCHEMES:
An Ark victim has suggested it would be a good idea to do a full update so everybody knows the entire story so far. I agree that’s a good idea so here is a brief outline of where we are and how we got here. If anyone has any questions or wants further information the Ark Class Action can be contacted on [email protected].
2010: a group of investors got together and purchased a plot of land in Larnaca, Cyprus for 1 million pounds. With the intention to try to turn it into a golf course. Only they needed more land and more money. So they consulted a group of “experts” who came up with the idea of attracting investment by starting a pension scheme. Now, pensions are supposed to be LOW RISK. And diverse. Speculative land development projects are NOT a good idea for a pension (due to being high risk). Financial advisers are supposed to know this and are not supposed to advise their clients to put their hard-earned pensions into a scheme based on a potentially worthless piece of land.
OFFICIAL TIME-LINE 2010: Ark was formed by a group of “experts” and the worthless piece of land originally bought for 1 million was sold to Ark for 4 million.
August 2010: Ark’s “Master Pension Schemes” (MPS’s) were aggressively promoted and sold by a clutch of financial advisers in Spain and the UK using pension liberation (also known as pension cracking or unlocking) in a scheme described by the promoters as “not traditionally available” (in other words unlawful). This “unique” process was called Maximising Pension Value Arrangements (MPVA) and facilitated a loan to the participant of up to 50% of the value of the transferred pension (after deduction of fees which ranged from between 5% and 15%).
2010 to 2011: The Ark schemes began advertising and were sold through newspaper ads, websites, calls from financial advisers, seminars and advertisements posted on toilet doors.
May 2011: The Pensions Regulator were actively shutting down pension liberation scams such as Ark and placed the six Ark schemes in the hands of Dalriada Trustees and the whole lot was suspended. The Regulator was actively promoting its “Scorpion” campaign to warn people about the dangers of pension liberation fraud. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/investments-tax.htm. HMRC also set up “Project Bloom” to help stop these scams due to the fact that the victims stood to lose their pensions AND get 55% plus tax bills on their pension loans. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/liberationud.pdf
December 15th 2011: Justice Bean ruled in the High Court that the Ark schemes (MPS’s and MPVA’s i.e. pension transfers and reciprocal loans) were a “fraud on the power of investment” and that the loans constituted “unauthorised payments” (i.e. taxable at 55%). The ruling can be read here – note Clause 57: http://www.professionalpensions.com/digital_assets/3826/4568_001.pdf
December 1st 2011: Evergreen Pension Scheme was established in New Zealand
December 20th 2011: Marazion was incorporated in Nicosia, Cyprus.
June 2012 Evergreen Pension Scheme commenced trading – making a loss in the first year and attracting 426 members
August 2012 Marazion started selling five-year term loans and corresponding five-year “lock ins” to Evergreen pension transfers
19th November 2012 HMRC suspended Evergreen from their QROPS list http://www.evergreentrust.co.nz/uk-pension-transfers/
December 2012 Dalriada published the first year’s audited accounts (for the period May 2011 to May 2012) for the six MPS’s: Cranbourne Star, Tallton Place, Grosvenor, Lancaster, Portman and Woodcroft Dalriada’s audited accounts for the six Ark schemes for the first two years can be found here: http://dalriadatrustees.co.uk/ark/
September 2013: The Ark Class Action was set up to help inform the Ark victims and negotiate and appeal their tax liabilities so that these (together with their pension losses) can be reclaimed from the negligent financial advisers who sold the Ark schemes to the victims .
March 2014: HMRC finally agreed to confirm their full intentions regarding taxing the Ark loans.
April 2014: HMRC finally confirmed their intention to try to tax the loans at both ends i.e. 55% at the receiving end AND 55% at the making end. They also confirmed that Ark members who did not receive a loan would still be taxed at 55% for making a loan or intending to make a loan, and/or intending to receive a loan.
Between 2012 and 2014 (to date), some Ark members have received demands by HMRC to complete Self Assessment returns declaring the Ark unauthorized payments for tax purposes; some members have received demands for the tax; some have received nothing at all, but HMRC have confirmed that the letters and demands are now on their way. However, there really has been no consistency in their approach to the whole Ark matter, but they do now appear to be getting their act together.
June 2014: Evidence regarding the Marazion/Evergreen pension liberation fraud was handed to the British authorities in London.
June 2014: HMRC has issued a deadline of 30th of June for return of the 10 point questionnaire required in respect of the Ark loans.
Any questions, just ask. Angela Brooks
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