Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Grey Area

Watch out, Hong Kong, Andrew Greystoke is about. The purveyor of financial services, unaffectionately known as Tarzan, and about as convincing face to face, is on a visit trying to drum up business. (For Greystoke's unintentionally hilarious blog, look here.)
Greystoke's connections with Hong Kong go way back, at least as far back as 2005 when the numerous Spanish-based boiler plate scams which his law firm, Atlantic Law, "recklessly" (according to the UK FSA) endorsed under their UK FSA licence were investigated by the FSA with the help of the Hong Kong Police, the Hong Kong SFC and other bodies.
As a result of this, Greystoke and his firm were together fined £400,000 and Greystoke was banned for life from working in any capacity in financial services. Quite how this sits with his continuing hawking of too-good-to-be true UK listing services is an interesting question.
This decision was followed by action from the Solicitors Regulation Authority for "bringing the profession into disrepute". Getting lawyers a bad name? That's quite an achievement. And last year the law firm was liquidated in an action brought by a former employee with debts of approaching  £1m (including amounts which Greystoke claims were owed to his wife). 
These were not the first setbacks in Greystoke's career. Declared bankrupt in 1996 following an unsuccessful libel action against Lloyds of London, Greystoke had already made a name for himself in various ventures which had, by a sequence of astonishingly bad luck, left a trail of failure, debt and impoverished punters. Following the FSA decision in 2010, one report summarised, doubtless incorrectly, thus:

"What no one seems to have noticed," the Times commented last week, "is that Greystoke already has a bad record in the City." No one, that is, except regular readers of the Eye, and since 2003 the Mail on Sunday's Tony Hetherington, both of which have been sounding the alarm - the Eye for almost a quarter of a century - about this serial spiv and financial fantasist, who was also a Tory councillor in Westminster during the Shirley Porter era.

"Since the mid-1980s we have been chronicling the various corporate disasters with which he has been associated - Slater Walker America, Maddock, Bremar Holdings, Castle Mill and City & Westminster Group, which collapsed in 1991. By 1995 he owed more than £5m to creditors, including Lloyd's of London, which received a letter from Tarzan's psychiatrist pleading "mitigating circumstances".

"Greystoke was made bankrupt in June 1996. The Department of Timidity & Inaction had started efforts in 1993 to disqualify him as a director over the City & Westminster fiasco - his company City & Westminster collapsed within months of being injected into what became City & Westminster Group - but these were presumably rendered unnecessary by his bankruptcy and never pursued.

"Having failed at business he reinvented himself as a lawyer, but he couldn't kick the spivvy habit - representing, among others, the iffy and whiffy Brain Games Network plc, run by chess impresario Raymond "the Penguin" Keene and fronted by Tory grandee Sir Jeremy Hanley."

For an insight into the level at which this snake oil, sorry, amazing metal coatings, salesman operates, one can do worse than read the report  by the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal, of Greystoke's failed appeal against the FSA decision, in which his evidence, truthfulness and credibility and the methods of the thieves he unwittingly, or was it "recklessly", assisted to steal some million of pounds of pensioners' savings were assessed:

Greystoke's evidence:
"The Applicants (Greystoke and Atlantic Law) continued to approve promotions even after the FSA had begun an investigation and further matters of concern had come to light. These facts speak for themselves."

"It is unfortunately clear that he has made claims in this application that he must have known to be untrue."
"When cross-examined Mr Greystoke recalled, apparently for the first time, that he may have been referring to a conversation with Eben Hamilton QC. That seemed to be an example of a witness caught out telling one untruth seeking to cover it up by telling another."

"There is some pattern in Mr Greystoke's conduct of making inaccurate claims and, when found out, apologising to the minimum degree and expecting to move on."

"It follows that we reject the evidence of Mr Greystoke where it is inconsistent with the surrounding material and the probabilities."

And those whom he "recklessly" assisted's, methods: "
The phone calls contain[ed] threats, blackmail, derision and insults ... threats including 'to come to see [an 86-year old] … and gang rape her' ". Nice people, and I am sure that Mr. Greystoke was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to discover this.

Yes, dear reader, be careful out there..

1 comment:

  1. Quite apart from all the other stuff, just the magic words "Slater Walker" on his CV should be enough to warn off those with a long financial memory. But perhaps his CV is as selective as his evidence before the Financial Services and Mrkets Tribunal.