Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.
Since we published our article on the Green Swan Holding Bond at the end of June – LINK to article, we have been contacted by quite a few people who have been providing us with information on the activities of Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and others.
We now know the extent of investors’ losses in five of the Simon Whittley-Ryan companies [Highgrove Osprey PLC (in liquidation), Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd (in liquidation), St Helier Capital Management Ltd (in liquidation), Win River Developments Ltd (in liquidation) and Win River Ltd]. Investor losses are just over £10m excluding any interest which is owed.
Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.
Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan have been involved in Platform Trading Investment Scams (“PTIS”) for a very long time, but they haven’t been very successful. Investors in the five companies listed above have been receiving fortnightly promises from Simon Whittley-Ryan of imminent repayment of their losses for years. These updates from Simon Whittley-Ryan contain regular references to “the Swiss” who are always on the verge of providing the £10m+ to ‘refinance’ the collapsed companies, but these funds never materialise. We have now discovered that the reason for this is because Simon Whittley-Ryan has been relying on PTIS to raise the money. ‘The Swiss’ actually refers to Andre Schut, his associates, and his company Delta Mountain AG.
What are PTIS ? Basically they are scams which require an intended victim to deposit money in a bank account. The story they are told is that the operators of the PTIS have access to a high level “Tier 1” trader who can leverage the bank statement to around 100 times its value by acquiring ‘fresh-cut MTNs (Medium Term Notes) or SBLCs (Standby Letters Of Credit) and then ‘trade’ this enhanced value financial instrument. The profit promised to the intended victim amounts to hundreds of percent on their money and the trading period generally ranges from 10 days to 40 weeks. Of course this special trading arrangement is not well known and the intended victim is sworn to secrecy because if it gets out everyone will want to join and it is only being offered to a select few. Blah blah blah. The intended victim is advised that at no time is his/her money at risk.
Unfortunately, there are never any profits because it is a scam. Here is a LINK to a FBI article which sums it up very well.
There are a couple of important phrases in the article:
“…..the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is warning the public about fraudulent activity commonly referred to as Platform Trading, Private Platform Programs (PPPs), Prime Bank Trading, or Medium-Term Note Trading Programs”. [Note the wording “Medium-Term Note Trading Programs’ because it comes up later in this article].
“Offering such programs, or claiming to have connections to such programs, violates numerous federal criminal laws”.
We have evidence of Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan’s involvement in PTIS. We wrote to Andre Schut on 16th August 2022 advising him that we were intending to publish an article on his involvement with Simon Whittley-Ryan in seeking investors to put up funds for PTIS. He did not respond.
We were provided with information on a UK businessman who Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan had been attempting to persuade to deposit funds for a PTIS. We wrote to the businessman asking about his involvement with them and the scheme. He responded as follows:
“Thank you for the email.
I am surprised that my name came up !! and please do not mention my name. he [Simon Whittley-Ryan] was introduced to me by Angus Rose of Alexander David Securities corporate finance in London who are FCA regulated,
I had sussed out he was a good talker and a flake and I would not in any way do business or wanted to be associated with him”.
Simon Whittley-Ryan is subject to court proceedings brought by the liquidator of Win River Developments. Angus Rose was an employee of Alexander David Securities. Alexander David Securities went into liquidation very recently. Here is our article on that – LINK.
It turns out that the businessman pulled out of the deal at the very last minute so he had a lucky escape. We know of several different PTIS that Simon Whittley-Ryan was involved with, some involved Andre Schut and some were with other people. Whittley-Ryan’s involvement is especially worrying considering that he had already lost £300,000 of company money, i.e creditors’ funds, by paying cash over to a PTIS scammer – see below. You would have thought he would have given PTIS a wide berth after that experience, but it seems to have only made him more determined to promote these schemes. Perhaps the experience showed him a new way to separate investors from their cash. He certainly had no problem promoting PTIS to other intended victims after losing that cash. His attempts to persuade this UK businessman to participate occurred after Whittley-Ryan had lost the £300k.
£300,000 is actually a low sum of money to be lost in PTIS. Normally they are targeting investors and companies with £10m+, but we have seen them reduce the funding requirement to £1m (the businessman was being asked to invest £1m). We have never seen one as low as £300k, but if there is someone stupid enough to part with £300k then a scammer would be foolish to turn his nose up at it.
Andre Schut seems to have been one of the main introducers to PTIS because he offered a number of different schemes ranging from 10 day trading schemes through to 40 week trading schemes. All of them involved PTIS in partnership with a US party. There is normally a US-based lawyer involved in these schemes. It doesn’t seem to have worked out for Andre because, according to our Source in the original article, Andre Schut owes him millions and isn’t able to pay.
Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams. Whittley-Ryan’s payment of company money to Sebastian Celea.
In 2019, Simon Whittley-Ryan paid £300,000 of company money to a former Romanian legionnaire called Sebastian Celea (honestly, we haven’t made it up. He really did give £300k to a former Romanian legionnaire who promised him he could turn it into £30m by issuing Whittley-Ryan with a proof of funds for £30m which he could use to put into Andre Schut’s special trading program). It didn’t worry Simon Whittley-Ryan because it wasn’t his own money. It was investors’ money. There is nothing in any of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s company Investment Memoranda which allows him to use company money in this way.
Did he genuinely believe that a former Romanian legionnaire could turn 300k into 30 million ? We’re not so sure he did. The plan was for Celea to give Whittley-Ryan proof of funds that SWR’s 300k had increased to 30m so that Whittley-Ryan could then use that in one of Andre Schut’s special trading schemes. Celea delivered on his promise. He provided a bank statement showing 31m Euros in a bank account. However, it was a forgery. The Proof Of Funds was rubbish, but that didn’t stop Whittley-Ryan presenting it to Andre Schut’s team to try to get them to accept it into the special trading scheme so that he could increase his fictitious 31m Euros up to hundreds of millions of Euros. That is where this magical ‘refinancing’ was going to come from and it shows why it never happened.
Here is an article on Sebastian Celea from May 2022 confirming that he was sentenced to 6 years for his involvement in real estate fraud – LINK . This sentence is for real estate fraud between 2014-2017 and they don’t even know about his involvement in PTIS ! We have seen no evidence that Simon Whittley-Ryan made any serious attempt to recover the £300k. We find that very odd.
Without full disclosure of company records and bank accounts it is not possible to conclusively prove the source of the funds. However, thanks to information received from Northern Ireland we are now almost certain where that money came from. We have passed that information on. Suffice to say it was money which should have been paid back to one of the liquidated companies, but it was siphoned off by Simon Whittley-Ryan.
The contract with Sebastian Celea wasn’t even in the name of any of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s investment companies. He knew he wouldn’t be able to explain it to his investors so he put it in the name of an Irish company he owns called Elsmont Ltd. However, when the fake bank statement was provided by Celea it wasn’t in the name of Elsmont Ltd or any of Whittley-Ryan’s companies. It was in the personal name of Simon Whittley. It is clear that he misappropriated investor funds with the intent of enriching himself.
Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams. The Source does not have clean hands.
At this point we refer back to our original Green Swan Holding article – LINK. Information on Green Swan Holding was given to us in December 2021 and January 2022 by a man we described as ‘The Source’. Unfortunately, new information we have received has revealed that the Source was himself involved in PTIS with Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan. We wrote to him with a list of questions about his involvement. He hasn’t answered all of the questions, but he did admit to his involvement stating that he never asks for any payment upfront and that Simon Whittley-Ryan’s attempt to put 31m Euros into the PTIS in 2019 was declined because he didn’t pass the due diligence (in other words it was clear the Proof Of Funds was a forgery). It is clear that they now have a new investor on the hook because the Source did a complete U-turn on wanting to expose Green Swan Holding Ltd as being controlled by Simon Whittley-Ryan after he made contact with the office of Sir XXXXXXX, the man who paid the insurance binder fee for the Green Swan Holding bond. We are wondering whether they have persuaded Sir XXXXXXX to put up money for their next PTIS. That would be very interesting.
We will be sending our findings to the Swiss authorities and to the FBI. There’s always a US party involved in PTIS and this Schut / Whittley-Ryan trading scheme is no exception.
Green Swan Holding Ltd Changes.
We have noticed recent changes to the Green Swan Holding Ltd filings at Companies House. The company is now apparently going to be funded by Medium-Term Notes ! Oh dear. It looks like an attempt at another PTIS.
We have written to three of the Green Swan Holding directors and sent them a copy of the FBI article. They don’t seem to be bothered. Charles Griffiths never responded. Philip Robinson did respond with a robust defence of the company’s position. More on him below. Andre Schut did not respond.
There have been a few changes to Green Swan Holding Ltd. UMB Bank in the USA appears to have withdrawn. Their charge over the company has been cancelled. That’s hardly surprising considering we sent them a link to our previous article. They had the good sense to walk away.
A new company called SA Guarantee Specialists based in South Africa has registered a new charge over Green Swan Holding Ltd. It is the new ‘Collateral Agent’ tasked with ensuring that the company’s assets are secured for the provider of the MTNs should they ever arrive. We still don’t see anyone with experience or a proven track record on the board of Green Swan Holding Ltd so it is difficult to believe anyone would really give them any genuine hard cash.
The company has recently filed its annual accounts. You can read the Companies House filing on this LINK. What we found amusing was that normally company accounts contain a statement along the lines of “these company accounts were approved by the Board on [Date]”. They are then signed by the Managing Director. In the case of Green Swan the accounts are signed by all four directors. We’ve never seen that before. It’s almost a case of “I’m not putting my name to this unless the rest of you do too”.
The Green Swan Holding Ltd Directors – Charles Griffiths and Philip Robinson.
We have been informed that Charles Griffiths was introduced to Simon Whittley-Ryan by Angus Rose. He seems to make a lot of introductions. We’ve nothing to suggest that Charles Griffiths had anything to do with Simon Whittley-Ryan’s previous schemes, but he has been made aware of PTIS and the FBI article and appears to be willing to turn a blind eye.
Philip Robinson has been involved with Simon Whittley-Ryan for a very long time. He is also turning a blind eye to the FBI article. Initially it was difficult to be hard on Philip because he was an investor in one of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s failed ventures, Highgrove Osprey PLC (in liquidation). Highgrove Osprey was incorporated in November 2012. However, Philip turned up again in a Simon Whittley-Ryan company, Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd, which was incorporated in 2014. This time he wasn’t an investor. He was part of the Senior Management Team. Hawksbill also raised funds from investors and is in liquidation. The liquidators report that the company had negligible assets. Here is the reference to Philip Robinson from the Hawksbill website:
Philip Robinson (Operations)
Phil is an experienced operations director and prior to establishing his own successful project management business worked in the FMCG sector for such large international companies.
He currently conducts high level project management for blue chip organisations such as Barclays Bank and HSBC. Phil will be responsible for project management and ensuring work
package delivery against agreed timescales.
And then Philip turns up again in another Simon Whittley-Ryan company in 2017. This time it is Win River Developments Ltd. According to the Win River Developments Ltd Information Memorandum of April 2017 he was part of the Win River Developments Ltd management team. Here is the identical paragraph about him taken from the Information Memorandum:
Philip Robinson – Head of Internal Project Management, Senior Management
Phil is an experienced operations director and prior to establishing his own successful project management business worked in the FMCG sector for such large international companies. He currently conducts high level project management for blue chip organisations such as Barclays Bank and HSBC. Phil will be responsible for project management and ensuring work package delivery against agreed timescales.
In both companies Phil (we feel we can call him that now) “will be responsible for project management and ensuring work package delivery against agreed timescales”. So….. considering that both companies are in liquidation with not a bean in assets between them (assuming that there are no hidden assets), perhaps Phil can help explain where all the money went.
And now, having been involved in three collapsed Whittley-Ryan companies we are expected to believe that he is an independent director in Green Swan Holding Ltd and is not acting as a nominee director for Simon Whittley-Ryan. We are expected to accept that Phil and his fellow directors CHOSE to appoint Simon Whittley-Ryan as its consultant. This is despite his long record of failures and investor losses. Pull the other one Phil.
We wrote to Philip Robinson with four questions and we have included his reply below. Our email:
Dear Philip,Our investigations into Green Swan Holding Ltd led us to revisit all the Win River documents that we hold. We found that you were listed in the very first Investment Memorandum produced by Win River Developments Ltd as Head Of Internal Project Management.That led us to make further enquiries and we have been advised that you were employed by both WRD and by Hawksbill. Furthermore, we were told that Simon Whittley-Ryan owes you a significant amount of money.We therefore assume that you took up a directorship in Green Swan in order to protect the debt owed to you because, as you are well aware, SWR owns and controls Green Swan. Hopefully you were not involved in the Private Placement Programs which SWR and Andre Schut were offering to people. These are fraudulent trading platforms which offer huge returns and they are all frauds. We know people who lost a lot of money by subscribing to these schemes. Here is a link to a FBI Report. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/honolulu/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-public-about-platform-trading-investment-scamsWe are intending to write an article about the Green Swan directors and the activities of SWR / AS in offering these platform investments.From your perspective we intend to publish that:1. You were employed by SWR at WRD and Hawksbill;
2. You were his Head Of Project Management;
3. You are owed a lot of money by SWR or one of his companies.
4. You are aware that SWR is the beneficial owner and ultimate controller of the Green Swan companies.If any of these are incorrect please let us know and, if proven, we will amend the article prior to publication.Mr Robinson’s reply:1. I have never been an employee of either of the businesses as stated [or indeed, any company that SWR has been involved with]. If my name has appeared in a Win River Investment Memorandum document, this has been done without my knowledge or agreement [disappointing, but not surprised]. I can confirm that I have no knowledge of this business whatsoever, other than being aware that this is a company SWR is associated with.2. Therefore I have held no such position as stated3. My private affairs are exactly that, private4. SWR is certainly not the beneficial owner and/or ultimate controller of GSHI would also like to address the purported connection that your communications make between the activities of GSH and SWR. The evidence relating to this points to something very different:– The partners of GSH are international/global organisations that have very significant compliance and regulatory processes. These processes cover the control and use of funds, and the requirement for the implementation of normal governance policies one would expect to see in place in any well managed business– In working with GSH, they have invested time and resources to understand the business, the individuals involved and investigate the connection you are inferring exists– The conclusions they have reached is that it does not exist, and their own risk management policies and processes would simply not permit a business relationship in which SWR is directly or indirectly involved– Unfortunately, what SWR is discussing with creditors is outside our control, other than it does bring into focus the option of legal redress for misrepresentation and causing reputational damage, with a ‘cease and desist’ notice being actionedI hope you find this update of value
Point 1 – we don’t believe him. Documentary evidence proves he was representing Win River Developments Ltd interests in Northern Ireland.
Point 2 – as per Point 1.
Point 3 – they’re not that private because we’ve since received more information which proves that he is owed money by Highgrove Osprey PLC.
Point 4 – that’s not what the Source has told us in writing and he is a partner of both Simon Whittley-Ryan and Andre Schut in PTIS. He’ll have to explain himself in court should it come to that, as would the four directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd.
He refers to the reputable partners of GSH. We have asked him to identify these partners but have not received a reply.
Apparently the partners have invested time and resources to understand the business (OK, we’ll accept that), and on the individuals involved (don’t believe that because if they had they would back away from the business as UMB bank has done), and would certainly not permit a business relationship in which SWR is directly or indirectly involved (Oh come on Phil. We have emails provided to us where Whittley-Ryan is dealing direct with the bank under different names, dealing direct with the Green Swan lawyers and organising Green Swan Board meetings. It has already been admitted that he is your “consultant” so your statement that he is not in any way involved is an outright lie. You’ve even given him his own Green Swan email address ).
In summary, we have four directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd and one “consultant” who the directors claim is not involved in their company and is not the real beneficial owner of the company. There’s Andre Schut who is a partner with Whittley-Ryan in PTIS, Philip Robinson who has been involved in three Whittley-Ryan scam companies which have all ended up in liquidation and were found to have no assets, and who is owed a substantial sum of money by Whittley-Ryan, Graham Kerslake who was involved with Whittley-Ryan in Natural Capital Energy and its ridiculous bond product, and finally Charles Griffiths who we can prove was introduced to Simon Whittley-Ryan by Angus Rose. Add to that the fact that Whittley-Ryan has been writing to investors for years about his new venture being able to pay them all back and it makes Philip Robinson’s response look pretty pathetic.
We understand why the directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd were brought together by Simon Whittley-Ryan to hide his involvement. Firstly, he is toxic due to the number of failed investments, his attempts to hide the money trail and the losses suffered by investors. Secondly, he is required by law to declare the insurance history of his companies and whether they have ever taken out insurance under false pretences. We have evidence which proves that a Whittley-Ryan company would find it impossible to obtain insurance from any mainstream provider.
We mentioned that Green Swan has a new Collateral Agent, SA Guarantee Specialists of South Africa, and that they are providing an insurance of some kind. They are allegedly backed by a large South African insurance company. The CEO of SA Guarantee Specialists is Nathan January.
We found that a company has been incorporated in the UK on 24th May 2022 which is called SA Guarantee Specialists UK Ltd – LINK to Companies House. This company has Nathan January as a director. The other directors are described as Investment Bankers and they are involved with another UK company called Charter HCP Ltd – LINK to Companies House. There is no means of contacting Nathan January on his SA Guarantee Specialists website so we contacted Charter HCP Ltd. They said that they have known Simon Whittley-Ryan for a number of years. He was looking for funding for his various ventures and contacted them. They said the ventures had not passed due diligence so they did not fund. We asked them to provide the email address of Nathan January so we could contact him. They didn’t give it to us. They defended Simon Whittley-Ryan by saying that none of the allegations made against him have been proven. We countered by saying that this is because liquidators have not been given the company records despite some of the companies having been in liquidation for years. We said this would change when court proceedings conclude and defendants are ordered by the court to give up the records so that the money trail can be investigated.
Charter HCP said that SA Guarantee Specialists was backed by a highly rated South African insurer so it looks good. We countered by saying that SA Guarantee Specialists is a “cell” company backed by an insurer. That is not the same thing. It is a cell company which acts as protection for an insurance company and is not direct to the insurer itself. They said that is not unusual and we said that the use of a cell company means that should the investment fail and it turns out that the investor in Green Swan loses his/her money, there is no claim which can be made direct against the insurer. There is only a claim against the cell company which is empty and has no assets. If it were to close down following receipt of a claim the investor would find it very difficult to make a claim direct against the insurer. To be fair to Charter HCP they responded with “Yes, I suppose you are right”. So in reality the Collateral Agent isn’t really offering any protection because the insurer has a ‘get out of jail’ card in its back pocket. We would have liked to have put these points to Nathan January, but he is a man of mystery. That’s very similar to the people involved in PTIS. They insist on secrecy.
We don’t believe in coincidences. The fact that SA Guarantee Specialists UK Ltd was incorporated on 24th May 2022, and includes people who know Simon Whittley-Ryan, and is then followed a few weeks later by the involvement of SA Guarantee Specialists of South Africa as Collateral Agent for Green Swan Holding Ltd is one hell of a coincidence. The fact that the charge raised by SA Guarantee Specialists now refers to MTNs being used to finance Green Swan is very concerning. What a shame Nathan January is such a difficult person to contact because we would love to give him the opportunity to explain the position.
We have sent a copy of this article to all the directors of Green Swan asking them to advise us of any errors and, if proven, we will amend and publish an apology. We also wrote to The Source who responded immediately to say that the trading platform schemes in which he and Andre Schut are involved are not illegal in Switzerland. Hmmm…..this seems to conflict with the FBI position so we have asked him to supply proof of their legality. If they are legal we wonder why none of the Green Swan directors told us so when we wrote to them advising that we were intending to publish this article. We have also asked for any evidence that they have ever achieved a successful outcome in any of their trading platform offerings. We will publish an update if we receive anything.
In our next article we will try to find out what happened in the Caribbean and the extent of Christopher James MBE’s involvement. It’s looking increasingly likely that Whittley-Ryan promised to purchase and develop the Blue Haven Hotel and Culloden Reef hotels in Tobago using money from a PTIS. It appears that has been going on for more than five years and of course the purchase money has never arrived. We’re trying to find out if there are any hidden assets which should be declared to the various liquidators. It might stir things up out there because the information we have been receiving seems to indicate that not everything is perfect in paradise. We hope Mr James is willing to co-operate.
Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scam. Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.