Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law Update
Further to our previous articles concerning the involvement of Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law in a number of companies in administration, including Northern Powerhouse Developments’ companies, the Carlauren group of companies, MBI and Qualiacare companies, and St Camillus companies, we have received information from a number of sources which has enabled us to write this Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law update.
See below for links to some of our previous articles.
It is our contention that victims of the scams have been misled into supporting people who were involved in promoting and facilitating purchases of rooms in the scam companies. Investors have not been informed of all the facts.
The investor co-ordinators in several of the above administrations have deliberately and intentionally suppressed important information and sought to deceive investors. The aim has been to manipulate the insolvency processes for personal gain and to disadvantage some groups of creditors. In suppressing this important information they have denied investors the opportunity to make informed choices and have misled them by omission. We are grateful to the parties who have contacted us providing this new information.
We have still not received any answers to the questions we put to Shortlands Law and the investor co-ordinators in Qualiacare and St Camillus despite repeated requests. We will not list those questions here because they appear in our previous articles.
Nico Bruyniks, the ‘Chairman of Co-Ordinators’ for Qualiacare has claimed that he will not ask Alastair Dobbie to answer the questions. Mr Bruyniks is also a self-appointed investor co-ordinator for the NPD scam. None of the other Qualiacare ‘investor co-ordinators’ have been willing to ask the questions either. There is a cover-up of Alastair Dobbie’s and Roberto Pancaldi’s roles in the sale of the scams.
The investor co-ordinators know the truth, but do not want to tell anyone because it would expose the Alastair Dobbie-Roberto Pancaldi scheme as another money-making venture targeting victims of the scams in which they were involved. Based on information received we now understand that investor co-ordinators have already agreed deals behind the scenes which have not been communicated to investors.
Tom McNerney, a new investor co-ordinator for a St Camillus company in administration (working alongside Kirill Sobolev), has also been contacted several times to ask the same questions of Alastair Dobbie. He has not informed any of the investors of the serious questions we have raised.
There are two aspects of the involvement of Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law which raise concerns. Those are:
1. The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority Code of Conduct for legal professionals; and
2. The standards required for persons elected to Creditors’ Committees for companies in administration.
We will only cover the SRA Code Of Conduct in this article and will be writing a separate article on Mr Dobbie’s and Mr Pancaldi’s involvement in company insolvencies later this week. We will also list the investor co-ordinators and provide such information as we have on their backgrounds where it is considered relevant. Any person who is a party to misleading investors can expect to be held to account. We have given the investor co-ordinators enough opportunities to do right by investors and they have chosen to turn a blind eye and keep investors in the dark in respect of what has really been going on.
THE SRA CODE OF CONDUCT FOR LAW FIRMS AND SOLICITORS
Here are a few excerpts from the SRA Code Of Conduct which applies to both Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law:
1. “You do not abuse your position by taking unfair advantage of clients or others”.
2. “You do not mislead, or attempt to mislead, your clients, the court or others, either by your own acts or omissions or allowing or being complicit in the acts or omissions of others (including your client)”.
3. “In respect of any third party who introduces business to you or with whom you share your fees, you ensure that:
>> a) clients are informed of any financial or other interest which you or your business or employer has in referring the client to another person or which an introducer has in referring the client to you;
>> b) clients are informed of any fee sharing arrangement that is relevant to their matter;
>> c) the fee sharing arrangement is in writing;
>> d) any client referred by an introducer has not been acquired in a way which would breach the SRA’s regulatory arrangements if the person acquiring the client were regulated by the SRA”.
4. “You do not act if there is an own interest conflict or a significant risk of such a conflict”.
This is how the Alastair Dobbie-Roberto Pancaldi scheme works today and has worked in the past.
In the early days Alastair Dobbie / Shortlands Law charged a fee to investors. This was before we highlighted Mr Dobbie’s relationship with the sales agent Roberto Pancaldi. We have spoken to investors who paid the fee and became clients of Alastair Dobbie / Shortlands Law. None were made aware of Alastair Dobbie’s involvement in each of these scams, nor were they informed of his professional relationship with Roberto Pancaldi and other sales agents, nor were they made aware of any fee-sharing arrangement in respect of any party. It is our view that Alastair Dobbie has breached the Code Of Conduct standards above.
We now understand that as a result of us highlighting his activities, Alastair Dobbie of Shortlands Law has adapted his approach. He has stopped charging some room investors an upfront fee because they won’t pay it. Instead, he only takes on clients he can trust to keep his prior involvement and payment arrangements secret e.g the investor co-ordinators. A number of the investor co-ordinators have become Alastair Dobbie clients. They then claim that Alastair Dobbie has been providing invaluable advice on legal matters and is willing to work for all other investors free of charge. Clearly they believe that by an investor NOT becoming a client of Alastair Dobbie / Shortlands Law they can circumvent the Code Of Conduct standards.
However, we have been advised that the scheme of using ‘investor co-ordinators’ as front-men was devised by Alastair Dobbie and Roberto Pancaldi for the NPD scam and has become their standard way of operating across all scams. We have also been advised that investor co-ordinators have secretly agreed that if they can acquire assets of an administration, they will ensure Alastair Dobbie receives 20% of any uplift in value once the assets are sold by them later on. This uplift is based on the difference between the money investors receive from a CVA / administration and the final sale price the co-ordinators receive from the ultimate sale of the assets. For this to work, the investor co-ordinators would need to control the assets, hence the fact that Alastair Dobbie works for them in a solicitor-client relationship, but not for the rest of the leaseholders. Those leaseholders are not his clients so he has no duty to achieve the best outcome for them.
The main body of investors have not been made aware of this arrangement. The concern we have is that this payment scheme encourages a solicitor to ensure that non-clients receive as little as possible from a CVA / administration.
We have noted in previous articles that Alastair Dobbie has put forward numerous unworkable and unachievable proposals which have required the administrators and their lawyers to respond many times. Not a single one of his proposals has ever been adopted in an administration, but every minute that an administrator or lawyer spends dealing with these proposals is billed against the administration, reducing the amount of money that will ultimately be paid out to creditors.
The lower the amount creditors receive from an administration, the greater the potential profit for the solicitor and his sales agent partners. Technically it cannot be argued that the solicitor is working against his investor co-ordinator clients’ interests because they are the ones who have agreed this payment structure with him.
We have asked Shortlands Law to comment on this and to answer a few more questions. Namely:
A) Are they aware of any 20% uplift deal ? If so, is that a standard billing arrangement they support ? Are they satisfied that this complies with the SRA Code Of Conduct ?
B) Who are the elite group who will end up acquiring the assets if Mr Dobbie is ever successful ?
C) Bearing in mind the allegations made by the FCA that MBI / Qualia has been operating an unregulated collective investment scheme and that parties such as solicitors and sales agents involved in such a scheme can be liable to compensate investors, are they satisfied that there has been full disclosure to clients and prospective clients, and that there are no conflict of interest issues ?
D) Is Shortlands satisfied that clients are aware of all fee-sharing arrangements and if so, what are those arrangements ? Please note this is a question which has been asked of Shortlands several times, but we will keep asking it. We believe Alastair Dobbie and Roberto Pancaldi have been fee-sharing either directly or indirectly.
It is worth noting that if there are fee-sharing arrangements with other parties who act as intermediaries in order to cover up payments to sales agents, that in itself would be a breach of the SRA Code Of Conduct.
E) Has Alastair Dobbie received any direct or indirect undeclared benefit from his involvement with the Northern Powerhouse Developments’ companies, the Carlauren group of companies, MBI and Qualiacare companies, and St Camillus companies ? We want to understand if he has been paid by any of the buyers of the assets.
We will publish the Shortlands Law reply if they deem to provide one. As usual, they have the opportunity to advise us of any incorrect statement and we will be happy to amend it and publish an apology. It is worth noting that we have never received any notification from either Alastair Dobbie or Shortlands Law requesting us to correct any statement made in our articles. We take that to mean that our articles are true and accurate.
In reality, Alastair Dobbie is not working for investors for free. He is working for the clients who have paid him. We have been informed there is a group of wealthy individuals who have been brought together by some of the parties involved to purchase the assets from the investor co-ordinators if the co-ordinators can acquire them from the administrators. In other words, we have been told this is an entire structure with the aim of ultimately transferring assets into the hands of the select group of wealthy investors. We have been told that some parties benefit at every stage of the process. We have asked Shortlands Law to comment and made our position clear to them. Our comment to Shortlands Law was:
“We are not suggesting for one minute that Mr Dobbie is involved in the sale of scams, then seeks to disrupt the insolvency process in order to make it difficult for administrators to sell the properties, and then benefits from working with vulture groups who swoop in to pick up those properties at low prices. That would clearly be something the SRA would regard as an extremely serious breach of its Code Of Conduct”.
Just wanted to make it clear that we are not suggesting that.
Alastair Dobbie has repeatedly told investors what they want to hear i.e that the buildings cannot be sold without the agreement of 100% of leaseholders, which is absolutely not true, and that investors can buy the freeholds for £1. He’s never managed to achieve that yet. If anyone feels they have been misled into paying money to Alastair Dobbie, Shortlands Law or any investor co-ordinator they should request a full refund and report the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority using this LINK. Please be aware that if you do request a refund you can expect to be contacted by Alastair Dobbie in an attempt to persuade you to cancel the request. That is what has happened to some investors.
If anyone feels they have been misled by Roberto Pancaldi and/or the investor co-ordinators we would like to hear from you. If you are making a claim for a refund of monies paid to Alastair Dobbie, Shortlands Law, or a co-ordinator we would also like to hear from you.
Finally, to show our articles are fair and balanced we would like to provide Alastair Dobbie with some free advertising. If anyone is in need of a maths tutor he may be available.
We’ve never seen a solicitor offer maths tuition alongside legal services ! Normally a solicitor tends to focus on his/her legal skills. As for listing his third major attribute as “Dreamer” – well it’s unique. We’ll give him that. Not sure that’s a major consideration for most people when they feel they need a solicitor.
“So we need legal help. Let’s make a list of what we need. He/she must be inexperienced, must tell us what we want to hear, must charge us £1,000 for a service which will not result in any financial benefit, must be able to convert fractions into decimals without the use of a calculator, Oh – and he / she must be a dreamer. That’s essential”.
Thank you to all people who have provided information. All information is always gratefully received. Our article on how investors have been manipulated in the insolvency processes will follow later this week.
To view a more recent article on the manipulation of investors by Alastair Dobbie and his associates please click here [LINK].
Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law Update – Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law Update – Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law Update