We have received a lot of enquiries from investors in Simon Whittley-Ryan companies asking us to provide an update. We have also received information from people who have had dealings with Mr Whittley-Ryan so we thought it was time to bring things up to date.
The Simon Whittley-Ryan companies are (or were):
Highgrove Osprey PLC – forced into liquidation by a creditor in August 2019. Here is a link to the Companies House record;
St Helier Capital Management Ltd – currently the subject of a winding up petition. More on that below;
Win River Developments Ltd – forced into liquidation by a creditor in January 2020. Here is a link to the Companies House record;
Win River Ltd – currently still in operation. Accounts are 4 months overdue and Confirmation Statement is 2 months overdue. The dissolution process was started by Companies House but has been cancelled because “cause has been shown why the company should not be dissolved“. This normally means that Companies House has been provided with evidence of a legal action in progress against a company, however Companies House will not provide further details to any enquirer;
Avianta Capital Consulting Ltd – currently still in operation but Companies House has applied to have the company struck off. Mr Whittley-Ryan’s wife is a director of Avianta Capital Ltd, an Irish company which has been seeking to raise money for an airline venture. There is no evidence that Mrs Aislinn Whittley-Ryan is involved in any of the companies described above.
It is worth noting that until recently Aislinn Whittley-Ryan was also a director of Brockingbury Stud Ltd, a company whose registered office is a residential address. That address has also been used by a number of the Simon Whittley-Ryan companies. Brockingbury Stud Ltd was dissolved in October 2019.
The problem with Simon Whittley-Ryan companies is very simple. In EVERY case the company raises money from investors for a fixed term e.g two or three years. It promises to pay interest on that money at rates between 8% – 12% per annum. Interest payments are supposed to be paid every six months.
In EVERY case it pays interest once or perhaps even twice, but then the interest payments stop. An investor, if he or she is lucky, receives only one year of interest. Then it is always the same story. The company states it is going through “a refinancing” and payments will resume shortly. In the case of Highgrove Osprey investors waited years for a refinancing until a creditor finally wound up the company.
Meanwhile, whilst these existing companies have stopped paying interest to investors, Mr Whittley-Ryan is busy setting up a new company to repeat the exercise. One of the questions which needs answering is whether this is a variation on a traditional Ponzi Scheme e.g where instead of using one company to keep taking in the money the perpetrator is using several companies. One thing which is clear is that when the term of the investment is up the investor is not repaid. It doesn’t matter at all what it says in the contract. He just doesn’t repay investors.
We believe Simon Whittley-Ryan’s companies must owe millions to creditors. It’s noticeable that on the rare occasions he actually files accounts for the companies there is always a clause in every set of accounts which says something like “the company is dependent on the financial support of other group companies for its ability to continue trading“. Those other group companies are never identified. If all of the companies are dependent on each other and none of them have any money then it’s just a smokescreen.
The usual excuse of “an imminent refinancing” is trotted out on a regular basis. At the recent hearing for Win River Developments Ltd, Mr Whittley-Ryan submitted a “refinancing contract” to the court as proof of an imminent refinancing. It was in the name of a completely different company (with no explanation of that company’s connection to Win River Developments Ltd) and it was not signed by any party. It could quite easily have been downloaded from the internet the day before. Quite rightly the Judge gave it no credibility whatsoever and issued a winding up order.
A few weeks ago we received this email below from an investor in Highgrove Osprey PLC:
I am [ detail redacted ] and foolishly invested in Highgrove Osprey. I cannot afford to lose my investment. Like everyone else I have lost count of the many promises of capital repayment with interest. I actually reported Whittley’s activities to Action Fraud and after a couple of interviews with Essex & Kent Fraud Squad and providing all the evidence I had, I was informed that the Police had visited the home of Simon Whittley and had taken away documents and computers. They also called him in for interview. I was later informed that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. How much more evidence do they need? And now he is involved with raising finance for a new airline. What is wrong with our society that allows someone like him to get away with such despicable activity?
One of our team spoke to the investor to obtain further information. We have now put him in contact with one of the Win River Developments Ltd investors who is keen to get to the truth about his investment.
Last week we received this email below on another matter related to Simon Whittley-Ryan (Simon Whittley as he was known at the time):
Just read your articles about Simon Whittley. He is a keen sailor and in or about 2007, he contacted Bloomsbury Publishing, publishers of Reeds Nautical Almanac, about putting it online. [ Detail redacted ]. He raised about £750k from private investors and others – no doubt Bloomsbury put in a chunk. It was a disaster from the start. Data was in an odd format to import, SW was working for Credit Suisse on other deals and trying to buy Charlestown Port in Cornwall as well. [ Detail Redacted ]. He went on to produce a web system that was only available onshore so useless to sailors. The company went into administration and, strangely, there was no money left. Looking at his history, anyone might think he was an inveterate crook. I’m sure he isn’t really.
We assume the final sentence was made in jest.
It appears that Simon Whittley-Ryan companies have a very long history of failure. That’s OK if he is losing his own money, but it’s not OK when he continually raises money from investors with the promise of regular payments and those payments always stop not long after the investment has been made. If anyone can identify ANY company owned, managed or operated by Simon Whittley-Ryan which HAS NOT resulted in losses for investors we would very much like to hear about it. We will happily publish those details.
It appears to us that Simon Whittley-Ryan has come up with a business model which enables him to live a very comfortable life off other peoples’ money, with all the evidence pointing to the fact that he never actually repays them.
The St Helier Capital Management Ltd saga continues. At a hearing on 12th February 2020, Mr Whittley-Ryan provided a statement to the court to explain why he had not complied with the Court Order of May 2019. He was supposed to submit his evidence by the end of May 2019. His excuse was that there must have been confusion between himself and his solicitor, but he couldn’t actually remember. He couldn’t provide any emails or correspondence in support of his statement because his emails had been “archived” and he needed an IT company to help him retrieve them. He claimed to have spoken to the law firm he was using at the time and they agreed there might have been confusion. We can’t help wondering why he didn’t ask the law firm to forward emails from that time to him. In any case, as always with Simon Whittley-Ryan, he was unable to provide any evidence to support his statements.
His statement pointed the finger of blame for his inability to pay investors squarely at Safe Or Scam, claiming that we had prevented him from being able to raise more money. His argument ignored the fact that his companies had already defaulted on interest payments long before we published our concerns.
The Judge has been very considerate in giving Mr Whittley-Ryan another week in which to submit his response to the petitioner’s evidence (which the petitioner submitted in May 2019). Once submitted, the petitioner will have a week of his own to reply to Mr Whittley-Ryan’s evidence. At that time another hearing will be set. The Judge awarded costs against St Helier Capital Management Ltd for both the hearing of 29th January 2020 and the hearing of 12th February 2020.