DTI petitions to wind up 'investment club'

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The Department of Trade & Industry is petitioning in the High Court to have a so-called investment club wound up and the Official Receiver appointed as a liquidator, writes Clifford German.

Unlike pyramid selling scams, there appears to be no actual product or service which members of the Titan Business Club are expected to sell, but potential investors are invited by word of mouth to attend confidential recruitment sessions in hotels around the country.

Although it calls itself an investment club, Titan is not subject to any of the established regulatory authorities. Sponsors pay introduction fees for new recruits they bring to meetings, where they are pressurised to part with a fee of pounds 2,500, which they can only recoup by introducing three or four more new members. Investors are also instructed to observe a strict confidentiality clause.

The DTI petition will not be heard until 26 June; the club continues to operate. If the application is successful, the club can be put out of business and the current directors disqualified for between two and 15 years.