Tchenguiz backed fund to be wound up

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The Independent Online

A housing investment fund backed by the high-profile property entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz is to be liquidated as the property downturn continues to take its toll.

All known creditors to the fund – Sterling Assets UK Limited – will vote on Thursday on whether to commence winding up proceedings and appoint business recovery firm Leonard Curtis as liquidator.

Sterling Assets UK was set up by David Moulton and Paul Belson in 2004 aiming to create a £1.5bn residential portfolio within five years. The two founders, who previously worked at property services firm Colliers CRE, reportedly secured around £300m of equity commitments from seven companies related to Mr Tchenguiz's Consensus Business Group and an unnamed US financial institution.

However, the credit crunch and consequent collapse in values in the residential and commercial property sectors hit its plans. Although some profitable trading took place, many of its proposed investments were shelved.

In a letter to the creditors dated 29 July, Leonard Curtis, a director at Leonard Curtis, said: "The directors of Sterling Assets UK Limited, having regard to its financial position, have decided to commence liquidation proceedings and we have been appointed to assist in the formalities."

Leonard Curtis said it was in the process of preparing a statement of affairs detailing its liabilities. Mr Moulton and Mr Belson's other company, Sterling Residential Property Consultants, is not affected by the proceedings.

A spokesman for Mr Tchenguiz confirmed his involvement with Sterling Assets UK but said there had been no significant drawing down of any of the equity commitments. Sterling Assets UK has ceased trading and Mr Moulton and Mr Belson have resigned as directors.