Police investigate Harrogate firm

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The Independent Online
DETECTIVES in North Yorkshire are investigating a former independent financial adviser, Harrington Pickles, over investments worth pounds 1m made by two clients, writes Caroline Merrell.

The fraud squad inquiry is continuing after yesterday's announcement by the Investors Compensation Scheme that it had stepped in to help customers of the former Fimbra-registered firm based in Harrogate.

The ICS comes into operation when investment firms are unable to return money owed to their clients. The maximum compensation the scheme can pay out per individual is pounds 48,000.

Fraud squad detectives began investigating after a complaint was made by a client who claimed to have invested pounds 850,000 in guaranteed offshore bonds offering an interest rate of 12 per cent. The client subsequently received about pounds 350,000 of his money back.

James Harrington, a former director of Harrington Pickles, is helping the police with their inquiries.

The financial adviser went into liquidation in the middle of last year, three months after investors brought a High Court action to get their money back.

The estimated liabilities of the company when it went in to liquidation were about pounds 1.5m. The company made some investments in property developments in Spain.

Mr Harrington said: 'All the investors' money can be accounted for.'

The ICS has also stepped in to help clients of another three former financial advisers.

The three firms are Lloyd and Company (Securities) of Erdington, Birmingham; IFB (London) Ltd of Kilburn, London; and John Laurence Murphy, Jonathan Geoffrey Steward and Frank James Mountain, trading as Jonathans Financial Services in Witham, Essex.