Merthyr Ski Slope 2, Slippery Customers

To recap . . .

A plan has been unveiled to give Merthyr a ski slope and other goodies, including a much-need equestrian centre and yurt accommodation. Though I was unaware of any yurts in Merthyr needing accommodation; no doubt – as with social and other housing in Wales – these yurts will magically appear from beyond our borders.

This project at Rhydycar West is the brainchild – so Siôn Barry of WalesOnline told us – of Leigh Gerald Large, a Canadian representing a company by the name of Marvel Ltd, in cahoots with Robin Kellen of Snowsport Cymru/Wales. All this and more may be found in my earlier post Merthyr Ski Slope.

Courtesy of WalesOnline

We established that Mr Large is a man with a great interest in trees of all kinds, for he is involved with a number of companies that have trees in their names. Many of these ‘tree’ companies seek the conditions that only the British Virgin Islands can provide.

We further established that Large has enjoyed associations with some colourful characters, including a Cardiff solicitor suspended last year by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allowing his one-man show to descend into a state of “financial chaos”.

But try as I might I was unable to find any information on Marvel Ltd. There is a company of that name registered with Companies House but it’s definitely not the company planning to house yurts in Merthyr. And as there cannot be two companies with the same name registered with Companies House it was reasonable to conclude that either Marvel Ltd didn’t exist, or else it existed in some other jurisdiction.

Now read on . . .

Thanks to information received I now know that Marvel Limited is registered in Guernsey. So I went to the Guernsey Registry for a few documents. First we have Marvel’s Memorandum of Incorporation dated 09.09.2013. There are two shares, one each held by CN Alpha Limited and CN Beta Limited, both of Guernsey. (And when searching you must type ‘Limited’, for ‘Ltd’ turns up nothing.)

click to enlarge

So I decided to dive in and get information on CN Alpha Limited. The first document I bought was a change of director dated 02.06.2014. The second was a change of director dated 30.09.2015. The third document was the Annual Validation dated 31.12.2016. This last document tells us that CN Alpha Limited has four directors with what look like genuine domestic addresses on the island.

Of course, we may be in the labyrinth of tax-haven registrations where locals can put their names to hundreds or even thousands of companies. Then again, these people might be genuine directors of the company that owns Marvel Limited. How do we know?

Blackwell and Hearse are also directors of a UK-registered property company. (As is Geoffrey Robert Le Page, a former CN Alpha director.) Though the shares in Thornhill Property Investments Ltd are owned by Thornhill Property Holdings Limited . . . of Guernsey. Round and round we go.

Turning back to Marvel Limited I learnt that CN Alpha Limited and CN Beta Limited had been joined as directors by Cavendish International Limited. Going to the Annual Validation for 2016 we see that CN Alpha Limited has now become CCD Alpha Limited, with a similar change for CN Beta Limited.

So who the hell are Cavendish International Limited? Well, that should read were, because the company was voluntarily struck-off on July 17.

Which obviously means that Cavendish International Limited can no longer be a director of Marvel Limited. But the last entry for Marvel on the Guernsey Register is dated January 17. Maybe they’re ducking and weaving so much that those behind Marvel can’t keep up with their own manoeuvrings.

And yet it could be that even if we could get to the bottom of what’s going on on Guernsey we’d find that the trail goes off to the British Virgin Islands. Marvel may have a presence on Guernsey for appearance’ sake only due to the Channel Islands being regarded as more acceptable than those tropical locations full of shifty foreigners.

One thing’s for sure, Leigh Gerald Large is not mentioned anywhere on the Guernsey documents. So perhaps he’s lurking behind the frangipani trees on the BVI. Which might suggest that he’s no more than a front man for somebody else.

Unless fresh information comes in I think I’ve gone as far as I can with this investigation. Which is why I’m passing it over to the ‘Welsh’ media and our politicians to get at the truth. (Don’t laugh!)

There must be journalists, politicians, Merthyr council and Welsh Assembly officials, who have contact details for Leigh Gerald Large. They should get in touch with him and demand that he tells them who owns Marvel Limited, and where it is ultimately registered.

Those behind this ski slope wonderland have gone to great lengths to hide their identity. Which is suspicious in itself. And worrying when we can predict with certainty that this scheme will demand large dollops of public funding.

We are entitled to know the truth.

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 14.12.2017: Pine Fields Private Ltd now has a new director in James Douglas Shanks, and although the address given for him is in East Sussex, the company’s base, I suspect he himself might be located in Scotland.

Shanks was appointed on September 25th, two weeks after this piece appeared. On the same day William John Handley resigned from Pine Fields Private Ltd, leaving Shanks as the sole director.

39 thoughts on “Merthyr Ski Slope 2, Slippery Customers

  1. Captain Corpse

    Re skiing in Merthyr: Late on Saturday nights in the Sixties, Col Neil Jenkins, Brigadier Ronnie, the Mad Major, Woodsy, Castro, me, Ap Sion, and others would visit the Scrumpie House and emerge a while later to slalom down Merthyr High Street.
    The aim would be to catch last orders in The Lamb, where we’d deliver abuse to corrupt members of the Labour-run council. Meanwhile shouting the lyrics of “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp” – in preparation for manoeuvres up Brecon the following day.
    Swansea Jac, yes him, also put in cameo appearances on that slope and there is a photo of him and me outside the funeral parlour opposite The Lamb.
    And, yes, Jim the barman (employed at the parlour also) was known as “Jim the Death”. While serving your pint he’d gaze coldly at you, measuring you up.
    Please forgive the reminiscing. We don’t need “entrepreneurs”, we are well capable of making our own fun and games.

    1. Dafis

      Don’t leave it at that, FFS It sound really good, real fun and games enjoyed by real people. Tell the whole story. If it’s a big one slice it up into manageable chapters and roll it out. I predict a classic here.

    2. Happy days! Were you with us that time Harri Webb called the police to throw us out of the house he was squatting in?

      Who was ‘the Mad Major’? And what was the name of that bloke Neil was sharing the house with up in Pontsticill?

      To illustrate your description of ‘Jim the Death’ here he is in a lovely photo with John Lewis and Trevor Protheroe. As you can see, Jim took being lugubrious very seriously.

      Lamb trio

      1. Dafis

        Shame we can’t get those three jolly characters posted on key entry points on Clawdd Offa. The looks on the guys in the middle and on the right would frighten off most Anglos bound for Abersock, Aberdovey or Aberaeron, while the guy on the left looks like he could muster a nice line in jovial menace. Total absence of modern metrosexual oiliness – bloody marvelous !

  2. Big Gee

    Slightly off topic, but related to earlier posts. I got an e-mail from Izzy Evans today (some of you probably had the same if you signed the original petition).

    Here is a copy of it:

    Dear Friends,

    The Iron Ring petition is still currently under consideration by the Welsh Assembly and will be discussed at the petitions committee meeting on the 19/09/17 at 9.00am.

    The meeting will be live streamed on thank you for your continued support and I would like to urge you to watch the meeting.

    Diolch yn fawr iawn

    Izzy Evans

      1. Big Gee

        I know I thought the same, BUT you have to realise who published that story – the British Bullshit Corporation.

        Here’s an excerpt from that story

        The Welsh Government put plans on hold following a petition and accusations decision-makers were ignorant and disconnected from people’s views.

        The operative words being “put plans on hold”. That doesn’t mean ‘scrapped’.

        That’s weasel words for “put the brake on for a bit boys & we’ll discuss it later – after these stupid natives have calmed down a bit”.

        1. I know what you mean, but I think there’s also a procedural issue about the Petitions Committee having to go through the motions.

          As for the plan itself, now that people have been worked up, I’d love to see English Heritage West try to proceed with it.

  3. Dafis

    your tweet about importing prisoners caught my eye. We now have a crazy situation where Cymru will host hundreds of assorted crims from over the border, no doubt housed at great expense in clinks run by multinational contractors like Mitie, G4S, or some other imbecilic organisation more attuned to grabbing money than deploying remedial and rehabilitative activities. So we are looking to a future when even more dysfunctional folk will be let loose from these prisons into the arms of that other flagship sector of the Welsh economy – the housing associations and similar outfits catering for homeless folk. The guys who designed our future economy around these activities must rank among the most warped souls in creation.

    1. Dr Sally Baker

      So you spotted the Big Con as well Dafis. The politicians who begged for the prison in north Wales were Leanne Wood, Hywel Williams, Elfyn Llwyd and David Hanson. Their argument was based on the ‘need’ for a prison for Welsh speakers because Welsh speakers were being denied their language rights in Liverpool prisons. Now that was true, but it could and should have been addressed by Welsh language or other equality legislation. No-one did this – instead these muppets fell for the argument that a brand spanking new prison would be a welcome addition for north Wales. They BEGGED the Westminster Tories for a prison. Hywel and Elfyn wanted it in Caernarfon until the locals realised what the reality would be and said ‘no way’. So the prison went to Wrexham – where there are fewer people with the socio-economic muscle to say no.

      Wrexham is now saddled with the biggest prison in Europe. Since when were there nearly 2000 Welsh speakers in need of banging up? That prison is already full of problems and the Betsi Health Board is responsible for providing health care to the numerous inmates with mental health and drug problems – the Betsi that is breathing it’s last and in special measures because of institutionalised abuse in the mental health service. Oh and guess what was in the Daily Post a couple of days ago? An article about the need to teach Welsh language skills to the prison officers – because they don’t speak Welsh.

      Before that prison was built I e mailed Hywel Williams telling him that, based on research from America, that prison would end up being a super-prison that would not employ local people, would contribute nothing to the local economy and would kill the surrounding area. I also predicted that Scouse warders would be employed to lock up suicidal and distressed people and that some of those warders would be smuggling in drugs and mobile phones. Williams sent me a one line reply saying ‘you have your opinion, I have mine’.

      Well Hywel, they’re employing a bunch of non-Welsh speaking warders, there’s already a dreadful problem out there with drugs and people living nearby are going apeshit. It didn’t involve rocket science to predict this.

      What I’m interested in was what was the REAL reason why those four politicians begged for that prison? Even they aren’t stupid enough to believe their own propaganda, that was just for the electorate. (Hywel entertainingly suggested that the prison would provide trade for local businesses – did he think that the warders were going to pop into the butchers in Caernarfon for a nice leg of lamb for the prisoners dinner?) Everyone knows that under neoliberal Govt’s, it is not villains being imprisoned, it is dispossessed people who cannot cope in society. AFTER the prison was built Leanne wrote an article in the Huffington Post saying that she wanted a prison ‘but not one like this’. She knew what would happen and who would be banged up there – she’s a former bloody probation officer, she knows that prisons are no longer full of the likes of Ronnie Biggs.

      Anyone know why four ‘progressive’ politicians wanted to do the dirty work of New Labour – because I think New Labour were still in Gov’t when that prison was planned? Particularly as Hanson was PPS to Blair and then worked in the Ministry of Justice – is there something we should know? Hanson’s wife Margaret had a few goes at standing for election for Labour in Cheshire – when that didn’t work out she relocated to north Wales and became a leading light in Flintshire Council. She’s now screwing up badly as Vice-Chair at the Betsi Board.

      Both Hanson and his wife were Councillors in Cheshire whilst a paedophile ring raged there in the social services – and Margaret Hanson was a children’s social worker for Cheshire Social Services at the time.

      WHAT was the agenda for the support for that prison? In the case of the Hanson’s it couldn’t possibly have been them thinking of putting their paedophile colleagues in there, so what was it all about?

      1. Dafis

        You report that Leanne didn’t get the prison she had hoped for ! What a fuckin’ liberty. How naive is this bloody girl ? Was she hoping for a nice cosy little clink full of guys willing to stop the juice and violence at once and engage in all those rehab activities prior to embracing a return to mainstream life completely reorientated away from a life of crime. Well that equation has never balanced. For numerous reasons many prisoners find it almost impossible to change. Their predicament is made even worse by a regime which inhibits any serious attempt at rehab anyway, thus increasing the isolation of the individual with each successive term served.

    1. It also says that the development is “in the heart of the Welsh countryside”. It’s on the edge of bloody Merthyr! I do hope Mr Large has not been telling porkies.

      1. gaynor

        well to be fair, Merthyr is on the doorstep to the Beacons and is in some stunning country, are you passing this stuff on to your AM/MP? I mean you have gone to a hell of a lot of effort, to uncover this.

        1. Yes, Merthyr’s not far from the Beacons, but the puff I was commenting on made it sound as if the proposed ski slope was in the Beacons, in open country.

          My MP and AM wouldn’t be interested as it’s not their patch, and politicians have an unwritten rule about not ‘trespassing’, but I might refer it to the Merthyr MP and AM.

          1. Dafis

            …….and a right pair of lemons they are ! Probably looking for complimentary tickets for a day out at the new venue, with friends and family of course !

            1. daffy2012

              I know the AM is Lord Ellis Thomas and enough said. But isn’t Liz S-Roberts doing a fairly good job? Maybe you refer to the Merthyr duo. I’m sure Ellis-Thomas will be joining them on that day out since he’s now defected from Plaid to Labour.

              1. Dafis

                I meant the 2 Labour tossers that Merthyr is saddled with. A weird guy called Gerald Jones, a classic party machine man, and some dame called Dawn who came from away to bless the area with her massive talent ( for what I don’t know) !

                1. Dr Sally Baker

                  I think the Dawn that you have identified is the Dawn who has featured on the investigative website ‘The Eye’. She is originally from Bristol I think and was at one point the girlfriend of the Labour candidate who kept knocking on Arfon’s door a few years ago (Martin someone).

                  Not so long ago Dawn busied herself tweeting about living it up in the sun abroad and how difficult her life was which didn’t go down too well with her constituents in Methyr who couldn’t afford the sort of holidays that she could. She also had a number of different photos taken of herself accompanied by different slogans, depending upon whether she wanted to pass herself off as English or Welsh.

                  Although she’s now been elected, she hasn’t really made much of a splash. Indeed no-one can even remember her surname.

                    1. Dr Sally Baker

                      Just googled her – it’s Dawn Bowden. The header on her website reads, entertainingly, ‘Working Hard For Methyr and Rhymney’ – and the blurb below waxes lyrical about how much she loves going to Italy.

                      I note that she spent her whole career pre-election as an NHS union rep – so that’ll be why neither she nor Martin have breathed a word about the genocidal Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board then… Or the genocidal NHS Boards rather nearer to her constituency in south Wales who have become embroiled in scandal.

                      I met Martin Eagleston at a friend’s house once whilst he was canvassing. He was very frosty towards me and I just thought that he was a crap canvasser. I wonder if he knew who I was – having dared publish material about the abuses of the NHS in north Wales a lot of people concealing the crap knew who I was without me knowing who they were.

                    2. Yes indeedy. Here’s something I put together last year on Dawn Bowden. It merits another airing. (You might have to right click and open in a new tab.)

                      Dawn Bowden shape-shifter

                    3. Dr Sally Baker

                      You’ve introduced me to a whole new barrel of crap Jac – I’ve just googled Eaglestone and discovered that in 2013 he became Welsh Labour’s Press Officer. So he will know who I am – and he’ll be the reason why Carwyn and Vaughan Gething keep making arses of themselves by remaining in deep denial re the Betsi, it’s death rates, constant scandals and state of bankruptcy.

                      Come on then Martin and Dawn, whilst you enjoy yourselves in Italy, people in north Wales are knocking on lawyers and Ombudsman’s doors after their loved ones have died unnecessarily at the hands of the Betsi. Time to come clean?

                    4. I am renowned for introducing people to new barrels of crap . . . for I know where to find them!

  4. Myfanwy

    Excellent piece of detective work Jac, but really these slippery characters shouldn’t be allowed to manipulate the system in the first place. In which way can the system be changed to stop these greedy, unscrupulous characters taking advantage and what do you think would be a better investment for Merthyr’s future?

    1. Rather than pour money into the celebration of deprivation (third sector) and giving it away to every shyster who drops by we should do as other small countries have done – educate our people and encourage our indigenous entrepreneurs.

      But this can’t be done with the political parties we have now. Two parties believing in state control of just about everything – Labour and Plaid Cymru – with the main opposition party – Conservatives – being an essentially English party that will never put Welsh interests first.

      This is another reason why we need a Welsh party of the right. Not just to defend Wales from colonisation and exploitation but to encourage economic growth.

      1. Dr Sally Baker

        Another huge problem that I’m sure you know about Jac but no-one’s yet mentioned – that is the Welsh Govt’s (and indeed wider society’s) notion of what an ‘entrepreneur’ actually is. It has become a byword for a spiv or a get rich quick merchant who pumps the Welsh Gov’t for ‘funding’ to prop up a business that would otherwise undoubtedly fail. And undermines genuine business at the same time.

        Some years ago I had the ‘pleasure’ of attending an ‘awards ceremony’ at Bangor University for ‘young entrepreneurs’, to which local school kids had been invited to encourage them to become ‘entrepreneurs’ themselves. The man giving out the prizes was one Dylan Jones-Evans and it was a bloody travesty. There wasn’t one genuine business person in sight, just a collection of rude, pretentious leeches who were all being propped up by Gov’t ‘funding’. The messages that were being given out to the kids were appalling. One kid put up their hand and asked one of the ‘entrepreneurs’ whether they would have ever thought of being a school teacher. The leech fell about laughing and said never, because he wouldn’t get to own a Porsche if he was a teacher. This was said in front of the kids’ teachers. The message was quite clear – hard work and genuine interest is not involved in establishing a business, it’s about greed, flashiness and sneering at other people. Oh and claiming Gov’t ‘funding’.

        Dunno about you Jac, but every genuinely successful business person that I’ve ever met has had to work hard for many years and make sacrifices – neither do they drive Porches at the age of 28. But as well as the ‘funding’ from Gov’t, the twat who’d never be a school teacher also had a rich mummy. She complained about the quality of bottled water on offer at the ceremony, screaming at me that she could ‘taste chlorine’ and had a ‘very sensitive palate’. I felt like telling her that a few million people on the planet would do pretty much anything to access clean water, but I could see that it just wasn’t going to sink in…

        This is the model of ‘business’ promoted by the political class in Wales (and to be fair in England as well). No wonder we’re in such a mess. I know one real businessman in Llanberis who spits blood at these scammers – he’s watched them for years and tells me that it is a very big problem.

        1. Dafis

          DrSally – I’ve been banging on about this for years. Wales developed the concept of becoming an entrepreneur by going on courses. Thus was spawned the academic who “specialised” in entrepreneurship. All the real entrepreneurs I ever met were people who had ideas, blessed with varying degrees of education attainment from zero to Ph.D’s, but never went on some “enterpreneurship” course. Some got into management programmes when foundations were in place or well into their growth path where they started to recruit talent for their team and felt they needed to bone up on certain subject matters of particular relevance to their industry or trading model.

          1. Exactly, you don’t ‘make’ entrepreneurs. How many courses did Henry Ford go on? And Dostoevsky never did a creative writing course. The only justification for such courses seems to be that they create work for those who couldn’t make it as entrepreneurs or writers.

              1. Dr Sally Baker

                Just read this link for ‘public service leaders’ – oh God it’s even more painful than one of Dylan’s lectures on ‘entrepreneurship’. There are plenty of down to earth, normal, genuine people in Wales – why is it that without exception it is the fuckwits who are running everything?

          1. Dafis

            Good guy, but could you see the muppets down the Bay being able to hold a conversation with him about any aspect of his business without rapidly lapsing into the usual tripe –

            “what it is see, we got all these schemes with money from Europe, and a bit from London if we ‘urry up like, and if you take up this empty factory by Bridgend, which is awful ‘andy for the M4 east to England and beyond, we can lob you lots of money in grants, handouts etc etc ”
            When the man says that he wasn’t aware of any precious minerals of interest to his business lying in the ground near Bridgend, they might retort – “well, don’t worry about that, the Press release and photo ops will be smashing for the Minister and they do like a nice day out”

  5. Stan

    “There must be journalists, politicians, Merthyr council and Welsh Assembly officials, who have contact details for Leigh Gerald Large. They should get in touch with him and demand that he tells them who owns Marvel Limited, and where it is ultimately registered”.

    Yes indeed, Jac and anyone concerned about how Wales keeps attracting these wannabe developers and their confusing mish-mash of companies owes you a vote of thanks. Because we all know that the begging bowl will soon be presented to Carwyn who will in the usual fashion then dole out a few (million) quid. You may have gone as far as you can given your finite resources, but you’ve raised enough areas of concern that any reasonable person would expect questions to be asked by others – those that should be asking them without you having to lead them by the nose – for the umpteenth time. Let us hope so but I’m suddenly overcome with a bad case of deja vu. No doubt we’ll see a scoop by Shippo this time next year and perhaps the odd question in the Senedd.

    1. Jac

      In addition to the internet and the dark web I suspect there may also be a network for spiv businessmen, and the message it gives is – ‘Go to Wales, politicians there are thick as shit, media will put out whatever you want them to, money given, no questions asked. Lubbly jubbly!’.

    1. No chance. What passes for the Welsh media is little more than a relay for press releases and a regurgitator of UK news from a ‘Welsh’ angle.

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