My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.
But we’re here now, so let’s turn our attention once again to the handsome old pile that is Plas Glynllifon, just off the A499, near Llandwrog, south west of Caernarfon.
Those of you who’ve followed this saga – and there are many of you – will be familiar with the outline of the story and the main players, so you can probably skip the first two sections, which I’ve put in for newcomers.
Though I have to admit that going through previous postings helped refresh my memory, because a hell of a lot has happened.
The reason for returning to Glynllifon is partly because I want to introduce the new owner . . . and it’s not the guy mentioned by Owen Hughes of the Daily Post in this article.
Also, because I’ve learnt of a Danish connection, and these new Scandinavian links take us back to Gwynedd. Small world, eh!
Even though this is another biggie, it’s broken up into manageable chunks. So take your time, follow the links, get the full picture.
And don’t expect anything next week!
PAUL AND ROWENA WILLIAMS
The first article in this saga, Weep for Wales, appeared in June 2018. When I wrote it I had no idea I’d be writing number 19 over three years later. (If you’ve got a rainy day you could go through 1 – 18!)
It all began when my attention was drawn to the sudden closure of a pub and a hotel, both in Powys. People lost their jobs, contractors and suppliers went unpaid, all of which resulted in a lot of anger in Knighton, Presteigne, and the area round about.
Officially, these premises – the Knighton Hotel and the Radnorshire Arms Hotel – were closed by their new owner, convicted fraudster, Keith Harvey Part(d)ridge.
But that was a sham. The real owners were still Paul and Rowena Williams, who wanted out, so Part(d)ridge agreed to go through the charade of taking over Leisure & Development Ltd, the company that owned the Powys hotels (and other properties).
This company had been set up in January 2015 so that the Williamses could ‘buy’ properties they already owned. With ludicrously inflated prices attached to every one, which then enabled them to borrow millions of pounds from the NatWest Bank.
The latest figures show that following the collapse of Leisure & Development Ltd, and after liquidators had sold off the properties, the company still owes NatWest £6.2m.
To give you an example of the kind of inflated valuations that can account for a sum like that let’s look at the Radnorshire Arms Hotel in Presteigne. According to the Land Registry Leisure & Development paid £3,487,049 for the property in August 2015.
Admittedly, that was a knockdown price because the administrators wanted shot of it, but even so, ‘The Rad’ wasn’t worth a quarter of what Paul and Rowena Williams claim to have paid for it in 2015.
The focus for the Gruesome Twosome shifted north in 2016 when they bought Plas Glynllifon. The purchase made through their company, Plas Glynllifon Ltd. The Land Registry title document tells us that the sum paid for Plas Glynllifon was £630,000.
The two directors at the end were Rowena Claire Williams and Myles Andrew Cunliffe. More on Cunliffe in a moment.
Even though the Williamses paid £630,000 for the old pile the only accounts ever filed want us to believe that Plas Glynllifon Ltd’s assets total £10,610,319. Almost totally explained by Paul and Rowena Williams putting in £10,123,910.
(Though it’s worth bearing in mind that these accounts were drawn up by John Duggan, of Leintwardine, another fraudster who’s done time in prison.)
Theoretically, this injection of cash could be explained by the £11m+ Paul and Rowena Williams are supposed to have received from Part(d)ridge for Leisure & Development Ltd.
But then they seemed to undermine that possibility by presenting themselves as creditors to the administrators handling Leisure & Development, claiming they were still owed the £11,751,698 ‘sale’ price.
Which raises the question – if they hadn’t received that money from Part(d)ridge, where did the £10m+ ‘invested’ in Plas Glynllifon come from?
‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘
As 2018 drew to a close, with Paul and Rowena sitting down with a cup of hot cocoa after writing their letters to Santa, they ruefully accepted that the good times were over.
For nobody – not even the ever-gullible ‘Welsh Government’ – was going to give them grants for Plas Glynllifon, and no bank or alternative funder was going to loan them money.
Time to get out.
ENTER THE ‘FINANCE GUY’
With Cunliffe saying Plas Glynllifon ‘would be open in months’.
In that article Paul Williams described Cunliffe as a ‘finance guy’. Which is one way of putting it.
Now the thing to understand about Cunliffe is that he was always working with or for others. He never had the cash himself to renovate Plas Glynllifon, or Seiont Manor (the other property in the area owned by Paul and Rowena Williams).
Nor did he have the money to buy a football club. Not even Blackpool.
Disley is said to live near to Blackpool, in Preston.
The modus operandi described in this Blackpool FC forum is, ‘Stocky scammer Disley was alleged to have bought failing companies, then emptied their bank accounts before they crashed’.
This is often done by advertising loans in the hope of attracting business people who are desperate for money but have been turned down by banks. This is how Goldmann and Sons Plc operated, as we see with the image below from the now closed Twitter account.
You’ll be hearing more about Goldmann and Sons in a minute.
Of course, one drawback is that failing companies are unlikely to have much in their bank accounts.
But there’s another method of making money from a failing company, or a company set up to fail. The latter being favoured by the Duggans of Bryn Llys, who were mentioned in the previous article on this blog.
It goes something like this . . . set up a company, open credit accounts with assorted suppliers, order as much as you can on those accounts, flog off what is supplied (for cash), then let the company fold with the bills unpaid.
It’s an old model, often known as ‘bankruptcy fraud’. There are of course variations.
One is played out in this scene from the Sopranos, in which Tony rips off suppliers to the company run by his old school friend Davey Scatino. Davey’s made the mistake of owing Tony money.
Though in the beginning, the shares in this parent company were all held by Islandwide Advisory Ltd, an Isle of Man company formed March 31, 2010, by Dennis Rogers.
By the time Goldmann and Sons Plc was dissolved, on June 18, 2019, most of the shares were, according to documents filed at Companies House, held by Myles Cunliffe, in three separate allocations.
The names Cunliffe, Rogers, and Disley’s son-in-law Thomas Ellis, crop up again and again in connection with the name Goldmann. And of course, they ran other companies.
There must be others I’ve missed. Which is understandable because so many of them were ‘mayfly’ companies, here and gone before we – or Companies House – knew anything about them.
The original address for all the Goldmann companies was Queens Court, 24 Queen Street, Manchester M2 5HX. Then, at various dates between March and August in 2018, they all moved to the 2nd Floor, 9 Portland Street, Manchester M1 3BE.
But in addition to the three mentioned, we find interesting directors with some of the other Goldmann companies.
In particular, Goldmann and Sons (Dubai) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Dubai) Ltd; Goldmann and Sons (Isle of Man) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Isle of Man) Ltd; Goldmann and Sons (Abu Dhabi) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Abu Dhabi) Ltd.
All three were formed March 27, 2018, and didn’t hang around for long before being voluntarily dissolved December 31, 2019. There were of course no accounts filed.
And yet, despite their own names appearing in the companies’ names, the three desperadoes never served as directors.
But I’m intrigued by those who were named as directors. One of the names given is shared by a legitimate businessman who’s worked for, among others, Coca-Cola, Diageo, and Proctor & Gamble.
The other named director is an American, said to be resident in the UK, and named on the documents filed with Companies House as Hiram Alfred Preston.
The problem I have with Preston is that, well, I can’t find him. He appears on 192.Com but the only addresses are those for Goldmann and Sons in Manchester.
So I thought he might live in the USA. But I drew another blank even after switching my VPN location to the US.
Does Preston really exist? (The man, not the town.)
There’s so much more I could say about these bastards. There’s the comment to Weep for Wales 18 from Myles Cunliffe’s brother, there’s the company they named after me, but I’ll leave it here for the time being.
A couple of weeks ago I received a Twitter DM from Denmark. (Not something I can say very often!) The message read:
I'm a Danish investigative journalist and I'm looking into a person who was a director of company half owned by Goldmann & Sons PLC.
As stated, Goldmann and Sons Plc may have served as a holding company for the others in the stable. And as you’ve seen, there were quite a few nags there, some of which changed their name, and all of which – beginning in April 2019 – went out of business.
Though the company my contact was interested in was one I’d overlooked.
My person of interest is named Benny Falk and he was the owner of Goldmann & Sons (Thailand) before it changed name to The European Clothing Company.
Following the lead, I went to the Companies House website and looked up The European Clothing Company Ltd.
In its short life, 18.01.2018 to 31.03.2020, this company submitted no accounts and – as my source suggested – the sole director was Benny Falk. Initially, the 100 shares were divided equally between Falk and Goldmann and Sons Plc.
But Goldmann and Sons Plc pulled out of Benny’s company. In documents lodged with Companies House it was claimed that it ceased to exercise control 18.01.2018, and the shares were transferred to Falk 20.01.2018.
Though I’m suspicious of the documents supplying this information because they were not received by Companies House until a year later. I believe they were back-dated.
Which would mean that Goldmann and Sons Plc severed ties with Benny Falk a month after Cunliffe appeared in Glynllifon, which in turn resulted in him starring in the local media, and also on this blog.
I’m told Benny Falk is a bit of a lad in his own right, but also significant is his association with convicted fraudster and international con man, Klaus Garde Nielsen.
Though according to Linkedin Klaus is a property consultant.
In the decade from 2003, when he was almost certainly banned from being a company director in Denmark, and while claiming to be resident in England, Nielsen launched 50 companies. (CompanyCheck puts the figure at 79.)
Because they were all of the ‘mayfly’ genus Companies House can tell us very little about them.
The connection between Nielsen and Benny Falk is established through Falk’s wife, Saichon Saraphon, who also provides the Thailand connection.
Not only did she take over one of Nielsen’s companies, but Benny had his own ‘mayfly’ companies that shared addresses with Nielsen’s in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, and Braintree in Essex.
I lacked both the time and the inclination to go through all of the 50 (or 79) companies registered to Klaus Garde Nielsen in the UK, but one that caught my eye was Profui Ltd. Because the original company address was 3 Cambrian Terrace in Garndolbenmaen . . . about 10 miles from Plas Glynllifon!
This may have been the address of the company treasurer, Geoffrey Michael Pugh.
Or maybe not.
Naturally, I got to wondering about Geoffrey Michael Pugh, and so I went to the Companies House website, where I found that he had been secretary to dozens of companies.
What these companies had in common was that the directors were all Scandinavian; mainly Danish, but sometimes we find a Swede or a Norwegian. Also, that they were either ‘mayflies’, often returning a loss, and invariably filing as dormant companies.
But a few have lasted the course. One being Rasmussens Boligudlejning Ltd. ‘Boligudlejning’ translates as ‘house rental’. Presumably this company operates in Denmark – so why is it registered in the UK and using as its address a terraced house, and a social housing property, in a village in Eryri?
Before the eponymous Poul Erik Rasmussen took over and changed the name this company was known as Dansk Shelf Services No. 8 Ltd. And the original director was Jesper Lund Hansen.
We find Hansen also engulfed in a swarm of ‘mayfly’ companies, some registered with a Danish address, others in Gwynedd, at Garndolbenmaen, and also in Cricieth.
One that stands out is Biszy Ltd, which ran from November 30, 2006 until July 6, 2021. Despite lasting almost 15 years it only ever filed as a dormant company. Why keep a company alive for so long if it’s – apparently – doing nothing?
I began to wonder if we’re dealing here with some Scandinavian tax avoidance scheme. Perhaps if you register a company in the UK you pay less tax. But then I dismissed the idea because, and as I’ve said, most of the companies of which Pugh was secretary lasted for a very short time.
Something else working against the tax avoidance theory was that a few of the directors I found were Danes living in France and Germany.
So what the hell is going on?
In the hope of finding out I wrote to the two addresses I found for Geoffrey Pugh on the Companies House website, in Garndolbenmaen and Cricieth. I asked him to explain his association with so many Danish and other businessmen, some of whom are criminals.
No reply has been received.
I also wrote to Grŵp Cynefin, asking why their property is involved.
I received a perfunctory acknowledgement last Thursday, promising to look into it. I have received nothing since.
All these Hansens, Jensens and Nielsens are making me quite giddy, so before I fall over and frighten the cat again, I’m going to move on.
UPDATE: Received an e-mail this afternoon from Grŵp Cynefin saying:
'I have made enquiries here and the person you refer to, Geoffrey Michael Pugh, died in 2019. The current tenant of the property has no connection with any previous tenants. I’m unavailable this afternoon but if you need anything further I can contact you tomorrow if you’d like to pass your phone number on to me.'
I’m sorry to hear he’s dead. Though I suppose this means the questions will never be answered now.
THE NEW OWNER OF PLAS GLYNLLIFON – ‘OH NO HE’S NOT!’
Now let’s return to the piece that appeared in the Daily Post in June. It tells us that the new owner of Plas Glynllifon is David Savage of Dragon Investments Ltd.
Well, no, he’s not the new owner.
If we look at what’s been filed for Dragon Investments we see that all the shares are owned by Property Alliance Group Ltd of Trafford Park, Manchester. This not the ‘joint venture’ suggested in his report by Owen Hughes.
Running Property Alliance Group is someone we’ve met before in the form of David Russell. He was ‘introduced’ to me in a bizarre and anonymous letter I received in June 2020. Read all about it in Weep for Wales 18.
Companies House tells us that Savage’s name was used for a few other companies started in the early part of last year.
Ledwyche, Polvellan and Dumbleton are all names I recognise from the Paul and Rowena Williams portfolio. While Caernarfon Properties Ltd owns another fallen outpost of the Williams’ empire, the Seiont Manor Hotel, in Llanrug.
UPDATE: Dumbleton Properties Ltd is also the owner of Fronolau, near Dolgellau, the other Williams’ Gwynedd property. The 5-bed house next to the former restaurant – renamed ‘Mountainview – can be rented for £3,000 a week in August. There are also plans for the restaurant.
All the shares for these four companies are held by Dragon Investments, which means, indirectly, David Russell. And all four have taken out loans with Together Commercial Finance, which took such a hit with Paul and Rowena Williams.
I wonder if the Seiont Manor staff ever got paid?
So, the picture for Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor is that they are now owned by David Russell of Manchester, apparently operating through his proxy, David Paul Savage.
And why be surprised? For if we go back to the County Court judgement handed down in Caernarfon in May 14 last year we see David Russell mentioned.
Making it clear that he’d been involved for some time.
WHAT GOES AROUND . . .
Weep for Wales started off with a couple of scammers upsetting people in Powys and landing in Gwynedd.
They were succeeded at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor by Disley, Cunliffe and their associates; with their continental property deals, and the companies claiming links to the Middle East, and the Far East.
This eventually connected with some shady Danes – this despite the gang being such devoted Brexiteers! (Scroll down to the section Myles Cunliffe et al.)
And through those and other Danes we end up in Cambrian Terrace, Garndolbenmaen.
The curtain rises on the next act and it looks promising, for already we have been misled as to who actually owns Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor.
So take your seats, ladies and gentlemen.
Wales is up Shit Creek.
On the one hand, we have Unionist politicians supporting anything that strengthens England’s hold over us; be that holiday homes, economic exploitation or outright colonisation.
On the other hand, we have the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay that is entirely different . . . but, er, supports exactly the same things, and then puts body into their meat-free cawl with pressing concerns such as women with penises.
What does this have to do with what you’ve been reading about?
What I’ve been writing about, in this piece and so many others, could only happen in a dysfunctional country where a Vichy political class has divorced itself entirely from the material concerns and necessities of the people they claim to serve.
A country in which con men are welcomed as ‘investors’ by politicians who are nothing but floaters in the lavatory bowl of Welsh politics. A country ‘served’ by a media so supine and useless that these bastards – crooks and politicians! – get a free ride.
A country groaning under the burden of a Corruption Bay elite that doesn’t care what happens to us and our communities – just as long as they can continue enjoying their pointless, parasitical existence.
A pox on them all! Every last one of them; the useless, lying bastards.
♦ end ♦