Law firms ‘inundated with Harlequin calls’

Law firms ‘inundated with Harlequin calls’

A report on claims that law firms acting for investors are hoping to obtain a “freezing order” against the former Port Vale FC sponsors.

According to FTadvisor, law firms Kobalt Law, Carter Lemon Camerons and Regulatory Legal have been inundated with calls from investors for advice over their Harlequin holdings.

Stefano Lucatello, senior partner for London-based Kobalt Law, said: “We are hoping to get a freezing order against the business.

“We need the impetus to get an out of court settlement.”

A spokesman for Harlequin Property said: “We do not comment on ongoing litigation, nor will we speculate on unissued litigation. Harlequin has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and looks forward to concentrating on developing the business for the benefit of all its investors.”

Vale connections

Harlequin were brought to Port Vale by then Chairman Bill Bratt and were unveiled as the club’s main sponsor in 2008. In 2009, there were repeated claims by Bratt that Harlequin were poised to invest £500,000 in the club but the claims never came to fruition.

The claims were subject of much scepticism at the time prompting Bratt to complain about reports on a “fans’ website” and to claim that “via a website, the best sponsor this club has ever had is being unfairly maligned.” The proposed investment in Port Vale never materialised.

In 2010, Harlequin agreed a two-year extension to remain the club’s main sponsor.

Legal action

However, the firm’s relationship with Vale ended badly in 2012 when the Sentinel newspaper revealed that Harlequin were sueing Vale over the repayment of a £125,000 to the Valiants, which had reportedly been agreed by Bratt.

At the time, then Vale director Perry Deakin told the newspaper: “We’re in dialogue with Harlequin. I fully expect the matter to be resolved within 14 days.”

Bratt: ‘Same values’

While the firm were Vale’s main sponsors, the Harlequin website contained a glowing testimonial from Bill Bratt which read:

“I am extremely pleased that you [Harlequin] share the same values and principles and have a community ethos as we do… may I add that I think that the properties you are selling in Barbados, St Vincent and The Grenadines, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic are excellent value for money and the potential for capital growth on the properties is tremendous.”

Link: Bratt’s testimonial

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