June 26, 2017

OFT’s price-fixing investigation into Peverel costs £458,000

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A breakdown of costs of the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) investigation into the Peverel / Cirrus price-fixing scandal has been handed to Sir Peter Bottomley.

It shows the cost of the investigation is £458,000, accounting for 10,660 hours of work.

The costs were outlined after a meeting with the OFT on August 22 chaired by Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary and MP for Kingston and Surbiton, with Sir Peter Bottomley and a representative from the SFO. The meeting was held at the instigation of Carlex.

The letter below is from OFT official Cavendish Elithorn:

In response to your e-mail below, I can provide the following information:

Costs and hours

I set out the estimated costs for each of the financial years 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 to the estimated decision date. These numbers are based on staff allocation against the project since it was formally launched in April 2011. We do not record hours spent, so we have used standard assumptions to estimate approximate hours spent on the project.  We have not included estimates of time spent over contracted hours.

OFT investigation costs

Period
Estimated costs
Estimated hours
04/11 to 03/12
£173,000
3,960

04/12 to 03/13
£172,000
4,245

Forecast 04/13 to decision
£113,000
2,455

Total
£458,000
10,660 hours

Internal transition between Groups

The investigation was formally opened in the Goods and Consumer Group in April 2011 and it was the Goods and Consumer Group that took the investigation through the OFT’s governance structure prior to this to get it approved for launch.  There is not a formal transition point between the Goods and Consumer Group or the Cartels Group of this as a potential investigation as leniency applications can be considered in any Group that does competition enforcement – depending on resources available – we work with flexible group boundaries to maximise efficiency.

Responsible Staff

The supervisory team structure at OFT is Team Leader, Project Director and Senior Responsible Officer (SRO).  These roles formally commence at the point of the investigation opening although some of these staff are usually involved in advance in preparing for the decision to launch the investigation.  I have been the SRO since the formal launch, although it was my predecessor in the role (Heather Clayton) who took the project through the OFT’s governance structure.

There have been three project directors.  Robert McDougall from launch until December 2011.  Then it was Aileen Armstrong until July 2012 and it has been Andrew Groves since then.  The Team Leader position was filled in May 2013 by Yael Shine who has been team leader since then.

Mr Boyd’s [Carlex] information Request

Finally on your last point, Mr Boyd’s request is in excess of the FoIA cost limit, but I have written to him explaining what information we can potentially provide and what we cannot were he to refine the request to bring it within the cost limit.  I also made some suggestions as to how it might be brought within the cost limit but it appears from his most recent correspondence that he doesn’t wish to take us up on that offer.

I hope the above provides answers to your questions, if not, I would be happy to elaborate.  Please could you also let me know if you would like to receive a formal response to your e-mail under the Freedom of Information Act as well.

Kind regards,
Cav Elithorn

Comments

  1. This farce has been on going since Peverel Group Ltd allegedly owned up to Tender/Price Fixing with four smaller companies.
    Was it the Peverel Group known as Consensus Business Group that handed themselves in to the OFT?
    The cost of the investigation £458,000, works out at almost £43.00 per hour.

    1. Who will pick up this bill?
    2. Will any existing Peverel Companies be paying for the costs of the investigation?
    3. Why has it taken nearly four years to reach this stage, and why was the investigation not started earlier?
    4. Who was in charge during 2005 to 2009 when the Price Fixing was carried out?
    5. Will any Peverel Company be charged with the Price Fixing?
    6. Who precisely was the person who handed themselves in?
    7. The legislation states the person can be not charged, I have seen nothing regarding companies?

    I hope Sir Peter Bottomley continues to challenge the OFT and why was the SFO NOT INVOLVED?

    • The OFT states “we do not record hours spent” how do tax payers feel that these comments which are unaccountable and unacceptable from a Government Department?

  2. Peverel Group Ltd was a company group takenover by “Consensus Business Group” which is controlled by the Tchenguiz Family Trust , based in the British Virgin Islands. You can see the complex structure of the Consensus Business Group comprising up to 400 companies at the Charter Quay website. Please see http://www.cqra.org . Within this complex group include many former block management companies , ground rent investment companies , insurance broking companies etc.and many freeholds were acquired without offer of Right of First Refusal.

    The problems which leaseholders face today is due to no-one in Government understands the leasehold system and how companies can gain easy entry to become Masters of the Universe in leasehold abuse.
    The rot may have started when the New Labour Government decided to separate the Housing Department from the DETR ( Department of Environment , Transport and Regions ) and left Housing Department with no powers to investigate companies.( as explained by Keith Hill , Housing Minister replying to Barry Sheerman MP’s request for investigation into Consensus Business Group in late 2004.

    • ollie
      Can you expand on the reply to Barry Sherman request for investigation into Consensus Business Group in 2004, were they the same four companies i.e. two Peverel companies and two Azco companies?

    • Admin
      September 28, 2013 at 12:36 am was from Chas?
      I have checked and the four companies are as suspected, except they were two Aztec companies not two Azco companies.

    • ollie
      Where can we find the Keith Hill Housing Manager reply to Barry Sherman MP?
      I have a supporter who wants contact with you?
      My mobile is 07936446422

      I have provided my mobile as we as commenters, need to be accessible?

  3. Chas : ref your questions

    I believe that Peverel’s price fixing case was reported in the Times newspaper in late 2009 and this forced Peverel’s hand to confess to OFT. The gravity of being found out engaged in price fixing is possibility of being charge for committing an offence under the Fraud Act 2006

    The Peverel Group Ltd Co.# 03073418 ( renamed PGL Realisations 2012 Ltd under Zolfo Cooper Administration ) was the controlling company of other Peverel member companies and the Directors of the company ( at Nov 2009) are accountable for the price fixing case :
    :
    William Procter ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
    Michael Gaston ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
    Nigel Bannister ( terminated on 31 Mar 2011 )
    David Edwards ( terminated on 11 July 2011 )

    Peverel Group Ltd + 3 other member companies were placed in Administration under Zolfo Cooper for being unable to meet their bank loan interest payments. This was a strange situation because there was an interest free £540 Mil loan granted to Proxima GR Properties ( Both companies are members of the Consensus Business Group ). The 2011 Accounts for Proxima GR showed benefit of gaining the
    £540 mil Loan waiver whilst Peverel Group Ltd was placed into liquidation.

    So its very difficult for OFT to prosecute the Peverel Controlling Company at 2009 if the Company has been liquidated and stripped of its asset s before being buried in the records of Companies House.( and creditor banks have lost £££ Mil.

    The OFT should NOT be offering blanket waivers on prosecution on companies which confess to wrong doing.

    It should take out the Directors by imposing a 20 year ban on being a director of any UK company.

    The answer to your questions :

    Q1. Its obvious the Taxpayers will pay the cost of OFT investigation.

    Q2. Unlikely. – But it can order Peverel Companies to withdraw from management of service charge accounts for all apartment blocks etc.

    Q3. – Q7 Answer later.

    • ollie
      Well done mate, excellent start, surely we as tax payers do not have to put up with paying £458,000.
      I have in one comment mention £485,000, this was incorrect, and I apologise for the error.

      Your use of the word Liquidation, do you not mean Administration or are they similar?

      I do not remember seeing Proxima GR Properties mentioned in the Consensus Business Group which was also known as the Peverel Group, which had 4 holding companies two with Peverel names and two with I believe were Azco names, is this correct or not correct?

      PGL Realisations 2012, I believe is no longer trading?

      I take your point regarding Directors, so who was the Peverel Controlling Company in 2009?

      The thought that it can strip Peverel of its Management Status is appealing!!!!!

      Sebastian will give you my email address, if I haven’t sent him too many emails.

    • ollie
      The date in late 2009 of the report to The Times, can we be more certain of the date as we have now uncovered a potential different date and a potential cover up.
      We are aware that some deal has been done with Peverel and the OFT where the OFT has decided that it is not in the Public Interest for Peverel Services Ltd to be pursued for Cartel Type Activities.

      We know that debts of Billions of Pounds are invested with Leasehold Properties and investors are jumpy that the Government may unwittingly bring the house down by changing the Legislation regarding Leasehold? Seb Comments Please

      as the implication are Realisations Ltd come from?

      • Seb
        The website is acting strangely and it posted my comments, before I had completed my comments.
        It is also posting comments from other regulars that are not from them.
        Has the website been hacked, are we safe to continue.

        • Some of my posts flagged up ” Your comment awaiting moderation” and then never showed up .

          • Chas.

            The Times Newspaper printed a report on 4 Dec 2009 by James Charles but I don’t have any subscription account to view.

  4. (a). Wnen a company cannot meet its loan interest payments ( banking covenants ), it is regarded as insolvent and must be placed in the custody of Administrators – A firm which will usually arrange to sell off the insolvent company’s assets to raise cash and pay off the debt or if insufficient will partially pay off the debt owed to the creditors. After liquidating all assetsand paying tghe debt, the insolvent company carcass is struck off the Companies House Listing ( dissolved)..

    (b) . The CGB structure including around 400 companies can be viewed at the Charter Quay website :

    http://www.cqra.org/tchenquiz-structure/

    No. 1 is The Tchenguiz Family Trust.

    The companies placed in Administration ( 14 March 2011) include Co Nos – 4, 5, 6 & 8 :

    No. 4 Aztec Opco Development Ltd
    No.5 Aztec Acquisitions Ltd
    No. 6 Peverl Group Ltd ( renamed PGL Realisations 2012)
    No. 8 . Peverel Ltd

    Some familiar names and co nos are identified below :

    No. 30 Kingsborough Insurance Services Ltd

    No. 38 Careline UK monitoring

    No. 41 Instant Fire Protectikn Ltd

    No. 164 Estates and Management Ltd ( See 2004 EDM 408 by Barry Sheerman)

    No. 371 Peverel Properties Ltd renamed Proxima GR Properties Ltd.

    • I have missed out No. 39 Cirrus Communications Systems Ltd Co. No. 01444995 which I believe is one of the parties involved with Peverel in price fixing .

      The Directors of this company at 4 Nov 2009 are :

      William Procter ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
      Michael Gaston ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
      David Edwards ( terminated on 11 July 2011 )
      Nigel Bannister ( terminated on 31 Mar 2011 )

      Same directors as for Peverel Group Ltd ( see my comment posted on 27 Sept 2013 ).

  5. Mike Moffatt says:

    All very interesting stuff and only confirms much of what my elderly mother has passed on to regarding Peverel run/managed establishments within the UK. They have been ripping the elderly off to the tune of thousands over the years and supplying very little service in return. How organisations like Peverel have managed to get away with it leaves me and hundreds of others like me totally incredulous.

    Those in power really need to grasp the nettle in this area, as our elderly generation are not getting value for money across the board.

    Mike Moffatt
    Monmouthshire

  6. OFT investigated the exit fees applied by Fairhold Homes Ltd and declared the exit fees may be an unfair term in the leases BUT very strangely, have allowed Fairhold Homes Ltd to continue to charge the 1% fee and to charge a 80 pds fee for notice of subletting.

    See OFT report : http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2012/77-12

    Fairhold Homes Ltd Co. 02556027 was incorpororated in 1990 and the records at Companies House show the Directors in 2009 are :

    William Procter
    Christopher McGill.

  7. Buildings insurance is another example of mis-managed service charge accounts and Peverel are supposed to get quotes from 3 independent brokers. But instead Peverel allowed Kingsborough Insurance Services Ltd to place buildings insurance cover with companies willing to pay over 40% commission from the insurance premiums paid by leaseholders..

    The directors of Kingsborough Insurance Services Ltd ( No. 03479579) at Nov 2009 are:

    William Procter ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
    Michael Gaston ( terminated on 14th Jun 2010 )
    David Edwards ( terminated on 11 July 2011 )
    Nigel Bannister ( terminated on 31 Mar 2011 )

    Same directors as for Peverel Group Ltd ( see my comment posted on 27 Sept 2013 ).

  8. Another company in the Consensus Business Group is “Estates and Management Ltd” Co. 03244100.

    This company was identified By Barry Gardiner MP Brent North whilst speaking in Parliament in Feb 2002 as a “ground rent grazer” . The Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 legislation put an end to ground rent grazing activity by making it a mandatory requirement to formally demand ground rent payment. However now E&M has moved into grazing on BTL leaseholders for extortionate landlord subletting consent fees .

    The Directors of this company at Nov 2009 include :

    William Procter

    Michael Gaston

    Charles McGill ( from 4/9/2009 to 10/2/2011 )

    Vincent Tchenguiz ( frfom 24/11/2009 to 29/1/10 )

    The above information can be verified from filings records at Companies House. Hansard Records and past LVT Judgements .

  9. The supervisory team structure at OFT is Team Leader, Project Director and Senior Responsible Officer (SRO). said by Cavendish Elithorn .

    We should ask all OFT members from Team Leader , Project Director and Senior responsible Officer to be fully aware that various companies controlled by Tchenguiz Family Trust (based in the British Virgin Islands ) and led by Vincent Tchenguiz are acting in concert against the leaseholders of England & Wales .

    The companies acting in concert include

    Peverel ( Price fixing with Cirrus)
    Fairhold Homes ( exit fees )
    Kingsborough Insurance Services ( taking excessive commission ) ,
    Estates and Management Ltd ( ground rent grazing and extortionate landlord consent sublet fee )

  10. The OFT is a non-ministerial department under Ministry of Business , Innovation &Skills headed by Vince Cable, MP . Executive agencies under Vince Cable MP , Minister for BIS also include Companies House and Land Registry.

    The CEO of OFT should be reporting the problems in the leasehold retirement homes and the aggressive trading demands and unfair practices pursued by member companies controlled Tchenguiz Family Trust based in British Virgin Islands and being parties acting in concert.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations#department-for-business-innovation-skills

  11. The Serious Fraud Office is an independent government department, operating under the superintendence of the Attorney General.

    Its purpose is to protect society by investigating and, if appropriate, prosecuting those who commit serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption and pursuing them and others for the proceeds of their crime. It operates in line with its statutory purpose and policies. Its Director is David Green CB QC.

    http://www.sfo.gov.uk/

    -The SFO should team up with OFT to investigate members of the Consensus Business Group- companies acting in concert against leaseholders in Retirement Homes as demanded by Barry Sheerman MP Huddersfield back in 2004.