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Uncovered: the 200m theme park, the businessman and the missing millions


A Guardian/ITV News undercover examination raises issues about Gavin Woodhouse, who lags job backed by Bear Grylls

A brand-new 200m outside experience park, which is being introduced with the assistance of the celeb traveler Bear Grylls , is being fronted by an investor who has actually raised countless pounds from personal financiers and whose companies have a multimillion-pound “great void”.

The Afan Valley Adventure Resort in south Wales was approved overview preparation consent by Neath Port Talbot council in March and has actually registered the previous SAS soldier and tv speaker to base his trainer academy at the website. The job is attempting to raise as much as 40m from little personal financiers.

However, the plan’s designer, Northern Powerhouse Developments (NPD), is owned and run by Gavin Woodhouse , a business owner who formerly brought in 10s of countless pounds from little personal financiers in order to construct care houses and obtain a hotel portfolio. In spite of raising about 16m 5 years ago to develop 4 brand-new care houses, none are functional and 3 have actually not been developed, an undercover examination by the Guardian and ITV News has actually developed.

Woodhouse is now having a hard time to pay scheduled dividends and some financiers, who were anticipating overall financial investment revenues of 125%, have actually grumbled that he has actually consistently stopped working to offer evidence that their funds have actually been protected. A retired NHS cosmetic surgeon, Vijay Devadoss, who put 450,000 into among the care house plans in 2015, informed the Guardian and ITV News that he is yet to get a payment from Woodhouse and is “ravaged” to have actually made the financial investment.

Northern Powerhouse Developments graphic

The Guardian and ITV News examination, that included an undercover reporter impersonating a prospective Afan Valley financier, plus interviews with lots of business experts and financiers, even more reveals:

Millions of pounds of care house financiers’ loan, that need to have been ringfenced, was moved to a seeking advice from business 60% owned by Woodhouse and now appears to have actually vanished.

The exact same seeking advice from business collapsed into administration in 2015. The administrator’s report states business’s present directors blamed the collapse on a 1.2 m loan made to a previous director. Woodhouse is the business’s only previous director.

Care house financiers have actually been constantly misleaded about the development of the care house jobs.

Meanwhile, on Afan Valley, where the collaboration with Grylls is being utilized to offer financial investments in Woodhouse’s most current job:

There is confusion about the status of the resort’s revealed collaborations with the carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, innovation group YouTube and the outside professional Go Ape, being promoted as providing future tourist attractions on the website. All 3 business state they have no handle Afan Valley.

Woodhouse stated he has actually not misinformed preparation authorities or Afan Valley financiers about his company record and included that he has “documentary proof (consisting of signed heads of terms) for the Afan Valley job which plainly reveal that it would be incorrect to declare that [he] was declaring that the Afan Valley job had partners when it did not”. Financial investment returns are not yet due to Afan Valley financiers and there is no tip that any of them have actually not been paid.

He included that his backers on the care house tasks had actually gotten incorrect info on the status of the unbuilt centers since he himself had actually been deceived which he still prepared to develop the houses.

He contests the administrator’s report, which recommends that he owes 1.2 m to his insolvent consulting business.

When fulfilling the undercover press reporter, Woodhouse stated he had actually raised 46m from people throughout 2017 and 2018, which he is presently trying to draw in as much as 40m from the exact same group to begin deal with the 200m Afan Valley job.

The fundraising efforts are backed by slick marketing discussions consisting of a brief video including Grylls , who got an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.

In the movie the tv star states: “Check out our newest Bear Grylls survival academy and our centre of quality at the Afan Valley experience resort … We’ve got our trainer academy based there and the entire location is tailored for enjoyable, for experience and finding out brand-new abilities.”

Meanwhile Peter Moore, who assisted launch Center Parcs in the UK and is working for Woodhouse , has actually explained the experience park prepares as “awesome”, while Woodhouse represents himself as an effective investor with “an extremely reputable track record within the financial investment financing sector … [who has] assisted turn many monetary goals into truths”.

However, prospective financiers are not informed about Woodhouse’s service performance history.

Millions of pounds are owed to the care house tasks by a business called MBI Consulting (UK) Ltd, in which Woodhouse owns 60% of the shares and which dropped into administration in 2015, according to openly readily available insolvency files. The business collapsed with just 988 in the bank and it is unclear where the care house funds it owes are now.

Having evaluated the details in the MBI Consulting (UK) administrators’ report, Richard Kleiner, handling partner of City accounting company Gerald Edelman, stated: “There depend on 15m of unaccounted for funds that obviously were at some point negotiated through this business and which were not there when it entered into administration.

“There is a substantial degeneration and plainly the concern is: what occurred to that loan? Where did it go? Why is it no longer there? We are discussing approximately 15m, which is a big quantity of loan.”

A business expert, speaking on the condition of privacy, declared: “There was a substantial quantity of cash raised [by Woodhouse] No one appeared to understand where it had actually gone. There were tasks that were being offered that were moneying previous jobs. There simply seemed a great void.”

Woodhouse included that, while he was the bulk 60% investor of MBI Consulting (UK), he had no management control after resigning as a director in January 2016 which business achieved success when he stepped down from the board. He stated MBI Consulting has actually considering that been run by his partner, Robin Forster, who owned 30%.

Neither Woodhouse or Forster discussed what had actually taken place to the countless pounds lent into their business. Woodhouse included that he “has actually not been informed why particular deals were made and this matter remains in the hands of [his] lawyer”. Forster stated there is no fact in Woodhouse’s analysis of occasions, that he refutes all claims and recommendations of misdeed.

A spokesperson for the administrator, FRP, stated: “The administrators continue to work constructively with MBI’s stakeholders to protect the very best result for all lenders. This consists of prospective lawsuits versus different celebrations which, it is hoped, will cause healings for the business’s lenders. These matters are continuous and lawyers are advised to act and recommend on behalf of the administrators. Public disclosure of any particular information at this early phase might bias these actions and in turn effect on the potential customers of a healing for the advantage of the financial institutions.”

Having left care house financiers with the impression that their cash was being protected by a company of lawyers, Woodhouse now states financiers’ funds are somewhere else “in savings account, which are different and assigned to each SPV [unique task automobile].

The Bear Grylls Survival Academy, which is believed to be getting 180,000 a year from Woodhouse for its participation, decreased to discuss the relationship, as did the traveler himself. There is no idea that Grylls knew the information associating with Woodhouse’s services.

Jaguar Land Rover, YouTube and Go Ape, which have actually all been pointed out as Afan Valley job partners in preparing submissions made by NPD, stated they had actually not signed offers. A spokesperson for JLR stated talks had actually happened however included: “Land Rover gets lots of techniques of this nature from interested 3rd parties– NPD/ [Afan Valley] are not Land Rover Experience franchise partners.

Go Ape has stated it has an interest in the Afan job however has actually not concurred terms and “absolutely nothing has actually been signed”.

Northern Powerhouse Developments rejects any misdeed. Here is its total action .

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/26/uncovered-the-200m-theme-park-the-businessman-and-the-missing-millions

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