Sunday Times rich list, multi-millionaire, Colin Hill has, according to documents published on the Companies House website today, funded Cardy Ramsgate’s, purchase of the troubled Ramsgate Pleasurama development site via a loan, thought to be approximately £3million. The loan, singed off by Colin Hill and his son Robbie, comes from an offshore Panamanian registered company, Mintal Group Inc, of Avenida Samuel Lewis, Panama City.
Hill has close links with the former failed Pleasurama site developers, SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd. He is married to the daughter of former SFP boss, Shaun Keegan’s. In 2009 he advised Thanet Council that a Swiss bank in which he had a significant interest, SFP Banque of Geneva, would be funding some of the Pleasurama development work. This never happened.
In 2009 Hill was reported, by the Sunday Times, to be worth £200 million. Some people believe this to be a gross underestimate as much of his wealth is offshore and therefore hard to estimate. The Times said that he had made his fortune through time share sales in Portugal and Spain and aircraft salvage. He is reputed to own one of most valuable homes in the Algarve, and also owns a large mansion house in Stutton Suffolk said to be worth £15 million.
In 2009 a district judge accused Hill of committing a “fraud in equity” by trying to unlawfully secure ownership of a 95 year old widow’s home (see http://www.bindmans.com/news-and-events/news-article/sunday-times-rich-list-millionaire-criticised-for-fraud-on-95-year-old-pensioner ).
Hill has also be criticised for his role in taking control of land previously owned by Peterborough United Football Club, which he was supposed to be rescuing from financial troubles, and selling it to Peterborough Council for a large profit.
Former Thanet Councillor and longstanding campaigner to bring the Pleasurama site back under council control and ownership, Ian Driver, said “I am very worried about these developments. I call on the Director of Cardy Ramsgate, Mike Stannard, to explain why, when other Cardy companies of which he is also a director, are reported to be facing serious financial difficulties, he was prepared to do a deal with an offshore Panamanian registered company with links to
the previous developer. This site has blighted Ramsgate seafront for over 20 years and people have right to know what’s going on. Personally, I’m fearful that ownership of a large chunk of Ramsgate’s seafront will ultimately end up in the hands of Panamanian company with no local accountability. I’m also very worried about the actions of the Council. My understanding is that the then Labour leadership of the Council who initiated the deal with Cardy in 2014/15 insisted on a clean break with failed developer SFP Ventures, but here we have a situation whereby Colin Hill who had extremely close with SFP appears to now have a controlling interest in Pleausurama and is likely to be calling the shots. Something just doesn’t smell right here”