Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The case of Betpilot, Bank to the Future and shares or no shares. When is a lie the truth?

On the Bank to the Future website, like most ECF sites, they have a list of completed pitches. This 'success' list helps show the general public that this site is active and worth taking a look at. It really does the business.

Sometime ago we copied this list off BTTF. On it, it had a company called Red Leader Ltd who were raising money for their new gadget Betpilot. The
company was incorporated in February 2013 and shortly afterwards launched its pitch on BTTF to raise £150,000 for 30%.

The 'Pitch Funded' listing for Betpilot (Red Leader Ltd) states that it successfully raised 29% of its target or £43,500.

Looking at the company now, this is hard to believe. There is only one shareholder and no new shares have ever been issued. The company has never filed any accounts and is now in the process of being struck off. As far as we can see it never traded.

This pitch was, according to the BTTF platform, eligible for SEIS - ie 50% of that money could be claimed back by investors on their annual tax return. We know from carrying out this procedure that HMRC do not bother to check or ask for any documents to verify the investment - you just tick a box and deduct the money from your total tax bill. 

So where did the money go, did it ever exist, is the BTTF site making false claims? What if anything was claimed back via SEIS tax relief? The only return by the company confirms only one shareholder.

This would appear to be the very tip of the iceberg.

What is almost amusing is that Simon Dixon, who is in sole charge of running BTTF, appeared a few days ago in the FT building at the behest of the FT, to deliver a talk on the future of Banking. God help us.

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