Whatever Happened to Bacolet Bay Private Residence Club?

Long-suffering Bacolet Bay investors may remember receiving a letter from Kash Lais on 20 December 2013 (you can read it online here) in which he announced the launch of Bacolet Bay Private Residence Club. Lais wrote:

Our product offering in the fractional sector has historically been promoted most widely to the Self Invested Pension sector (see footnote). As a result of changes to the regulatory regime that avenue for achieving sales has been significantly narrowed. We have restructured the fractional product offering to focus upon a lifestyle orientated market and have recently established a Private Residence Club structure to that end.

Of course, with BDF there’s never any good news without some bad news to go along with it, and the letter goes on to state that, due to reduced revenue streams, they would be suspending quarterly interest payments for the first – but not the last – time. We all know that particular story.

But whatever happened to the Bacolet Bay Private Residence Club? Did it ever exist? It turns out that for a while, yes it did. There’s a Twitter account which was active for three months, sharing little of interest other than promoting some of the USPs of the Bacolet Bay PRC – luxury car, chauffeur, exclusive motor yacht and private butler amongst them. All as fictitious as the villas themselves.

But more interestingly, Bacolet Bay PRC is listed at Companies House, meaning it was set up as a UK entity. The record shows that, as announced by Lais, it was incorporated in December 2013, and you can see the original application here – delivered by an agent, a certain Michael Gunn. What Lais never informed us was that it was dissolved in October 2015. The company never filed any accounts and the director – and we’ll come to him later – applied to have it struck off in June 2015, with the company being dissolved on 20 October of the same year.

The only director listed is one David Terry Cox, who is quite an interesting and relevant character in this story. As well as the Bacolet Bay PRC, he worked with Gunn & Lais on several other projects. All three were on the board of a mysterious company called Aupoint Capital, which existed for a mere 19 months before being dissolved in September 2015 without ever filing any accounts; all three were also founding directors of Global Citizen Realty, with Cox’s directorship being terminated in June 2015; and most importantly, Cox was also one of the original directors of the Bacolet Bay Resort project. In fact, in this article he’s listed as Project Developer.

Cox also pops up as a director at Oxford-based property investment firm Property Frontiers, run by Ray Withers, from whom many investors bought their Bacolet Bay units and whose website is still selling property there despite the project having long since stalled. According to Companies House, Cox co-founded the company in April 2004, and was terminated as a director in September 2015. The company entered a voluntary insolvency arrangement in May 2013 and successfully came out of this in July 2014.

During this time, Cox and Withers were also involved in Ecoplanet Bamboo, an investment scheme involving bamboo plantations. Withers talked up the scheme with some big numbers, but the scheme failed leaving numerous investors out of pocket. Cox was a director of Ecoplanet from July 2011 to October 2013, and interestingly the company is still listed as Active and shares an address with Property Frontiers.

There’s also another connection between Gunn & Lais and Property Frontiers. Gunn & Lais founded several companies containing the term ‘Camprop’ (Cambridge Property), one of which is called PF Camprop Ltd. Also on the board of PF Camprop is a William Tindall, who has been on the board of Frontiers Capital since January 2017, and was also sole director of Property Frontiers Ventures from January 2017 until its dissolution in April of this year.

A tangled web as per usual, but the big questions are:

  • Why was Bacolet Bay PRC dissolved without informing investors in the resort project?
  • How much money had been raised by that point?
  • What happened between Cox and Gunn/Lais in the summer/autumn of 2015, when Cox resigned or was terminated as director from Aupoint, GCR, Bacolet Bay PRC and Property Frontiers in the space of a couple of months?

I’ve been in touch with David Cox to see if he’s willing to discuss this, and will let you know if/when he responds.


Footnote: on the subject of SIPP investments in overseas resort projects, read the story of Harlequin Property and how they took 400m euros from SIPPs to build resorts in the Caribbean, only a tiny fraction of which were ever actually completed. They are not related to Bacolet Bay, but their product offering looks familiar:

  • Own a share in a luxurious 5-star property
  • Receive an annual rental income or at least 10% or more
  • The property development would result in 90% occupancy

Harlequin’s director David Ames faces trial in January 2019.

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