Custom House funds for release

Investors in Custom House Capital have received a letter from the firm’s liquidator, Howarth Bastow Charleton, informing them that the first section of client funds will be released by Sep 30.

The letter states that segregated cash and equities and money held in bank and broker accounts should be released by that date, subject to approval from the High Court regarding the payment of reconciliation fee to the liquidator.

Only a small portion of investors’ money is in the bank and broker accounts, with most of the money tied up in property investments.

The property funds are stilling being reconciled by the liquidator, who has provisionally put a date of Nov 30 for the release of funds in non-syndicated properties and segregated property-exempt unit trust funds.

Custom House Capital had been seen as a staid investment bank until Jul 2011, when High Court inspectors were appointed to the bank following reports of irregularities. The inspectors reported in Oct 2011 that €66m of clients’ money had been misappropriated.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan described the operations “a sort of Irish Ponzi scheme”, and referred the matter to the gardaí, Minister for Justice, the DPP, and the Revenue Commissioners.

It was reported that the former chief executive of Custom House Capital, Harry Cassidy, was arrested and questioned on Jul 23 before being released without charge the following morning.


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