It’s a no news day on this website so I can report that Mark Hallett, a Briton wanted on fraud charges totalling nearly $4million by the Avon and Somerset Police is still at liberty and by all reports has hopped it to the neighbouring countries of Laos and Vietnam.
But wait out…this tale of expats does get a little bit more interesting.
Mark Hallett, a former scrap dealer from North Perrot, Somerset, readers may recall, had a few scams going in Bangkok with ‘Lord’ Geoffrey Bond, such as bars called Wolfs and Spanks and a ‘high class escort agency (see here).
He also helped the late boiler room king Glendon Bullard with some of his investments in the ‘Game’ pub in Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok.
Alas Somerset and Avon Police’s attempts to bring Hallett to justice have failed and its now been ten years.
They were optimistic last year when Hallett was picked up in Bangkok on immigration charges when police did in fact discover that the former scrap dealer was wanted in the UK for a semi-precious metals Ponzi. But he was released short afterwards.
I trust this had nothing to do with the vast sums he had transferred from the UK to Thailand through banks, and presumably much more in suitcases.
But I fear I may be wrong on this.
However, since then, Thai police have been contacting me direct to tell me that if British police want Hallett arrested they need to provide the paperwork. This is a bit odd as Thai police are blocking this site.
The officer, who, initially at least, knew where Hallett was, said he had asked the National Crime Agency, whose job it is to do this, many times, but it had not happened.
To emphasise the point the senior Thai police officer in ‘Transnational Crime’ even got a friend on U.S. Law Enforcement to ring up and tell me. ‘You Brits ought to get your act together. Just get Interpol to issue a Red Notice. That will do the trick. That is all the Thais need.’
This of course was clearly not my job. But I duly contacted the NCA and told them what had been told me. ‘Is this for a story?’ the man in the media office asked. ‘No,’ I said. ‘At this stage, I am just helping you with your enquiries’.
I checked a few months later. The NCA were back at their officious best. ‘We do not discuss individual cases. You need to contact Avon and Somerset’.
I did not want to discuss the case. I know what the case is. I just wanted to know what the NCA were doing about having Hallet arrested.
I went back to Avon and Somerset Police who naturally replied: ‘You need to speak to the NCA they the people responsible for Hallett now he is abroad’ and so it went on.
The last missive yesterday was from Avon and Somerset Police who merely reported: ‘No change’.
Anyway, there was direct dialogue between Avon and Somerset and the Thai police direct (see picture below) and despite the Force’s public announcement that they intended to get their man there appeared to confirmation therein that no international arrest warrant had ever been issued – although there is one valid in the U.K.
Of course, the investigation of fraud is not a forte of the British police, as newspapers readers in Britain will know.
Sometimes it can be complex. Victims never get their cash back – so there are no police hero-grams. There are not enough officers capable of unravelling the frauds and the big banks, through which most of the fraud cash flows, are pretty much untouchable – and in any case big banks recruit from British police fraud squads giving ex-officers high profile security roles.
Hence ironically, police once hired to investigate fraud, start protecting the assets of fraudsters.
Here’s a link to a Daily Telegraph journalist’s take on fraud. If you report a fraud to ‘Action Fraud’ which is about the only place you can do it in the U.K., expect a minimum six weeks to see if a decision has been made to act on it. Anything under £1million – it seems not very likely.
Mark Hallett’s former business partner in Bangkok, Lord Geoffrey Bond, (he’s a lord of the manor – one of these paid for titles not an aristocrat) is now in Vietnam. He’s moved on from such projects as such as a high class escort service in Bangkok and Pleasure Worldwide.
Readers may recall that ‘Lord Bond’ boasted in Bangkok that he was the Honorary Consul for Montenegro. Now he is boasting that he is the Honorary Consul to Vanuatu in Vietnam. Geoffrey says he has now also taken up Vanuatu citizenship.
As such he says he has authority to sell citizenship to Vanuatu to all comers, well, people who have too much money I guess, but providing they do not have a bad record, whatever that entails.
The price according to his website, which seems to have been created in May, is US$350,000.
A Vanuatu passport enables the holder to avoid paying tax, and non-visa entry to a wide range of countries including the UK and all Schengen countries.
All you have to do is have lots of cash in the bank and sign allegiance to Vanuatu in your application for a passport and then tax dodge to your hearts’ content under the Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program (VERP).
You do not even have to set foot on Vanuatu soil. Just trolley off to Lord Geoffrey’s offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, and, but he may not be there, Sukhumvit 22, Bangkok.
This from Wikipedia.
‘In late 2009, a scandal arose over the issuance of a Vanuatu passport to Amarendra Nath Ghosh. Ghosh was Vanuatu’s erstwhile honorary consul in Thailand. In addition to the diplomatic passport to which his position entitled him, Ghosh had also managed to obtain an ordinary Vanuatu passport, a privilege legally restricted to Vanuatu citizens. Ghosh had never applied for naturalisation as a Vanuatu citizen, but had honorary citizenship in connection with his position.’
The VERP scheme finished in January and while Geoffrey is still advertising it, it has now been replaced by the DSP (Development Support Program) passport, which you can get direct from the government for US$130,000.
So, ignoring Lord Bond’s advice will save you a pretty penny.
According to the Vanuatu Digest:
“This will avoid the sort of situation we have seen where persons of unsuitable character and professional quality continue to hold important positions.”
If you do not have a Vanuatu passport and still want to hide your money and spend it freely all over the world without any questions Lord Geoff has come up with the Nummus card.
I have just received his prospectus for the launch Bond’s Nummus crypto cash offering.
This is a follow on to Bit Coin. A ‘selected few’ could join this scheme by depositing 250,000 Swiss francs. For that they get 2500 Series A shares @ 100 Swiss francs per share.
‘The 21st century has failed our society. Retail banks now act for Governments in auditing and controlling movements of value (I think he means money laundering) The banking system has failed the people, it’s clients, and is bringing commerce and trade for SME businesses to a grinding halt…. Crypto provides an alternative.
I’m torn here. Do I go for the Nummus offering so I can claim I’ve got a 250,000 Swiss franc investment in ‘crypto cash’, or shall I sell my soul to Vanuatu?