Shetland Space Centre financial backers brought to question

9th Apr 2020
Shetland Space Centre

Recently, Shetland Space Centre found itself the focus of yet another controversy as the company behind their £2m “investment” have come under the scrutiny of the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

There were also suggestions that the “investment” wasn’t a cash arrangement but actually an exchange of shares between the investment company and Shetland Space Centre Ltd.

On 19th February, BBC Scotland ran with a news story claiming that the Shetland Space Centre had raised £2m in investment from a company called Leonne International. The article did suggest that the investor would receive a 20% stake in SSC in exchange for the £2m.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-51548575

The BBC weren’t alone in running this story unchecked. It was also run by STV (and presumably broadcast on both TV channels, although we can’t confirm that for definite.

Just over a month later things started to unravel as a very different picture started to reveal itself.

Twitter user Mark Taber asked BBC Scotland about the source of this news story as Companies House and the Financial Conduct Authority were revealing some very suggesting otherwise and their information revealed some very questionable facts that put the whole story into doubt and also the legitimacy of the financial arrangement.

BBC Scotland didn’t answer the question, so it remains unknown whether they published it blindly without checking the facts and as such it is mostly likely the information came from a press release sent by SSC to BBC.

What Mark Taber had revealed was that the so called investment appeared simply to be an exchange of shares, where some shares in Leonne International (or a newly created entity owned by them) were exchanged with some shares in Shetland Space Centre Ltd.

But the other issue that Mark revealed brought the entire arrangement into question. LeonReed Limited (the new entity created by Leonne International) were the subjects of a warning message alongside the parent company on the Financial Conduct Authority website, citing that the companies did not have authorisation to operate in UK and warning people to be wary of dealing with the company.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/leonreed-limited-leonne-international

With the SSC Director, Frank Strang previously coming to the public’s attention after some of the business dealings were brought into question, this is the last thing the Shetland Space Centre need.

Back at the tail end of 2019, Frank Strang had been the subject of a Daily Record article in which the removal of £610,000 from a business that was going into liquidation was then transferred into another company he was a Director of.

He did suggest he would be paying the amount back to HIE (the original lenders).

What does this mean for the Shetland Space Centre going forward? Is its future at risk?

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