Shetland Space Centre: Former Labour & Lib Dem Politicians, an Alleged Fraudster and a US Arms Supplier16th Apr 2020
Questions are being asked about the Shetland Space Centre & politicians are silent
Earlier we reported that the Shetland Space Centre had received a significant boost in its bid to build a launchpad for rockets after a private equity firm run by Michael Haston injected £2 million into the project. Haston also boasts of selling a Cayman-based fund for about £500 million.
There have, however, been some significant developments since then, as the Sunday Mail continued with its investigation and unearthed further details of the LeonReed Ltd. Sole Director’s past and also that there is an ongoing investigation by police.
According to the Sunday Mail & Daily Record recently, an investigation has, however, discovered several disturbing revelations about Haston and his business, Leonreed Ltd.
According to the report, eight different firms that have been claimed to be ‘acquired’ by Leonreed Ltd; the companies have never heard about Michael Haston or his company.
Additionally, there were also other reports – for instance, a particular businessman has been listed as a non-executive director; further checking confirmed that he does not hold any such role. Also, Haston is the one and only director of the ‘leading multi-national company’ which has so far not filed accounts with Companies House.
In light of these revelations, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has explicitly warned investors that the company is not regulated and warned people to protect themselves from potential scams.
Additionally, an MSP has initiated an investigation by the Scottish Government into the Shetland Space Centre that has received another £15,000 of public funds. Also, two former politicians have also joined the Shetland Space Centre funding – former Labour Minister Brian Wilson and former Lib Dem MSP, Tavish Scott.
There may also be questions asked as to whether Mr. Wilson and Mr. Scott were privy to any due diligence performed on either Leonreed Ltd. or Mr. Haston prior to entering into an arrangement. Given that there appears to have been an issue of shares to Leonreed Ltd. then all Directors would naturally be informed, so therefore aware of the entire situation.
There has also been complete silence from Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest suppliers of military equipment, who were also linked to the launch site as well as the proposed site at Sutherland for which they have received funds directly from the UK Space Agency.
What Is The Story Behind The Funding Of The Shetland Space Centre?
According to BBC, Frank Strang, the Chief Executive of the Shetland Space Centre, wants to build a vertical launchpad facility. Leonne International, a London-based investor, headed by Michael Haston, made a ‘financial injection’ of £2 million, which gave the space centre a 20% stake in the business. Companies House, however, states that this was a non-cash transaction and was in fact an exchange of shares.
However, when Strang was contacted for further comment by the Sunday Mail, he refused to mention the exact amount of money handed over.
With this, the FCA then issued a warning about Michael Haston and Leonreed Ltd, stating that it might be a scam.
Frank Strang had previously come into the spotlight when a £600,000 loan made to one of his companies by Highlands and Islands Enterprise was transferred into another company he was a director of before then liquidating the company that was the original recipient of the loan.
Hopefully this can all blow over and the Shetland Space Centre will not be brought to a halt, but this is not the only financial issue that has arisen and it may not be the last.