The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating claims of suspected fraud and money laundering by Gavin Woodhouse, the businessman who previously owned a string of hotels in the north.
The SFO is looking into the conduct of business by Woodhouse and individuals and companies associated with him, relating to investments offered in hotels and care homes for a six-year period between 2013 and 2019.
Woodhouse’s company Northern Powerhouse Developments (NPD) bought Caer Rhun hotel in the Conwy Valley and Belmont, Llandudno Bay and Queens Hotels in Llandudno, among others, between 2014 and 2016.
The group ran an investment scheme which is thought to have seen around one thousand people invest about £80m to buy rooms in hotel schemes in advance, with the money then used to acquire and develop the properties.
However, NPD’s 10 hotels went into administration in 2019 and many still remain shut, despite being up for sale.
The SFO confirmed it was now asking UK-based investors into the ‘suspected fraudulent schemes’ to complete a questionnaire by September 30.
The information provided will help to ‘establish circumstances of the investments offered, to identify and pursue new information, and to progress the investigation as quickly as possible’.
An SFO spokesman said: “The SFO is committed to supporting victims and invites those who believe they have been a victim in connection with this investigation to check this page for updates and information on support services.”
As this is a live investigation, the SFO can provide no further comment at this time.
Gavin Woodhouse has previously denied any wrongdoing.