There are new cases to report on – the Court of Appeal on suitability reviews and the PSED and the Upper Tribunal on leasehold works charges, fire resistant doors and disrepair – but those will have to wait for a couple of days. I’ve got places to be and people to sue in the meantime…
But there is always time to catch up with our favourite illegal moneylender, Dharam Prakash Gopee (sometimes Ghopee). Regular readers will recall how Mr Gopee, via s string of companies, would make loans at extortionate interest rates to, typically, low earning people desperately trying to keep their right to buy homes. Mr Gopee’s loans were secured on the properties and possession claims would follow when the borrowers, inevitably, defaulted. The trouble for Mr Gopee is that none of Mr Gopee’s companies were licensed (except for one that was struck off many years ago) and none of the loans were Consumer Credit Act compliant.
There were extensive proceedings in the Mercantile Court, in which various borrowers, often in person, sought to appeal or set aside possession orders. Those are now on hold, I believe, as all Mr Gopee’s companies were put into administration. I can’t go into the full and extraordinary history of these proceedings (and Mr Gopee’s predatory activities), but lots of past posts and some dreadful title puns can be found here (most recent first). The scale of Mr Gopee’s activities are indicated by there being some 400 odd cases stayed in the Mercantile Court proceedings.
Now comes news that not only has Mr Gopee been banned from being a company director for the maximum period of 15 years, but that he is being prosecuted by the FCA – their first ever prosecution.
He is facing charges of offences under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The FCA estimates illegal loans of some £1 million in the last 4 years.
We will await news of the prosecution and its outcome with interest.
Now, as I understand it, the administrators of his former companies still need to sort out the many, many charges Gopee registered on his victims’ properties on the back of unenforceable, illegal loans, and, of course a large number of properties where he obtained possession orders.