Almost 1,000 investors who ploughed cash into a property empire which collapsed are yet to discover if they will receive any money back.

In 2019, Bolton-based property company Harewood Associates went under after having solicited investment from almost 1,000 people.

Manchester High Court heard on Tuesday, July 25, how the administrators have proceeded while creditors said they felt the issue should be being dealt with differently.

Speaking on behalf of liquidators Paul Stanley and Dean Watson, Louis Doyle KC said: "The liquidators are dealing with creditors from Harewood Associates (HA) and Harewood Venture Capital (HVC).

"Eleven SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicle) were moved into dissolution. Liquidators were never appointed in respect of them.

"People who think they are entitled to claim against HA and HVC are flatly wrong."

He told the court how, using their various companies in the property industry, brothers Peter and David Kiely solicited investment from people with income of 'over £100,000 a year' or a 'certain amount of disposable capital'.

Shortly after Harewood went under, the Kielys, switched the base of its main debtor from an HQ in Chorley New Road, Bolton, to offices in Dalton Court, in Commercial Road, Darwen.

Mr Doyle added: "A large number of investors were sent a declaration that Harewood Associates had gone into administration on December 5, 2019."

Harewood Venture Capital was also wound up in April 2019.

He continued: "The liquidators were faced with very difficult jobs. They had to work with at least 2,000 investor agreements and pull those together.

"Having more or less completed that task, they wrote letters to HA, HVC and SPV investors on June 9 this year.

"There were 989 individual investors or creditors."

The Bolton News and our sister paper The Lancashire Telegraph have previously reported estimates given by administrators Begbie Traynor that investors could only receive between seven and 16 pence in the pound back.

But sources now say that figure could be as low as two pence in the pound for certain investors, amid a complex web of inter-company transactions overseen by the brothers.

Mr Doyle added: "One argument is there is a fraud behind all these companies and what liquidators should do is pool everything into one estate and allow everyone to claim against the single estate.

"That is objectionable. It is attractive if you are a creditor unlikely to have much of a dividend, but then what of the other investors."

His Honour Judge Mark Halliwell read through a statement provided by Sue Gerrard, one of the investors.

He said: "You say there are some problems as a result of the way the company was run by the directors. It has led to confusion as to what company people were investing with.

"You are saying to take a common sense approach and treat everyone like creditors."

Mrs Gerrard said: "We thought we were investing in Harewood Associates, there was only mention of Harewood Venture Capital, we had not heard of it until the letter on June 9 this year.

"HA and HVC were operating as if they were one and the same company."

She added that the dividends should be split between investors equally. However, His Honour Judge Halliwell said that it was a matter for the liquidators to decide upon and not him.

Another investor said she had not received the June 9 letter until July 23, so had had no chance to appeal.

She added: "I had never heard of HVC until yesterday."

One other investor said: "I invested with my wife in 2018, looking through Lancashire Life magazine I came across Harewood."

He spoke to them at their Bolton office and they offered him an investment opportunity with a '10 per cent guarantee'.

They made an investment in March 2019, a month before HVC was wound up.

He continued: "We went to GMP but we were told no."

His Honour Judge Halliwell suggested to Mr Doyle that the liquidators write a further letter to each investor, stating whether their submission has been accepted, rejected, or rejected and a new amount suggested instead, with that amount stipulated in the letter.

Investors would be allowed a further 28 days on receipt of the letter to object to their own rulings.

This was agreed upon by Mr Doyle, the liquidators and the judge.

His Honour Judge Halliwell concluded: "They (the liquidators) have to make a decision based on statutory evidence.

"All I have done is made some decisions about procedure."