Unregulated Irish pension – investment scheme Dolphin Trust

Have you invested in any Dolphin Trust-German Property Group products?

Dave Coleman, Managing Partner at Coleman Legal previously advised the Sunday Business Post about the dangers of unregulated investment products in Ireland.

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Up to 1,800 Irish investors lose investments in The Dolphin Trust Scandal aka German Property Group totaling a combined loss of €107 million

Dolphin Trust, now known as German Property Group (GPG) was started by Charles Smethurst and was a German property investment group that worked with Wealth Options Trustee Limited (WOTL), the Irish administrator to promote the investment scheme to Irish investors.

Dolphin Trust enticed investors to invest their funds for Dolphin Trust to acquire derelict German property such as old buildings, castles, monasteries, barracks, post offices, and more, with the plan to restore and renovate them into luxury apartments to sell to the German market with the advantage of generous tax breaks from the German government.

The brochure of the investment scheme claimed that the acquired buildings would be renovated “with integrity and sensitivity to answer the call of the German property market to deliver sustainable living accommodation in highly sought-after locations”. “Our clients are provided with the additional security of knowing their money is secured by a legal charge on the property,” was stated on their brochure.

From this, the investors understood that if all else went wrong, the investor money would at least have the first legal charge on the development property assets.

These unregulated loan note products were sold to a network of approximately two-hundred Wealth Options Trustee Limited (WOTL) brokers in Ireland.

It is reported that around 1,800 Irish investors, including pension planners, small business owners and various types of investors have put their money into the scheme where pension brokers and selling agents sold them the unregulated loan note products with the combined amount invested totaling €107 million.

In December 2019, Dolphin reassured brokers that Irish investors have €111 million worth of property assets yet in September 2020, Irish investors were advised that their investments had been written down to zero, as reported in the Irish Business Post.

As pressure mounted from the UK investors, some of which had been experiencing interest defaults from June 2019 and capital defaults as far back as 2018, the German Property group filed for bankruptcy in July 2020. The bankruptcy proceedings were opened in the Bremen Court in October 2020 with liabilities estimated at €1 billion.

Irish investors have invested sums ranging from €20,000 to €200,000 on the presumption they were investing in secured products.

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Coleman Legal is currently assisting investors involved in this investment scheme to explore their legal options. Our dedicated team has extensive experience in claims relating to professional negligence across a range of industries and we are ready to advise and assist you with your case.

If you believe you have been mis-sold a financial product and suffered financial losses arising from negligent advice, please contact our Professional Negligence Team today at Coleman Legal to discuss if you have a potential legal action.

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