By Max Clarke

Six fraudulent ‘land banking’ companies have been ordered to close by the High Court.

The practise of land banking involves the selling of areas of land touted to the customer as a viable investment, while in reality the lots are of little financial value.

The growing problem of land banking was recently exposed by the BBC, who cited the example of one William McNaught. McNaught spend more than £100,000 on areas of land which the fraudulent brokers said would generate returns of 100-130% in a year, only to be told by an independent estate agent later that land was undevelopable and worth just £75.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has presented petitions in the High Court to wind up the following lank baning firms in the public interest: Stowford Place Investments Ltd, ASA Global Investments Limited, Prinston Estates Limited, Alpha Capital Investments (London) Limited, Greenacre Global Partners Limited and Vinci Trading Ltd.

On the application of the Secretary of State the Official Receiver has been appointed by the Court as provisional liquidator of the companies. The role of the Official Receiver is to protect the assets and financial records of the companies pending determination of the petitions. The provisional liquidator also has the power to investigate the affairs of the companies insofar as it is necessary to protect the assets including any third party or trust monies or assets in the possession of or under the control of the companies.