Shareholders in BES firms seek information on €1.6m transfer

Cash in companies run by businessman Declan Conway was moved to two offshore companies

Shareholders in two Business Expansion Scheme (BES) companies run by businessman Declan Conway have written to him demanding to know why almost €1.6 million was transferred from both firms to a number of offshore entities.

Between 2006 and 2012, two companies established by Mr Conway, Pronanotect and Spearpoint Holdings, raised a total of €1.9 million from investors, much of it through the old BES, which allowed backers to write off part of their outlay against their taxes.

A number of individual investors subsequently became concerned that €811,000 was transferred from Pronanotect and €771,000 from Spearpoint to two offshore companies controlled by Mr Conway, Delaware-registered Avant Capital Partners and Avant Investments LDA in Portugal.

Proof

A group of investors in both companies wrote to Mr Conway last week seeking a written explanation “as to why funds raised for use in Pronanotects Ltd and Spearpoint Holdings Ltd (including BES approved funds) were used to discharge costs associated with

Avant Capital

Partners LP1, LP2 and LP3 and Avant Investments LDA”.

The six individuals, responsible for €275,000 of the total invested in both companies, want a detailed summary of the expenses, including the amounts, reason, method of payment and proof that the money was received.

Money owed

In the letter, the investors also seek access to unabridged accounts for both companies and to their books and records along with reports of both companies’ progress.

Accounts show Pronanotect and Spearpoint paid some of the costs incurred by the various Avant entities in 2010, which were then recorded as owing this money to both companies.

Pronanotect was given the right to convert this debt into shares in three businesses set up to recycle waste plastic into fuel oil. Spearpoint does not appear to have received a similar guarantee.

Pronanotect's latest accounts state that in June last year, the company exercised this right by entering into an agreement with Avant giving it the right to future royalties, revenue and capital appreciation from three businesses in the US, UK and Africa.

However, the investors say the businesses involved are carrying out the activities for which Pronanotect was set up in the first place.

Mr Conway and his brother Brendan are directors of both BES companies.