This is pretty shady, but I wonder if they are really even in Tokyo?
Phil, a Financial Mail on Sunday reader from Berkshire, was contacted by Calderton Capital Partners, a Tokyo firm that offers investment advice as well as acting as middlemen in mergers and acquisitions.
Calderton had some good news for Phil. It wanted to buy his holding of shares in a small American company called TBXR, and it was willing to pay $130,000 (about £90,000). This priced his holding of just over 31,000 shares at more than $4 apiece – even though the last time Phil had checked the shares were closer to five cents (less than 4p). Still, it was certainly a generous offer. In fact, it topped the almost equally generous offer made to another reader, John from Cheshire, who was also contacted from Tokyo.
This time the contact came from a firm called Cook Capital Partners, and the caller told a curious story. John held shares in an American company called Accupoll that had filed for bankruptcy in 2006. But the caller said Accupoll had been taken over by a different company, Rudy Nutrition, and he represented a bidder who was willing to pay over $98,000 (about £68,000) for John’s shares.
Cook Capital Partners certainly seems to be a busy firm. At the same time as contacting John, it was also in touch with another Financial Mail on Sunday reader, Roger, wanting to buy his shares in yet another company, Genmed Holding Corporation.
And this was the biggest offer of them all – a mouthwatering $240,000 (£166,000) for shares that Roger had every reason to believe were actually worthless!
Now for the snags. Roger, John and Phil were all told that the shares they held carried a legal restriction that stopped the deal going through. But the good news was this restriction could be removed, if they paid legal fees up front.
The up-front fees were not quite the only snags though. According to investigators at Japan’s watchdog Financial Services Agency, Cook Capital Partners is a scam. It is not registered with the FSA or licensed to carry out shares deals. There is even doubt that it is actually at its Tokyo address and telephone number.