Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

DUP MP Willie McCrea loses out as property firm sees receivers called in

Democratic Unionist Willie McCrea
DUP MP Willie McCrea

Gospel singing DUP MP Willie McCrea has been hit in the pocket after the receivers were called into an international property firm he has invested in.

The DUP veteran is a major shareholder in the English-based Olive Tree International Property Limited which has fallen victim to the global property slump.

Mr McCrea yesterday declined to comment when Sunday Life invited him to talk about the firm’s troubles.

The South Antrim MP, 63, declares his investment in the register of financial interests at Westminster, which he is obliged to do if his investment exceeds £65,000, or 15 per cent of the company.

Records at Companies House show that Rev McCrea’s six million shares account for more than six per cent of the troubled sunshine property investment firm.

Swindon-based Olive Tree had promised major returns for investors in its properties which included plush pads in Detroit and sun-kissed holiday homes in the Mediterranean.

It also offered a portfolio of property in Florida, a favourite holiday resort of some of McCrea’s DUP colleagues.

One Olive Tree investment offered punters the chance to make a 50 per cent return on their outlay within just four years.

But investors had to stump up a MINIMUM £15,000.

However, the firm’s lenders HSBC last month called in the receivers as the firm fell victim to the global recession.

And the company secretary and another two directors quit the firm earlier this year.

Documents available at Companies House show the company holds mortgages with HSBC against its assets, including Olive Tree’s headquarters at Stanton Road, Swindon.

It is currently advertised for sale for offers over £500,000. It is not

clear what assets will be left to pay out shareholders.

The company’s last accounts were published in 2009 and showed at that time the company was worth over £500,000, but no financial records after that are available.

The shareholding is included among Rev McCrea’s financial interests at the House of Commons.

Also included is his weekly salary from the Free Presbyterian church in Magherafelt where he is a minister, and shares in rental properties in England.

His previous interests have included his recording company Daybreak Recordings, through which the crooner released his best-selling gospel records and DVDs.

Source Sunday Life

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