A businessman who became a major investor in Scotland’s space race while facing fraud charges has started a £250,000-a-week financial advice firm.
The Sunday Mail previously reported how a company run by Michael Haston was allowed to take a £2m stake in the government-backed Shetland Space Center despite serious concerns over its credentials.
He was charged with fraud in 2017 in an investigation that has now been dropped.
Another of his companies – Leonne International – is the subject of a warning from the Financial Conduct Authority.
The self-proclaimed child prodigy, who also uses the name Michael McQueen, is no longer involved with the space center.
Chief executive Frank Strang said: “Michael Haston is not involved in Spaceport. He is not an investor and has absolutely nothing to do with our business. We have canceled his shares and repaid the loan.
But we can reveal he’s moved on to a new Edinburgh-based scheme – Haston Economics – selling investment advice.
The firm, which has been promoted on national media platforms, charges potential clients a one-time fee of £25,000 or £250,000 for a ‘week-long on-site visit by Haston Economics’ expert team’ .
In a promotion for the company, Haston said: “It can be very difficult and stressful if you don’t know what you are doing, but our system will give owners the knowledge they need to go out and engage directly with suitable investors if their investment offer allows them to do so.
“People are in the market trying to raise funds through the traditional methods of banks, corporate financiers, private equity firms and crowdfunding platforms etc. It takes time and nothing is guaranteed.
“We have created a sales and marketing plan that business people can use to go to market with their qualified investment offer and raise funds directly from the right private investors and I strongly believe that everyone should have that sales and marketing knowledge.”
Haston previously went to court in an unsuccessful bid to try and stop the Sunday Mail from revealing his past.
His lawyers tried to ban the publication at Glasgow Sheriff Court in April 2020, but a sheriff dismissed claims that his privacy would be breached.
Shetland Space Center has received at least £15,000 of public money and has two prominent ex-politicians on its board – former MSP Lib Dem Tavish Scott and ex-Labour Secretary Brian Wilson.
Haston – who boasts of making more than £500million selling a “Cayman-based fund” – previously held a 20% stake through Leonne.
The Financial Conduct Authority issued a warning on March 3, 2020 about Leonne.
He said the company had ‘targeted people in the UK’ and ‘provided financial services without authorisation’.
A Sunday Mail investigation found that many of the companies the ‘multinational major’ claimed to have ‘acquired’ had never heard of Haston.
In an interview on Haston Economics he said, “There is no algorithm for experience and that is what I bring to the table with this company – a proven sales and marketing strategy for fundraising in the 21st century.”
Haston could not be reached for comment.
A Crown Office spokesperson said: ‘The Tax Prosecutor received a report relating to a 28-year-old man and an incident which allegedly occurred on June 29, 2017.
“After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the admissible evidence available, the tax prosecutor has decided that there are no grounds to prosecute at this time.
“The Crown reserves the right to prosecute in the future if further evidence becomes available.”
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