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Byline: Norman Silvester

A financial adviser who used clients' cash to buy Ferraris and Lamborghinis has been banned from running a company for nine years.

David Drysdale, 32, duped hundreds of desperate customers out of money paid to his firm Welcome Loans for financial advice.

The company claimed to be able to get loans for people for PS70 set-up fees.

But customers - many of them cash-strapped pensioners or single parents - found they were being charged for loans that were never agreed.

In some cases, the set-up fees were deducted multiple times from their accounts without their knowledge and with no refunds.

Drysdale used the cash to buy a PS180,000 Lamborghini Gallardo and a PS200,000 Ferrari 458 - both with personalised number plates.

He also kitted out a PS300,000 home with chandeliers, expensive leather furnishings, a black marble bathroom with fitted TV and radio and a designer kitchen.

Drysdale even boasted about his new-found wealth by posting photos of the sports cars at his home in Kirkinner, near Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, on Facebook.

On the same page, he described one customer who complained as an "idiot".

Drysdale set up Welcome Loans in offices in West George Street, Glasgow, in 2010, claiming to help people who were having problems getting loans.

An investigation was launched last year by the Government's Insolvency Service after the firm went bust in 2013.

At the same time, 233 complaints were received by the Financial Ombudsman about set-up fees which had wrongly been taken off customers' accounts.

The investigators discovered that Drysdale Norman Silvester | had opened a secret offshore bank account in the tax haven of Mauritius containing more than PS270,000.

They also found he had moved PS121,000 into the same account shortly before Welcome Loans went bust - money which should have gone to creditors.

One victim, Jeanette Styles of Gloucester, applied for a loan in 2013 and was told to pay a PS70 arrangement fee.

Not only did Welcome Loans take the cash from her account three times, Jeanette never got a loan.

Last week, Drysdale - whose middle name is Gary - was banned from being a company director or running a firm until 2024.

The Government probe found he had also failed to refund any of the 233 victims.

The Insolvency Service judgment said: "He failed to act in good faith for the best interest of Welcome Loans and their creditors."

Drysdale was also accused of trying to cover up assets of the failed company and failing to disclose what he had done with tax and national insurance contributions.

The judgment added: "He made payments of at least PS121,728 to himself.

"He concealed and failed to disclose to the liquidator Welcome Loans' funds held by their payment processing company in a Mauritius merchant bank account.

"The payment processing company was holding funds of at least PS271,544.17."

The investigation also found that Drysdale had provided a forged government document to the same Mauritius bank in a bid to get the money.

Drysdale now lives with his mum Martha in nearby Whithorn. Last week, she claimed she had no idea where he was, adding: "I don't think he'll talk to you."

A former neighbour in Kirkinner said: "We'd only see him late at night, around 2am, when he would arrive home.

"He'd then leave about 6am.

We always knew he was home because we could hear the Lamborghini first."

The Insolvency Service said: "Taking action against Mr Drysdale is a warning to directors of their duties to comply with their statutory director's obligations."


SPLASHING OUT Drysdale, right, paid for a new bathroom and dining room at his luxury house, top. He also bought a Ferrari and Lamborghini
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 25, 2015
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