The Chancery Division of the High Court has made a remedial injunction requiring 12 companies to remove approximately 625 charges, notices and restrictions that had been registered against consumers’ properties at Her Majesty’s Land Registry. The 12 Defendant companies, all of which are now in liquidation, were all formerly owned and controlled by Mr Dharam Gopee. Only one of the 12 companies had ever held a consumer credit licence under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (and even then only until August 2012) and none of them had ever been authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
This is the latest chapter in a long saga involving Mr Gopee and his companies, who have been involved hundreds of cases in the County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Crown Court over the last two decades. The Financial Conduct Authority has previously prosecuted Mr Gopee, who in February 2018 was found guilty of unlicensed trading (under the CCA) and unauthorised trading (under FSMA), and sentenced to 42 months imprisonment. The FCA also obtained a Confiscation Order against Mr Gopee in December 2019 in the sum of £5,118,018.72.
Even after Mr Gopee’s convictions and imprisonment, and despite the agreements entered into by his companies having regularly been held by various courts to be unenforceable, Mr Gopee repeatedly sought to intervene in civil cases to prevent consumers from having the charges, notices and restrictions registered against their properties removed.
The FCA brought the present claim as regulator and on behalf of all affected consumers in order to save consumers from having to do so themselves. The injunction was obtained under section 380(2) of FSMA, which empowers the Court where there have been contraventions of a “relevant requirement”, in this case unlicensed trading contrary to section 39(1) of the CCA and unauthorised trading contrary to section 23(1) of FSMA, to make orders to remedy or mitigate the effect of those contraventions. The charges, notices and restrictions are required to be removed within six weeks.