ZX Vega+ News

(Unauthorised and Unofficial)

Vega+ Shipping Dates

  • End of September 2016
  • October 2016
  • In time for Xmas 2016
  • February 2017
  • A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017
  • Summer 2017
  • 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
  • Mid October 2017
  • April 2018
  • May 8th - 12th 2018
  • May 12th 2018
  • May 31st 2018 (Indiegogo deadline)
  • June 15th 2018
  • July 6th 2018

World of Spectrum

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Daily Blog

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2nd October, 2018

The Solicitors Regulation Authority posts an update:

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Following our email of 01 May 2018, I am writing to provide a further update in relation to your report to us.

As you know from my previous email, we had made enquiries with Michelmores and Teacher Stern. We have received a wealth of information which we are continuing to carefully consider.

Whilst we have made good progress, I will be in a better position to provide more clarity on our next steps by 30 November 2018. If I am able to do before this date, I will do so.

Thank you for your patience while we continue to investigate your concerns.

Yours sincerely

Investigation Officer
Investigation and Supervision
www.sra.org.uk

— Solicitors Regulation Authority
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4th October, 2018

The Vega+ Refund Request Team posts an update stating that the registered offices for RCL are now returning all legal paperwork unopened:

Update: Figured backers may also find the following link useful

http://retro-computers.co.uk/small-claims

Hi Folks,

We have been made aware that small claim cases against RCL in which people make their claim, and the courts send the paperwork to ask the defendants (in this case RCL) to their registered offices. The registered offices for RCL are in fact those of their accountants Grunbergs (also the registered offices of the companies now run by the ex director of RCL - Suzanne Martin - Ping Pong Studios Ltd & Primate Ltd). It has been confirmed to us by those making the small claims against RCL that they have been informed by the court that the documents sent to RCL to that address are being returned unopened back to the courts. This would seem to indicate RCL is no longer even attempting to defend refund cases. Not forgetting the only case they did defend that of Rob Morton they lost. Since then two further default judgements have been awarded against RCL in the matter of backer refunds (we presume those awards are being pursued by the backers for collection). We can also confirm that at least four small claims are in progress that we are even aware of. Should at some point in the near future RCL be found to be currently or has been run insolvent, there is a potential for the current remaining director and the two who resigned recently to be held personally liable and debts of the company be liable to be repaid by them. We have also been made aware several of those people have substantial property assets. I am sure you don't need to be made aware that court awarded debts (such as those made by a small claims court) receive their money higher up the pecking order. We will let you all make up your own minds what actions to potentially make based on this knowledge. To be clear the refund team and other third parties are still working hard to help all backers. But you do also have the option of helping yourselves as well.

— The Vega+ Refund Request Team
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Saturday 6th October, 2018

Backer Stephen Storr posts information about the bailiffs attempting to contact RCL at their registered offices as well as David Levy's personal address:

Stephen Storr bailiffs attempting to contact David Levy at RCL
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Sunday 7th October, 2018

A new section called Where are they now has been added, starting with missing person DC Daniel Levy.

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Monday 8th October, 2018

A shareholders meeting takes place with the main point of order being to remove David Levy as director.

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Wednesday 10th October, 2018

Darren Melbourne posts a small update on the facebook group:

Darren Melbourne

Good morning all, I realise that everyone involved in this debacle has fallen silent of late. This is due to legal technicalities and as such all parties are restricted as to what they can and can't say. If I were a betting man I would anticipate an interesting update on either Friday (12th) or Monday (15th). This enforced silence is frustrating but sadly necessary at this time...........

— Darren Melbourne
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Thursday 11th October, 2018

A new leak is added showing that Vertex Moulding Ltd have been trying to track down RCL for an update on the Vega+, as they are sitting on strange quantities of moulding components with a promise of future orders.

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Friday 12th October, 2018

Darren Melbourne posts a small update on the facebook group:

Darren Melbourne

Unlike RCL's "We can't say anything for legal reasons" which was complete and utter bullshit at all times, I understand this current enforced silence has been requested by the court.

Whilst cases are 'live' and still being heard it's been requested that neither side speaks on social media about anything that could have a reflection or influence on proceedings.

I'm sure usual service will be resumed in the very near future but for now, just keep the faith. A lot is happening in the background, and that sooner or later the BBC and many others will undoubtedly be covering this.........

— Darren Melbourne
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Thursday 18th October, 2018

Backer Stephen Storr posts an update about a letter from the court:

Another letter from the court...since I gave the Baliffs / Sheriffs Mr Levys' private address and contact number. They require another £33 in order to pay him another visit. Am I throwing good money after bad ? Certainly feels like it. - JUST TO CONFIRM THIS IS MY OWN PRIVATE SMALL CLAIM AGAINST RCL (TO RECOVER COSTS OF 3 DEVICES AND MOUNTING LEGAL COSTS). THIS ACTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OTHER ONGOING LEGAL ACTION THAT MAY BE HAPPENING.

— Stephen Storr
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Saturday 20th October, 2018

On Twitter, long-time RCL supporter Jonathan Cauldwell claims that he was doing what was right in spite of fierce opposition:

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Sunday 21st October, 2018

A new leak is added showing David Levy reported Lee Fogarty to the cyber crime unit and the metropolitan police in 2017 for hacking, doxxing, obtaining confidential information and threats. The leak also shows that Retro Computers Ltd paid for a CCTV system, a gate, lights and other security measures at Lee Fogarty's girlfriend's house in Nottingham.

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Wednesday 24th October, 2018

The ZX Vega+ refunds site now shows 633 backers have requested refunds totalling £72085.

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Friday 26th October, 2018

The RCL website hosted at retro.business goes offline, with a message greeting visitors stating "Website Expired. This account has expired. If you are the site owner, click below to login."

RCL website retro.business showing it has expired due to an unpaid account
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Monday 29th October, 2018

Head of the Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE) Technology committee Adrian Cheok has a meltdown on Twitter after various members of academia speak out about how it is being run. Cheok's decision to merge David Levy's Love and Sex with Robots convention into the ACE 2018 convention along with the inclusion of Steve Bannon (the right-wing White House Chief Strategist for Trump) as the keynote speaker leads to the #BoycottACE hashtag.

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Thursday 1st November, 2018

Leif Oppermann uploads various documents showing David Levy sent false evidence/witness statements to the ACE committee.

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Friday 2nd November, 2018

A new section is added to the website called ACE disgrace, containing decoded versions of the files uploaded yesterday to Twitter.

The RCL website hosted at retro.business is re-activated, but the shop no longer has any products for sale.

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Monday 5th November, 2018

Gareth Corfield releases an article on The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot scandal man sits on Steve Bannon design tech shindig committee. Highlights of the article:

  • Wired magazine published a querulous article asking why Bannon had been invited to speak at the Advances in Computer Entertainment 2018 conference, noting that organiser Adrian Cheok had merged ACE2018 with another conference he runs: the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.
  • Curiously, that is also the title of a book written by Levy, who sits on ACE’s organising committee. That fact has not gone unnoticed by the crowd who funded Levy’s last commercial venture, the ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld gaming console. They flooded ACE’s Facebook page with outrage at his appointment to the ACE committee in August.
  • Levy’s company, Retro Computers Ltd, took £513,000 in crowdfunded cash from 4,500 members of the public a few years ago to build modern, handheld versions of the old Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Levy is RCL's chairman. A small number of devices in what appeared to be prototype format were eventually delivered, with the company ignoring the majority of those demanding their money back. One sued RCL; and won; others are waiting patiently for their £105 per device to be refunded to them.
  • Indiegogo, the crowdfunding platform which enabled all this, has seemingly turned its back on the whole scandal after some vague words about retaining debt collectors. It has issued no updates about progress on recovering the monies, and its last involvement with the project was to contradict (on 5 July 2018) claims by RCL that Indiegogo itself had been hacked.
  • We have asked Levy to comment on both his involvement with ACE and Steve Bannon, as well as the status of RCL and the Vega+. He has, however, been uncommunicative since the summer.

Janko Mrsic-Flogel, the illegally installed now ex-director of RCL, sets up yet another Indiegogo campaign, this time for the Cosmo Communicator. Crowdfunding company Indiegogo claim that campaigners may not setup any further campaigns if an existing campaign has failed, however the Vega+ has not delivered and there are many unhappy people with his second campaign for the Gemini PDA.

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Thursday 8th November, 2018

Companies House now shows that as of Friday the 2nd of November, Paul Andrews and Chris Smith return as directors of Retro Computers Ltd.

Jan Saggiori posts the following in the democracy facebook group:

Beige jacketed cloud headed fraudster David Levy

Retro Computers Limited

We have today been made aware that Christopher Smith and Paul Andrews have unlawfully registered themselves as Directors of Retro Computers at Companies House.

They were not appointed by the board. - I am the sole director and founder of Retro Computers Limited. Andrews and Smith threatened to take this illegal action at a shareholders meeting last Friday 2nd November 2018, and have done so even though I advised them that it would be illegal. They seek to rely on the company's shareholders agreement which was repudiated at the time of their resignations in April 2016. Christopher Smith has also confirmed via his lawyers that he agrees that the agreement is repudiated and therefore no longer in place.

This conduct is the latest in a long line of abuses which have been designed to bring about the demise of Retro Computers Ltd,

Due to ongoing criminal investigations, I will not be commenting further.

Dvaid Levy
[Chairman - Retro Computers Ltd]

— David Levy

Jan Saggiori posts David Levy's lies in the democracy facebook group
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Friday 9th November, 2018

Paul Andrews posts a response to David Levy's inaccurate statement in the Backers Collective Legal Action facebook group:

Paul Andrews

Retro Computers Limited

In response to the inaccurate statement made yesterday by our fellow director of Retro Computers Limited (Dvaid Levy), we are compelled to issue a further company statement.

The shareholders meeting of all four shareholders in Retro Computers Limited (that being Sinclair Research Ltd, Paul Andrews, Chris Smith, and David Levy), took place on Friday the 2nd of November 2018. This meeting was recorded with the consent and knowledge of all parties. Mr Levy confirmed to the shareholders multiple issues with the company which meant we were compelled to act, (and as is our legal right) reinstall ourselves as directors in the company as Mr Levy was either unwilling or unable to carry out the tasks needed to be done unaided. We will now take all steps required under the law to deal with these company matters. These reappointments were done with the support of 75% of the shareholders (that being ourselves and Sinclair Research Ltd) and also on the basis of legal counsel being taken from multiple firms. For clarity Chris Smith did not repudiate the shareholders agreement, Mr Levy is referring to an IP issue, and neither Sinclair Research Ltd, nor Paul Andrews at any time repudiated the shareholders agreement, in fact it is the position of all shareholders and our legal counsel (other than David Levy) that the shareholders agreement has always been in force.

For further clarity David Levy did not found the company, Chris Smith did (as public records show), and David Levy has been making unproven claims of criminal investigations to the press for over two years.

We are unable to make any further comments on any related matters currently.

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith

[Directors - Retro Computers Limited]

— Paul Andrews

Gareth Corfield publishes an article in The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot scandal firm's original directors rejoin (And the chairman is Not Happy At All about that). Highlights of the article:

  • The times, they are a-changin' at flailing ZX Spectrum reboot biz Retro Computers Ltd as two of the firm's original directors have rejoined it – with a furious chairman insisting this is "illegal".
  • Paul Andrews and founder Chris Smith rejoined the company earlier this week, according to filings made at Companies House that recorded their appointments – which were made with the support of Sinclair Research Ltd, Sir Clive's corporate shareholder in the firm.
  • This means RCL now has three directors: Andrews and Smith, and chairman David Levy. This is significant because it means Levy, a controversial figure in the Vega+ debacle, which has smacked the Sinclair brand hard, is now outnumbered on his own company's board. If he is outnumbered, he can be outvoted – meaning RCL's internal accounts and other paperwork can be brought to public light.
  • It appears that Andrews and Smith, who are both shareholders in RCL, used the firm's shareholder agreement – a legally binding document – to appoint themselves as directors. We understand that each RCL shareholder has the right to appoint one director as their representative.
  • Regular readers know all too well the saga of RCL's ZX Spectrum Vega+ product, which raised £513k in Indiegogo payments from 4,500 members of the public. The company failed to deliver the handheld gaming console for two years, with rumours going around that the money had instead been spent on legal fees and personal remuneration. A relatively small number of consoles were eventually delivered earlier this year, and in our view were exceptionally poorly designed and manufactured.
  • The RCL Vega+ scandal is an important one because, possibly for the first time, a case involving large sums of money intended for a crowdfunded product is being pursued to the bitter end, instead of everyone walking away and the obvious questions going unanswered.
  • In response to the Companies House filings, Levy sent us a statement accusing Andrews and Smith of acting unlawfully – Levy also claimed that he was the founder of RCL; something seemingly refuted by the firm's earliest filings with Companies House in January 2014: the date of Levy's first recorded involvement with the firm (PDF) appears to be as a director in November 2014.
  • Levy also claimed there is an "ongoing criminal investigation", a claim that we've heard a few times from more than one party during this saga. It was not clear from his statement who is supposedly one under investigation.
  • In response to Levy, Andrews and Smith sent us their own joint statement in which they revealed that Sinclair Research Ltd appears to be back on their side.
  • The two said that Smith had not repudiated the shareholders' agreement, adding that Levy was referring to a different agreement relating to intellectual property: "In fact it is the position of all shareholders (other than David Levy) that the shareholders' agreement has always been in force."
  • RCL's four shareholders are Andrews, Smith, Levy and Sinclair Research Ltd (SRL). SRL itself has swung back and forth between the two warring camps of Levy and Andrews & Smith, having notably abstained from a key boardroom vote a few months ago.

George Cropper releases a video called THE VEGA+ - NEW DIRECTORS INSTALLED that discusses the latest few months of non-development and mentions the shilling done by both Jonathan Cauldwell and Lee Fogarty.

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Monday 12th November, 2018

Companies House shows that as of the 2nd of November, Paul Andrews and Chris Smith have been removed as directors.

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith removed as directors

In response, Paul Andrews posts in the facebook group:

Paul Andrews

Chaps - we won't comment for obvious reasons, to be clear myself and chris are legally directors, no matter how many times our names are added/removed from companies house. Hope that clears that up.

— Paul Andrews

Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Videos

The drama continues as season 2 begins with the dramatic installation of two new directors. Rumours persist that the drama may be renewed for season 3.
(09/11/2018)

More terrible press for the much maligned console and to make matters worse, Sky have now insisted that the company no longer use the Sinclair name and its related trademarks.
(02/08/2018)

Indiegogo Campaign

"Our Indiegogo campaign is to raise funds to manufacture the first 2,500 or more units of the Vega+ in the UK, and to prepare us for the second production run."

— RCL (15/02/2016)

Vega+ Status

  • All refunds processed:
  • Roll of honour email:
  • Address confirmation:
  • Battery specification:
  • PEGI certification:
  • Final specs released:
  • Games list released:
  • Finished box design:
  • Manual released:
  • Working website:
  • Final devices made: 0
  • Small claims victories: 0
  • Prototypes made: ~100-200