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

World of Spectrum

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Legal Resources

If people want to take action, the first thing you should do is write to the Law Society and set out that you backed a project, sending £XXX to a company to be held in trust to manufacture a product. However, you believe that your money has been given to Michelmores and Teacher Stern LLP to fight various spurious legal battles. This is forbidden by the Shareholders Agreement of the company (Enclose it!) and you believe both law firms were aware that the money being used was yours, and was in trust for production. You say in the circumstances you believe these two firms have acted unethically and should be investigated.

If you do that tiny little thing, you will kick off a world of pain for both of these firms and there is a very good chance that the Law Society will come down on them like a ton of bricks. It's unclear whether you will get your money back, but if the Law Society finds they shouldn't have taken it, it may well recommend your money is repaid. The outcome will be a matter of public record.

This costs you, as a backer, nothing but a bit of time and the price of a stamp.

You can also email the complaint directly to report@sra.org.uk instead, as outlined on How to report a solicitor or firm to the SRA.

If you wish to pursue this, here is a template you can use:


[your address]

[today's date]

Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside St
Birmingham B1 1RN

Dear Sirs,

Re: Retro Computers Limited retainer of firms: Teacher Stern LLP & Michelmores LLP

I find myself having to write to you out of great concern in relation to various legal cases pursued by Retro Computers Limited, 34 Courthope Rd, London NW3 2LD, using the services of Teacher Stern LLP, and Michelmores LLP.

On dd/mm/yyyy, I pledged £XXX via a Crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, to Retro Computers Limited (hereafter RCL). Retro Computers Limited was asking for money to help with the manufacture of a product called the Sinclair ZX Vega+. Its campaign is available here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-sinclair-zx-spectrum-vega-plus-console-games#/

Please note the following:

"Development of the product is complete, and a fully-functioning prototype is ready to go into production."

I therefore pledged £XXX for the production of this device and I would argue that my £XXX was to fund production of that device. In total, RCL raised £512,790 from 4,772 backers such as me. This money was to produce the Sinclair ZX Vega+.

However, RCL, instead of using the money to produce the device, used it to procure the services of Teacher Stern LLP, and later Michelmores LLP, to fight various legal cases.

I believe the Law Society should conduct an investigation into the solicitors who handled these cases for the following reasons:

(a) RCL had a full Shareholders' Agreement (enclosed) that prohibited RCL from, quoting from it:

"commenc[ing] the prosecution or defence of any legal or arbitration proceedings other than routine debt collection"

and

(b) RCL had clearly stated to all backers like me that the money they gave to the company was *to produce the ZX Vega+*. The campaign itself should, arguably, have alerted the firms involved as to the fact that the money held by RCL was held in trust for production of the device.

Indeed, in the case of Teacher Stern LLP, even if its due diligence had failed to uncover either of the two above points, it was put on notice *after* it began to act for RCL that it must not accept payment from the backers' money and, crucially the following events occurred:

On 16th May 2016, Teacher Stern accepted £15,056.40 from RCL's account.
On 20th May 2016, Teacher Stern returned £15,056.40 to RCL's account.

Four days later on 24th May 2016, Chairman of RCL Mr David Levy accepted this exact amount £15,056.40 as "consultancy fees", presumably to transfer straight to Teacher Stern.

However, Teacher Stern then went on to accept further payments directly from that account, knowing this was legally, and ethically, wrong. By then it could not be otherwise that in full knowledge of the restrictions in the Shareholders Agreement:

On 1st July 2016, Teacher Stern accepted £24,000.00 from RCL's account.
On 26th July 2016, Teacher Stern accepted £11,629.10 from RCL's account.
On 9th August 2016, Teacher Stern accepted £17,678.41 from RCL's account.
On 6th October 2016, Teacher Stern accepted £13,584.10 from RCL's account.

The file was then passed to Michelmores LLP who continued to accept the following payments, all in breach of the Shareholders Agreement and in the full knowledge they were being paid with money that was in trust for production of the ZX Vega+:

On 24th November 2016, £15,000.00
On 13th December 2016, £20,350.20
On 3rd January 2017, £255.00
On 19th January 2017, £10,000.00
On 30th January 2017, £509.60
On 30th January 2017, £15,249.00
On 15th February 2017, £22,551.40
On 25th May 2017, £121.00
On 26th May 2017, £4,200.00
On 21st June 2017, £10,000.00

This is the total known money paid up to mid July 2017, it is suspected further monies have been paid to Michelmores since that date as there have been multiple ongoing spurious court cases heard.

In total this adds up to an eye-watering £165,127.81 which has been taken from backers' money held in trust for the production of the ZX Vega+ and given to these two firms.

Surely, the very first thing any solicitor that any solicitor approached to handle legal proceedings on behalf of RCL should have done is read the Shareholders agreement and noted the clause that:

"commenc[ing] the prosecution or defence of any legal or arbitration proceedings other than routine debt collection"

was forbidden, and therefore refused to act?

Obviously, I am not a client of either Teacher Stern or Michelmores LLP and I do not know the names of the solicitors involved in the cases RCL instructed them to pursue. However, according to the SRA Suitability Test 2011, it is imcumbent upon all solicitors to act with integrity and I have serious concerns that my money has ended up in the pockets of one or the other of these firms, with no respect to the legally prevailing shareholders agreement or the fact that it was held in trust.

The situation is that, as of today, no device has been produced. I believe my money has instead been used in frivolous, and wholly without merit, legal actions conducted through both of these firms. I believe that they have acted not with integrity but rather to line their own pockets and without any respect for upholding the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.

In the circumstances, I am requesting that you conduct a full investigation into the solicitors involved in order to determine their suitability to practise. In the event that your investigation finds that this money was unlawfully accepted, I would ask that you send me a copy of the ruling so that I may seek the return of my £XXX from their indemnity insurance.

Paul Andrew and Chris Smith who still own 50% of the RCL shares have publicly stated their lawyers under their instructions contacted both Teacher Stern and Michelmores lawyers and made it very clear they did not give their permission under the shareholders agreement to pursue spurious legal cases using the companies and backers funds. Both companies ignored these legal notices so much so that they fought Andrews and Smith in high court on behalf of RCL to try to unlawfully remove the shares of Andrews in order to gain the needed majority. Over four high court hearings with three judges and one master it was decided that RCL was acting unlawfully and RCL was ruled against with most costs awarded against them. To date RCL has not settled these costs, and still is actively using Michelmores in these and other spurious legal matters. Andrews and Smith have confirmed in public they would be happy as would their lawyers to supply any relevant documentation to the appropriate authorities in this matter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

[your name]

Enclose: Shareholders Agreement


Bank statements

If you are wondering how seriously the SRA take complaints, the answer is VERY seriously!

Date Description Money out £ Money in £

Teacher Stern

05-16-16 Transfer to Teacher Stern Llp Inv 0161 15,056.40
05-20-16 Direct credit from Teacher Stern Llp Ref: Teacher Stern JR 15,056.40
05-24-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Mr D. N. L. Levy Ref:-CONSULTANCY FEES 15,056.40
07-01-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-RETRO COMP L 11,000.00
07-01-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-RETRO COMPUTERS 13,000.00
07-26-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-RETRO CORNERSTONE 5,000.00
07-26-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-RETRO - BALANC 6,629.10
08-09-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-RETRO COMPUTERS LI 17,678.41
10-06-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Teacher Stern Llp Ref:-INVOICE 1639 13,584.10
Total for Teacher Stern81,948.01
Date Description Money out £ Money in £

Michelmores

11-24-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 15,000.00
12-13-16 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 20,350.20
01-03-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 255.00
01-19-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/2 10,000.00
01-30-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/2 509.60
01-30-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 15,249.00
02-15-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-6004711 22,551.40
05-25-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 121.00
05-26-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 4,200.00
06-21-17 On-line Banking bill payment to Michelmores Llp Ref:-CZS/JIC/124919/1 10,000.00
Total for Michelmores98,236.20

Another option available is to complain about a limited company and there is an online complaints form you can fill out. Information taken from the UK government website:

Complain about a limited company

You can complain to The Insolvency Service, Companies House or the Serious Fraud Office if you suspect a limited company or its directors of fraud or serious misconduct.

Complain to The Insolvency Service

You can make a complaint if you have reasonable grounds to suspect a currently active company of:

  • causing significant harm to customers, suppliers, etc
  • breaking the law, eg fraud
  • serious misconduct, eg company assets have not been used properly
  • having a significant irregularity in its affairs
— Gov.UK website

 

Latest Funky Spectrum RCL Video

Finally Lee bites the hand that feeds him with a sensational series of online tirades against his former masters.
(14/11/2017)

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
  • Prototypes made: 20-30