Notwithstanding the massive injection of wealth provided by insurance firms like Admiral, sponsors of Cardiff, and all those call centre comparisoneers, the Welsh have, as the natives would say, basically not got a pot i piss mewn.
Vigorously interviewed this week on Radio 4’s Today programme, First Minister Carwash Jones was reminded that the Welsh can ill afford to dream of independence due to the pitifully small number of top-rate tax payers in the Principality – just 89 compared with 227,000 in Scotland and 2.6 million in England.
One insurance broker, Harbinger (Harby) Panesar, however, staged a heroic attempt to buck this depressing trend and bring a little glitz and glamour to this morbid mist-enshrouded nation. Through the thrusting dealer-intermediated motor warranties business he ran with his father in law Tony Thomas of Llantwit Major, Harbo made a valiant stab at recreating the authentic Dallasty Lifestyle from his six-acre Vale of Glamorgan estate and mansion.
Harbinger and his family emerged triumphantly into the celebrity limelight, where stunning daughter Anysha has since remained, when the latter’s super-lavish 16th birthday party was filmed for MTV (Read on for further details). But, sadly, Mr Ponyczar’s dream lifestyle began to unravel when his underwriters, Isle-of-Man based Templeton Insurance, wised up to the fact that Harbs and Tony T had failed to pass on more than £2m in premiums.
As lavish as he may have been in his personal life – Mr P, it turns out, had been economising fairly drastically on things like sticking to the terms of his agreement with Templeton, arranging the cover policyholders had paid for, the truth etc.
Templeton got a freezing injunction slapped on Motorcare Warranties in July 2008, after it got wind that he was offering things he wasn’t authorised to offer and then – when it queried certain somewhat off-piste activities – received by fax a copy of a letter Harbsy claimed they’d sent him in 2004 (subsequently described by a judge as “an obvious and poor forgery”) giving him authority to basically do whatever he felt like.
Undeterred by this unfortunate turn of events, the Harbster went on to set up Motorcare Elite (within just days of Motorcare Warranties being frozen) into which the “business” of the former vehicle was effectively transferred. Sadly those spoilsports at Templeton took the matter to the High Court, arguing that Motorcare’s goodwill was an asset and therefore should not have been passed on to Elite under the terms of the freezing injunction. Panesar and Thomas were both found to be in contempt of court.
By March 2011 things had all gone pear shaped with the new business too, after several customers discovered to their cost that Motorcare Elite had been inventing fictitious insurers to “underwrite” superlatively (if oxymoronically) named policies like “Supreme Plus”. His credibility finally exhausted, Mr P was made bankrupt in May 2011 and received an automatic discharge twelve months later. In July last year he was handed a nine month jail sentence for assorted chicanery, embezzlement and dissemblance, subsequently suspended last September.
Barely had the unfortunate man begun taking stock of this merciful outcome, when the FSA bore down on him like some vengeful harpy (ashamed perhaps at ever authorising the highly questionable Motorcare Elite) banning him for life and imposing a grotesquely punitive £212,000 fine on the misunderstood entrepreneur. Why? Because their fast-paced investigations had revealed that Painseer had misappropriated more than £180,000 from the two firms and left 6,000 customers without the cover they believed they had paid for.
On the occasion of the stunning Anysha’s 16th birthday in 2009, Mr Panacea threw a lavish £20,000 Moulin Rouge themed party filmed for MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 – at which Nysh watched personal video messages from Flo Rida, Neo and Nicole Kidman (a £3,000 replica of whose dress from the film the teenager sported at the party and also (earlier) whilst descending from a helicopter to throw coveted invites into the midst of a horde of screaming school fellows at a blustery South Wales airfield).
Mr and Mrs P looked on proudly as N-Dubz’ Tulisa and DJ Ironik providing the entertainment and a brand new Golf with N16 YSH plates pulled up outside. Other gifts included a Gucci handbag, a £1,500 mobile phone and – shockingly – £400 sunglasses. Debriefed for MTV’s cameras post event, Harb appeared chastened by the expense, admitted confiscating his daughter’s diamante encrusted mobile after she ran up £500 in call charges within a week and conceded he could not have funded such a lavish celebration without the benefit of “long arms” for reaching into pockets.
His investment certainly catapulted Anysha into the media spotlight. She went on to further appearances on MTV and in September 2010 became the controversial winner of the America’s Perfect Teen Pageant – for which she qualified – much to the disgust of spurned indigenous contestants – by dint of the family owning property in Florida.
Anysha is now said to be supporting her financially ruined father as those heartlessly vindictive bureaucrats at the FSA insist he pay his fine in full – even if this drives him to a second bankruptcy.
A cautionary tale for our times, you might conclude.
Listen to the audio file here: vale of tears