HE Serious Fr aud Office has dismissed suggestions it has dropped a probe into a Basildon-based luxury Caribbean resort investment company.

The national fraud agency issued a statement in response to suggestions its investigation was over a nd no action would be taken against Harlequin, which is run by  Wickford couple Dave and Carole Ames.

The investigation was  announced 11 months after an Echo investigation revealed Harlequin, based in Honywood Road, Basildon, had sold investments in about 6,000 planned Caribbean holiday homes, bu t onl built about 300.

The Serious Fraud Office statement stresses: “The SFO investigation continues .

“We have had several reports from worried investors who recently received information from other sources to suggest our investigation was closed.

Th is is not the case .”

AH ar lequin spok esman added: “For the avoidance of doubt, Harlequin does not claim the investigat ion has closed.

“Harlequin strives for honesty and openness with its purchasers .

“A side from innocent misunderstandings, Harlequin can only assume third parties wanted the inve stigation to make headlines again and ensured it would, with several enquires .

“Harlequin maintains and is firm in its stance it is innocent of the accusations being investigated.