Court filings in a civil claim against Richard Yeowart, the former director of outside broadcasting company Arena Television, and his fellow director Robert Hopkinson, suggest a locked office at Arena TV HQ in Redhill, Surrey, was the nerve centre of an operation to defraud lenders of c.£280m, in what is believed to be the UK’s biggest-ever fraud in asset-backed lending, the Sunday Times reported.
An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office is ongoing and two individuals have been arrested, although it is not believed to be Yeowart or Hopkinson, who are believed to be living abroad and have yet to offer their version of the events around the collapse of the company or to respond to allegations of missing funds.
Broadcasting equipment valued at £1m has also been found in the unlocked Arena TV office, which Hickman Shearer and CA Global Partners said will result in a follow-up auction and sale. The companies raised £8 million on behalf of creditors following a three-day auction, with private treaty sales, in February.
See: Hickman Shearer and CA Global Partners to sell Arena Television’s assets
The February sale involved over 3,000 lots, from outside broadcasting trucks to cameras, lenses and hundreds of kilometres of cabling, creating an opportunity for TV production companies to acquire equipment at a time when primary market prices are on the rise.
The new sale, conducted via a live webcast on 4 May, will conclude the Arena assets dispersal, offering a significant holding of further equipment not previously released. It includes cameras, lenses, grip, an OB trailer, tenders and outside broadcasting production gear.
Tim Chapman, managing director of Hickman Shearer, a capital asset valuation, management and used equipment sales company, said: “Recovering the value of assets in as effective and timely a manner as possible on behalf of creditors is a vital aspect of any administrative process like this. The results from our February dispersal, which went considerably over our estimate, show that the modern auction process is an excellent way of achieving this.”
In the wake of the collapse of Arena TV in November 2021, court-appointed administrators Kroll found that up to 55 lenders were owed over £280m in mostly asset-based loans made against equipment that may never have existed.
The Kroll investigation is also ongoing and is looking into the relationship between Arena TV and Sentinel Broadcast, a supplier of audio-visual equipment.
For background into the Arena TV scandal, See
Arena TV’s absconded directors and lessors’ missing millions
Arena TV: items for sale
– Grass Valley LDX 86N 4K cameras (6)
– Sony HDC 3500 cameras (2)
– Sony HDC 2500 cameras (5)
– Plus multiple additional cameras, viewfinders, adapters and converters
– Canon UJ86x9.3B IESD-SB UHD Digisuper 86 Lens (2)
– Canon UJ27x6.5B IESD-SB UHD Digisuper 27 Lens (2)
– Canon XJ72 x 9.3B DigiSuper 72 XS Lens (2)
– Canon XJ86x9.3B IE-II IESD-SB HD Digisuper 86 II XS Lens (1)
– Canon HJ11ex4.7B IASE Lens (3)
– Canon HJ14x4.3B Lens (2)
– Canon CJ12ex4.3B Lens (1)
– Canon CJ20ex7.8B IASE S Lens (4)
– Canon CJ24ex7.5B IASE S Lens (1)
– Vinten Vision 250 Tripod
– Vinten Vector 700 Head
Audio & Talkback
– Riedel Artist 128 Frame and talkback panels
– Genelec Speakers
– Bel and TSL rack mount Audio Monitoring Units (AMU)
– Lexicon and Dolby audio processing equipment
– Motorola Radios and chargers
Signal Processing & Glue
– ProBel Aurora, Cygnus and Sirius Routers
– Additional units from Evertz, Axon, Grass Valley and AJA
Vision & Video Monitoring
– Sony MVS800 Vision Mixer
– Vutrix, Panasonic and JVC video monitors
– Vutrix Multiviewers
– Marshall Multiviewers
Outside Broadcast Units and Tenders
– Gerling double-expanding OB articulated trailer (2008) – sold rack-ready
– Donbur 9.8m11 tonne (2001) and Crane Fruehauf 13.8m 32 tonne (1998) tender trailers
Interested parties in the Arena TV auction can receive updates by signing up at arenatvsale.com