Major investor in Scotland’s spaceport banned from being company director

By John Ferguson,
Published by Daily Record, 8 October 2023

SUNDAY MAIL EXCLUSIVE: Michael Haston was lauded when his private equity firm took a multi-million pound stake in the government-backed rocket launch centre on Shetland in 2020.

A self-proclaimed “wonderkid” exposed by the Sunday Mail after becoming a major investor in Scotland’s space port has been banned from being a company director.

Michael Haston was lauded by the BBC when his private equity firm took a multi-million pound stake in the government-backed rocket launch centre on Shetland in 2020.

But the SaxaVord space site cut all ties with the businessman after we revealed details of his chequered dealings.

SaxaVord Spaceport on Shetland

Now the UK Government’s Insolvency Service have confirmed his eight-year director ban.

Their records state: “Mr Haston failed to ensure that Leonreed Limited maintained and/or preserved adequate accounting records, or in the alternative, has failed to deliver up to the Liquidators such records.”

Dozens of people lost millions after investing in a finance company run by Haston, who also goes by the name Michael McQueen.

Satchi Holdings PLC promised to return up to nine per cent gains to investors in its bonds but about 50 complainers who handed over up to £250,000 each contacted police after being left out of pocket.

We also told how the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had issued a warning over another
of his ventures – Leonne International. Haston once went to court to try to gag our revelations about a fraud investigation.

He was charged in 2017 as part of a probe which has now been discontinued by prosecutors.

Leonreed Limited is now in liquidation with debts believed to total more than £6million.

One investor who lost their life savings said: “I thought it was going to secure my retirement but I have been left with nothing. It is devastating, you feel stupid for getting involved but it seemed like a good investment at the time.

“Michael Haston initially returned calls and emails and then communication just stopped.”

Retired steelworker Chris Sheppard previously told how he fears he has lost his retirement nest egg after handing it over to Satchi Holdings.

The 60-year-old said: “My wife and I gave £60,000 – it was everything we had. We thought we would get a decent little income from it.” Attempts were made to contact Haston who now has no involvement in the SaxaVord Space Port.

Construction work on the Shetland development has ground to a halt despite operators insisting the project is “on track”, and that it hopes to carry out rocket launches in coming months.

They said: “SaxaVord continues to have excellent dialogue with the authorities and is fully expecting to receiving its spaceport licence very soon from the Civil Aviation Authority.

“We are looking forward to hosting vertical rocket launches in the coming months.”

The spokesman also insisted the spaceport no longer had links with Mike Haston or any of his companies.

One of the main investors in the project, Wild Ventures Ltd, which is owned by Danish billionaire and Highlands landowner Anders Holch Povlsen, said it is “as content as ever” with progress at the spaceport.

See: Original Article