ADMINISTRATORS say they have been named liquidators of a string of Darwen companies linked to a property empire which collapsed owing investors more than £30million.

Investors in the former Harewood Associates, run by Peter and David Kiely, had been told they might only be able to recoup seven pence in the pound on their savings.

But partners at Begbies Traynor, which has been involved in the liquidation since last summer, say they are “making progress” in closing in on where the funds disappeared to.

The firm has also been appointed liquidators for Southworth Construction, Monmouth Regent Capital, Sherwood Homes, Harewood Venture Capital (HVC) and Ramsay Investment.

Sherwood and HVC have each been registered to offices in Dalton Court, Darwen, off Commercial Road, at one time.

The Lancashire Telegraph has previously reported that the companies owed Harewood Associates £19.2million and £16.7million respectively.

Paul Stanley, a regional managing partner for Begbies, said: “We are making good progress to uncover what exactly happened to more than £32m of investors’ money.

“Our team has uncovered a web of companies linked to Harewood where funds were transferred both directly or via solicitors’ accounts.

“We demanded repayment and petitioned the court to have some of the companies wound up.

“In order to allow transparency across the companies, we have been appointed as liquidators over these companies as well by the Secretary of State, following a very sensible and practical approach by the Official Receiver’s offices in Manchester and Lytham.

“These new appointments will give us legal access to bank accounts where money was moved through and over 200 solicitors’ files which were handled for the companies.

“Our team is also assisting Government departments, who are now addressing deep concerns expressed to us from investors over the conduct of the directors.”

Mr Stanley has said previously administrators expected to recover at least £2.8million from another Kiely Darwen firm, Lansdowne Investment Partnership.