EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle’s The Lofts launched to great fanfare two years ago – but has been closed amidst a finance probe… so what on earth is going on?

Two years ago, Ears To The House – under our previous name – covered the launch of a glamorous new nightclub in England’s northeast. The Lofts, based in Newcastle, was going to bring in all the big talent – or so they said – meaning that clubbers wouldn’t have to travel all the way to London to see who they wanted.

It was, however, an odd time to launch a nightclub. At the time, England’s nightclubs had been closed since March 2020, and many were in financial difficulty as a result – yet here was a shiny new venue in Newcastle raring to go. So how’s it going for The Lofts?

Not all that well, it turns out. Ears To The House has learned that the nightclub has been closed and all 79 members of staff have lost their jobs. The reason? It’s because of a probe by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into one of the directors.

Dead Vibey Leisure Limited were the owners of The Lofts and also a nearby pub called The Hustle. The club’s co-founders were Rob Seaman, John Dance, and Marty Smith – but the venue was forced into administration on May 15th. We understand this is because of issues relating to the ongoing investigation by the FCA into John Dance.

Back in April, a company called WealthTek LLP, which Dance owns, was ordered by the FCA to “cease operations while it examined suspected regulatory breaches concerning client money and custody assets”. They also “obtained a worldwide order to freeze assets belonging to Mr Dance up to the value of £40m”.

We understand Dance himself was arrested by Northumbria Police on 4th April and was also interviewed by the FCA themselves at a later date – he is accused of fraud, money laundering, and regulatory breaches. And according to Business Live, administrators who now run WealthTek LLP have found a “potential £81.4million shortfall in client money”.

Amidst the probe, The Lofts has paid the ultimate price – and its future remains a mystery. According to a now-deleted listing on We Sell Any Company, anyone interested in buying Dead Vibey Leisure Limited had until May 31st to declare their interest.

After that, the administrators would make the final call. It’s unclear how many, if any, offers were made…

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