As finance probe into John Dance – former owner of Newcastle’s glitzy The Loft – continues, his horses have been getting sold, and that’s not the only development…

Some might be inclined to say this is a peculiarly British response to the situation – but right now, it seems the only way to garner sympathy amidst an ongoing probe into former The Lofts owner John Dance is to be one of his horses. Which sounds absurd, at first – but it turns out there’s slightly more to this than meets the eye.

As Ears To The House first reported last month, Newcastle’s glitzy The Lofts was launched in 2021 to a blaze of publicity. The dance music press were typically gushing – whilst asking no questions about why anyone thought opening a nightclub after a tough 15 months for the industry was a good idea.

However, the club was closed after a finance probe was started by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The club was owned by John Dance, who owns several different businesses – he was arrested by police in early April and questioned over allegations of fraud, money laundering, and regulatory breaches.

Dance is also known to own numerous horses – and concerns have been raised about their future. Initial court orders prevented them from taking part in any races – but after long discussions between the FCA and the British Horseracing authority, this has been somewhat eased.

But the kicker? Any funds raised by any wins from the horses will be frozen – with Dance only allowed to claim a modest amount in reasonable expenses. And four of his horses were sold during the week, raising £136,000 in the process.

In addition, Business Live ran a report recently quoting a document which revealed more details about how The Lofts was founded. In a nutshell, owners Dead Vibey Limited received a £7million loan from another one of Dance’s companies – and that Dead Vibey was effectively being subsidised in the process…

“The company was initially funded by a loan of circa £7m from Collingwood Wealth LLP, which is another business venture of John Dance’s. Significant investment was made into renovating the company’s leasehold premises, including a considerable spend on market leading audio-visual equipment. Trading losses were incurred on a weekly basis while the directors sought to establish the business.”

Nightclubs making little to no money in their early days isn’t an unusual thing, in itself – but that financial support was withdrawn after Dance found himself and his network of companies under investigation by the FCA. Quite how long The Lofts would have taken to turn a profit will now never be known…

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