ZX Vega+ News

(Unauthorised and Unofficial)

Vega+ Shipping Dates

  • End of September 2016
  • October 2016
  • In time for Xmas 2016
  • February 2017
  • A "few weeks" from March 10th 2017
  • Summer 2017
  • 8 weeks from August 9th (October 4th, 2017)
  • Mid October 2017

Q2 2017

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Sunday 2nd April, 2017

The Daily Mail publishes an article called Clive Sinclair, 76, ditches lap dancer wife 36 years his junior - and rekindles his romance with his 69-year-old former secretary.

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Monday 3rd April, 2017

The number of comments visible on the campaign varies wildly depending on the device you are using. As of 6:35pm today 3rd April 2017, the Indiegogo phone app shows 8180 comments, while the website comments section shows 7261 - a difference of 919. Where have the missing 919 comments gone?

8180 comments on the Indiegogo phone app

7261 comments on the Indiegogo comments webpage
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Friday 7th April, 2017

After multiple attempts, Lee Fogarty eventually manages to release a 20 second video showing the Vega+ being turned on (click the link to download it) and a static photo.

Vega+ on Lee's carpet

The video is extremely low resolution, and after pressing the power button, it takes approximately 10 seconds to boot to the Retro Computers logo, then another 8 seconds to bring up the first menu. Due to the low resolution, the menu text can not be made out, but Lee says this is a deliberate ploy to prevent the games list being exposed.

Cannot show the games list

Several people post on Indiegogo and point out that the video has only been uploaded to the sycophant "democracy" group where a couple of hundred people can view it, rather than a proper update for the 4770 backers. Lee replies:

@alasdaircat - no it’s not the same thing, and I haven’t published any data. I posted a video. And I did check what can & can’t be posted, which is common knowledge anyway - no video of the games list. But you’re probably right, so no more videos from me.

Should 3rd parties be sharing videos?
Lee also posts the dimensions in the same "democracy" Facebook group. The unofficial dimensions mentioned in that group so far are:
  • 160 x 78 x 22mm (estimated by Mat Recardo and confirmed as correct by Suzanne Martin on 18/04/2017)
  • 153 x 74 x 21mm (estimated by Mat Recardo, Suzanne confirmed as incorrect on 18/04/2017)
  • 155 x 75 x 20mm (measured by Lee Fogarty today 07/04/2017, almost identical to Mat's supposedly incorrect guess)
  • 160 x 80 x 20mm (according to Suzanne Martin today 07/04/2017)

Various measurements

George releases a response video to today's boot-up video called The Vega+ - Can people just get refunds now?

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Saturday 8th April, 2017

At the Dizzy 30th Anniversary celebration, Lee Fogarty turns up with some of the prototype Vega+ units. In a live video recording of the event, it shows Lee interrupting the Oliver Twins just as they are about to begin:

Lee interrupting the Oliver Twins with a bag at Dizzy's 30th event

At one stage one of the units is left unattended, and Will Woodvine and Ant Harper take photos and a video of it. Will Woodvine posts the following review in the Spectrum for Everyone Facebook group:

Will plays with a Vega+

Disclosure: I backed the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign but requested and received a refund over the Christmas period. I asked for a refund due to what I perceive to be the appalling lack of information provided to backers.

The opinion below is my own and is not influenced by inducement or coercion by any parties. It is written as a fan of the ZX Spectrum. I attended the Dizzy event with no knowledge that the Vega+ would be present, so was unprepared.

Like any true retro-gaming fan I spent today, the sunniest and warmest of the year, in a darkened room with no windows looking at computer games. The event was the Dizzy 30th anniversary in Nottingham. This took the form of a presentation by the Oliver Twins which covered their early years, mentioned the ZX81 (huzzah!) and gave me a greater insight in to the Dizzy world.

At the start of the presentation a gentleman (who I think was Lee Fogarty) came down to the front and handed one of the Twins a white box. Inside was a Vega+. This was shown to the crowd, causing a slight stirring, and then placed on the podium. At the end presentation the Vega+ was left unattended so I took the opportunity to grab it and have a close look. At no time was there any interference from anyone or any attempt made to stop me from using it or Ant Harper, Simon Williams or Simon Osborne from using, photographing or videoing the device.

I believe the device to be the pre-production device that has been seen previously.

Physical: The device feels good in the hands, fitting well - I have medium sized hands. Stuart Williams has a photo of the Vega+ lying on a rubber-key ZX Spectrum also pics of the intefaces on the top.. I gave the unit a torsional twist and the unit did not flex, which reinforced the positive feel of the device. The screen is bright and clear, easily read by someone who normally needs glasses to read and wasn’t reading them. The buttons were an issue being unresponsive - you have to press them precisely for them to react. This maybe the “switch re-design” referred to by RCL. Simon Osborne has reported that he used a corrected production unit and the buttons were much more responsive. The spectrum flash is a sticker (peeling now) and the Sinclair logo feels raised on the clear plastic covering the screen and lower-middle section. My personal opinion is that these would look better and be harder wearing if they were under the clear plastic. The video showing me using the Vega+ does show me pressing keys with no response - this is down to the unresponsiveness issue mentioned above and also not knowing what key does what during game selection, start and play.

Use: The Vega+ was turned on when I picked it up. By accessing the menu, it can be switched off. Doing so caused slight concern as I could not figure how to turn it on (no user manual was present) - I also feared being cited by RCL as cause for further delays by breaking the working pre-prod unit. The unit turned on by pressing a key on the front (possibly two) which caused the boot sequence seen in the video. This was repeated several times through use of the reset key (top left of the unit). Several games were tried - Alien Destroyer, Hall of the Things, Jetpac and The Boggit. All loaded fine and played except The Boggit - is seemed stuck in a tape loading loop. There appeared to be many no-name games on there, plenty known and some randoms such as a Driving Test thing? It does feel very similar to fuse, as you would expect, albeit with custom menus suited to the Vega+

Opinion - I was impressed, although it was obviously a pre-production unit. For me, the buttons need sorting and to make it a truly superb product, the Sinclair logo and Spectrum flash need to be rethought to be robust.

I’ve no idea why/who/when the Vega+ is released, I’m just a bloke who was in the right place at the right time. Apologies for the grammar/spellings, I banged this out quickly.

It speaks volumes for the contempt RCL seems to have for their backers that a completely independent person is able to record and upload a video of one of the prototype Vega+ units booting up, navigating the games menu, selecting a game and playing it. Backers have been asking for this for more than 6 months, and someone recording it on their phone can upload it within a few hours!

Darren Melbourne's request that RCL remove the game Hades Nebula from the Vega+ was posted in a news update on the RCL website on November 2nd 2016, yet the video footage from the Dizzy 30th event shows the games list and Hades Nebula is still present.

Hades Nebula still on the Vega+

In the Spectrum4Ever Facebook group, Suzanne Martin confirms that the Vega+ is not yet in production when she uses the future tense "it will" for her response.

Chris: Is it a prototype Jarrod or does it work?
Suzanne Martin: It works :)
Paul: It's probably one of the working prototypes - looks bigger than I thought as well, hope it goes into production
Suzanne Martin: It will....

Hope it goes into production. It will....
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Sunday 9th April, 2017

The Daily Mail uploads a follow up article called The desperately frail millionaire, his jealous ex and a VERY unladlylike war that left Sir Clive Sinclair's pole-dancer wife pole-axed.

A video showing Crystal Kingdom Dizzy game played off the SD card on one of the pre-production Vega+ consoles is uploaded, and re-posted on YouTube. The video is called A quick play with the ZX Vega plus.

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Monday 10th April, 2017

Lee Fogarty argues with various people on the Indiegogo comments section when they ask what is going on, and why is he all over social media gloating about "his" Vega+. Lee claims that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units and that Suzanne Martin was at the event:

Lee Fogarty
Someones a bit sweary this morning! It was well known that launch party attendees were getting the pre-production units. Several of those members were handed units at the weekend and have been extensively testing them since. They were also shown to other backers that happened to be at the event, some of which have reported on them. And they are sending feedback too. BTW - Suzanne was also at the event with the coloured units.

And of the c**** that received theirs on Saturday, you have two veteran developers that played some older titles, one veteran/current developer that play a hell of a lot of spectrum games, probably the most prolific spectrum developer that is still writing now, a blogger that knows the spectrum inside out, and the owner of World of Spectrum. On display for anyone to use unrestricted were the version with the button issue and the version that was fixed. Some got to photograph the coloured units.The coloured units were played with. There were several bloggers there that had unrestricted access to the units and left to do or write whatever they want. There was a lot of smiling people by then end.

Suzanne was at the Dizzy 30th event

When asked for evidence that Suzanne Martin was there, Lee avoids answering the question. There seems to be no evidence that anyone from RCL other than spokesman Lee Fogarty was there:

rratcliffe
@Lee Fogarty - Any chance of posting a photo of Suzanne there with a ZX Vega+ on Saturday? You know, to show the appreciation of your generous backers and to show them that they still matter?

Lee Fogarty
@Federico - no - there was the Dizzy 30th event on Saturday and several of the original launch party backers were there, so they got the promised pre-production units. The rest are being posted. In the meantime, they have played the hell out of them and sent reports to RCL - and some to me for comments - and kindly handed their units to anyone that wanted to see them on the day. There was an ex indiegogo backer there that has posted videos and an unbiased review online.

Proof Suzanne was at the Dizzy 30th event please

It seems awfully strange that if Suzanne Martin was at the event, why did she not hand out the Vega+ pre-production models to the Oliver Twins? Why would RCL delegate this particular task to an RCL spokesman that claims he doesn't work for the company? Moments after this, Lee disappears and non-backer James Waller appears (right on schedule) to start his daily ritual of defending and supporting RCL.

I asked the Oliver Twins if Suzanne Martin was at the event. Their reply confirms they did not see her, only Lee Fogarty:

"I heard she was planning on being there... but it was so busy and so many people I (Philip) didn't personally see or talk to her. Lee obviously was there."

Oliver Twins did not see Suzanne Martin at the Dizzy 30th event
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Tuesday 11th April, 2017

RCL had targetted today as the day to have gotten through all their emails and processed all refunds. Suzanne Martin said the following on Tuesday 28th March, 2017:

"We posted earlier today about several of our email accounts being spammed - We are working through them and estimate this will take up to 14 days. For those saying we should just delete those messages - that isn't an option."

RCL have ignored all communication channels, so there are no updates and no refunds as promised.

Two generous backers that have had repeated refund requests ignored post comments on Indiegogo to say that they will donate their entire pledge to charity:

Graham Kenny
@Rcl Hello there. Isn’t it a lovely day…isn’t it?! The Sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Why the only thing that could make this day any better would be getting a refund. Think about it, it's a great idea, you know it, I know it, James Waller definitely knows it... its all gravy baby! And... wait for it... if you refund me I’ll even donate the money to Great Ormonde Street Hospital! I cant be any fairer than that. My order ID is 6010.

Tony Ball
@RCL – I have requested on many occasions that I want refund. I see Graham has made a generous offer of donating his refund and, as this is not about the money for myself, I shall too offer to donate my £105 to charity. In my case I would donate it to Guide Dogs for the Blind and I am happy to provide proof of such donation once refund has been confirmed. My order ID is 2109 – please contact me to arrange.

Offer to donate pledges to charity

Richard Ratcliffe asks Indiegogo to confirm who is responsible for deleting comments on the Indiegogo campaigns. Brian from Indiegogo replies:

"Campaigners are solely responsible for managing the comments on their campaigns."

Who is responsible for deleting comments

The accounts for RCL are now more than a month overdue (having already been granted a 3 month extension in December), so they now fall into the £375 fine category.

Penalties for late filing
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Wednesday 12th April, 2017

The store on the RCL website was re-activated today, and the Vega+ is now available for pre-order for £129.99. Strangely enough, the shop claims that it is currently "in stock" and the units will be shipped in Summer 2017. Summer in the UK is considered the 3 month period from June to August, so they will probably intend to ship on August 31st, 2017:

Vega+ shipping in summer 2017

Rather worringly, the battery specification has yet to be finalised, so presumably RCL have not even ordered the batteries for the 4770 units that David Levy had said were going to ship "in a few weeks" more than a month ago on the 10th of March, 2017:

Battery specification not finalised

The "Store Dummies" payment option from shop earlier in the year has been removed, and the only payment option is now PayPal. The previous iteration of the store had a £5 shipping charge, but this has been reduced to 1p.

The form to buy a Vega+ does not perform basic email address validation, so a completely bogus value like "a" will be accepted. All the address fields can also be bypassed with a single character. Even more concerning is when purchasing in bulk, the total doesn't make sense - the total is always £130 (including shipping) no matter how many Vega+s you order. If you order more than 13,000 in a single transaction, they will cost less than 1 pence per unit. Perhaps Lee has studied some alternative mathematics course that I'm not aware of:

Unconventional maths in the store

Many people had wondered why Preston Thomas and his wife Tamara (both non-backers of the Vega+) were so vocally supportive of RCL in spite of the shambles the campaign has been, and in a thread on the new Spectrum35 Facebook group it suddenly became clear why. While Preston and George were having a heated discussion about a possible charity boxing match at the Spectrum 35th event, Preston admitted that he was going to be a tester for the Vega+. The vital part of the conversation was:

Preston Thomas: you spread lies about me getting a vega +
Preston Thomas: i was going to be a tester but it never happend
George Cropper: so, Preston, tell us some more about this vega+ testing unit you were going to be getting ?

After George called him out on the Vega+ testing unit, Preston suddenly stopped replying. Preston sent Lee Fogarty and Jim Bagley private messages during the conversation, and accidentally posted these on the screen dumps he uploaded. After posting links to the rival The64 campaign, he tried to warn Lee and wrote:

Preston Thomas to Lee Fogarty:
why is george and ian in your group ?
lee this is really kicking off

Why is George and Ian in your group? Lee this is really kicking off

About 15 minutes later, the entire thread was deleted, but not before it was captured:

Ppreston was going to test a Vega+ unit

Reporter Gareth Corfield tweets to say that David Levy's email address is now bouncing. I'm no Nostradamus, but one can assume that if Gareth is contacting RCL, another article will be published in the Register over the next few days and therefore RCL will be scrambling to put out another nano-update to the backers or at least answer a few questions on the Indiegogo campaign.

Later in the day, Lee Fogarty realises his broken store on the RCL website gives the impression that it must be "amateur hour". Rather than fix the calculation, Lee takes the store down. The store has now been put online, then subsequently taken down twice in the last couple of months. Third time's a charm perhaps?

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Thursday 13th April, 2017

For the third time, the store is put online. The shipping charge has increased from 1p up to £5, but the usual lack of attention to detail is evident. There are 2 spelling mistakes on the buttons, and you would think a world class developer would easily be able to alter the total in the shopping cart with javascript without having to press the Update Cart button. You can type a single character into all the boxes and it happily accepts it.

Store spelling mistakes

Lee Fogarty must fancy himself as a betting man, as he uses the "bob each way" methodology. If you write something down enough times, eventually one of them must be spelt correctly:

Order cancelled

Would you really trust your personal details to a company that can't even spell the most basic words correctly?

Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register titled ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions. The article suggests a £20,000 donation was received, but sales suggest more was due. An excerpt from the article:

Tens of thousands of pounds destined for Great Ormond Street Hospital from ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Limited appears not to have been paid.

Retro Computers Limited (RCL) had promised to pay 10 per cent from proceeds of sales of its Vega console to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, England, under the terms of its licensing agreement with the owners of games bundled with the machine.

RCL did pay £20,000 to GOSH on sales of an initial 4,000 units but proceeds from the apparent sale of a remaining 6,500 devices were not made to the charity.

“I can confirm that we received donations totaling £20,000 from Retro Computers Ltd between March 2015 – October 2016,” a GOSH spokeswoman told El Reg. She confirmed no more donations were received after October 2016.

This information from the GOSH spokeswoman refutes the claims of David Levy and solicitors Teacher Stern sent in emails on the 19th of October 2016.

As I correctly predicted yesterday, David Levy has broken weeks of radio silence and issued a typical response on the RCL website claiming the information on which The Register article is based is out of date.

Someone at RCL has been busy deleting comments on their Facebook page relating to the story.

A new website address post is added to the RCL Facebook page, pointing towards their store page.

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Friday 14th April, 2017

A "shop launch offer" is added to the RCL website, offering a Vega and Vega+ for £199.99. The teaser text only mentions the Vega and "this item will ship in 3-5 days", and it's only when you follow the read more link and scroll down that you see that it's still the same old pre-order as before - with the Vega+ shipping "Summer 2017". One hopes that RCL mean the UK summer and not New Zealand summer (which would mean shipping December 2017).

Shop launch offer
The more cynical readers of this blog may see this as a desperate cash grab to get enough money to produce the Vega+ consoles, and it is no doubt a wiser investment to hold off until the console is actually produced before parting with your hard earned cash. For anyone wishing to invest with this company, I would advise you to try and contact them before purchasing and see how open their communication channels are, otherwise you may end up with a single £199.99 Vega console for your troubles.

On the comments section of Gareth Corfield's latest article, someone posts that 8-year old Amelia Russell Green (a cancer sufferer) was promised one of the developer units, but has literally died waiting for it to arrive. Instead Lee Fogarty used one of those prototype units to gatecrash the Oliver Twins Dizzy's birthday event. A snippet from the post:

I'm even more disappointed that we were promised 1 of the 5 developer units to aid a girl with cancer, we still haven't received it over 6 months later and it only supposedly needed a button changing. She's fkin dead now so that worked out splendid.

Sick of the mud slinging

The Retro Hour release podcast number 66, which features the Vega+. Host Ravi attended the Dizzy 30th event and had a play on one of the prototype Vega+ units. The Vega+ section starts at 14:44 in the podcast. A few points from the podcast:

  • Ravi confirms that nobody from RCL was at the event. This is the complete opposite to what Lee Fogarty said, as Lee claimed that "Suzanne Martin was at the event" in a post on Monday 10th April. (Ravi must be under the impression that RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty is not an actual employee).
  • Ravi was instructed not to take photos of the games list because it was confidential.
  • The device he tried out was definitely a prototype unit, and featured unresponsive buttons.
  • There were 4 or 5 Vega+ prototypes at the event.

Meanwhile on the "democracy" group, one-time RCL advocate Dave Barron posted a question for Suzanne Martin, asking for a truthful update of the product. (Dave had been skating on thin ice the day before when he posted a comment suggesting "RCL will fall by the wayside"). The moderators swooped in to prevent any further commenting on the thread, so Dave started another thread simply saying "Refund please". A moderator wrote "Bye bye Dave", deleted both threads and banned Dave from the group. There is no screenshot of the final act unfortunately as my browser refreshed the page as I was about to grab it - you have to be very quick in that group as posts vanish faster than a David Copperfield magic show. Kim Jong-Un would have been proud to witness this style of democracy in action! :)

Dave Barron skating on thin ice
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Saturday 15th April, 2017

More bugs found in PHP developer Lee Fogarty's RCL store. It is currently impossible to remove any products from the shopping cart with the trashcan icon. Step 1: Add some stuff to your shopping cart:

Shopping cart with 3 different products

Step 2: Press the trashcan icon beside each row so that your shopping cart "appears" to be empty:

Shopping cart appears to be empty

Step 3: Press the Update cart button. Note that all the products are still in it. So the Update Cart button is broken, but perhaps the Go to Checkout button works. If you press that, you end up on the final checkout screen:

Shopping cart still full
But once again, all the products are still in the cart. Does anyone at RCL test anything? Children found button issues in November, nobody noticed the packaging designs used a watermarked image, three user features were found to be missing in March, and the third version of the store still contains bugs!

Despite RCL having well over 100 refund requests outstanding, owing Paul Andrews over £80,000 (as part of the court settlement) and having failed to pay funds owed to Great Ormond Street Hospital, RCL apparently have funds available to setup Facebook advertising campaigns to presell consoles:

RCL are now paying for Facebook ads
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Sunday 16th April, 2017

Newspaper article reports that Lady Sinclair has been gagged by court leaving her unable to fight claims that she abused her frail billionaire ex-husband Sir Clive Sinclair.

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Monday 17th April, 2017

A question sent to Indiegogo asking about the campaign received a generic reply, but at the bottom of the response it shows Paul Andrews as the campaign owner.

Paul Andrews name restored as campaign owner

Paul Andrews has contacted Indiegogo multiple times to have his name removed, and back on February 3rd the name shown was Suzanne Martin. For some reason, Suzanne Martin keeps restoring Paul Andrew's name as the campaign owner.

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Tuesday 18th April, 2017

The accounts for four companies run by the RCL directors (Retro Computers Ltd, Erotic Chatbots Ltd, Intelligent Toys Ltd, Private Planet Ltd) have accounts overdue and fines, and several will be struck off (and all assets returned to the crown) if they are not submitted soon:

Overdue accounts for Retro Computers Ltd
Overdue accounts for Erotic Chatbots Ltd
Overdue accounts for Intelligent Toys Ltd
Overdue accounts for Private Planet Ltd
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Wednesday 19th April, 2017

Gareth Corfield releases an article Game authors demand missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties on The Register. The article states that many games rights holders (including Mark Cale/System 3) have had their software used without permission, they have not received any royalty statements to prove charity donations were handed over, and there are a string of broken promises by Suzanne Martin to supply documentation. David Levy (director of RCL) continues to blame the former director Paul Andrews, who left the company more than a year ago! RCL also continue to insist they never refuse a refund request - another obvious lie.

All too predictably after media coverage, Lee Fogarty publishes a statement by David Levy claiming the article is another fake "news story", blames Paul Andrews for any problems with the rights to games, and that the former directors are trying to damage "a great project":

We are aware that a number of known associates of the former Managing Director Paul Andrews and his business partner Darren Melbourne have been in touch with another fake "news story". Yet again, The Register is simply being used by Mr Andrews and Mr Melbourne in another attempt to damage a great project.

Lee Fogarty also claims (with absolutely no evidence to back up his claims) that Paul Andrews, Chris Smith and Darren Melbourne have been modifying documents and posting them online:

Would you work with Andrews/Melbourne/Smith knowing a disagreement leads to emails, accounts, etc being modified and posted online? Also, why didn't Gareth name the other developer? Everyone knows its Mel Croucher (currently raised £936 on Indiegogo with Andrews)

Lee Fogarty claims former directors are modifying documents and posting online

Lee Fogarty's post states that Mel Croucher was the other developer and has also pulled his games from the Vega+. Lee has failed to mention how a lowly website operator knows all this insider information.

In response to David Levy, Paul Andrews wrote the following:

Dear Mr Levy,
Thank you for your statement today on the website that you seem to forget is the company website that myself and Chris own half of. In response to your statement full of misinformation and nonsense, don't worry tomorrow when it's all to hand tomorrow, I will post a nice selection of your emails for the world to see, just to help them understand how you must have forgotten you sent them, and what's in them.
For example, the one when you replied to Mark Cale saying YOU had sent him the letters to his house but he never replied for instance. The many many emails about how you acquired the Rare games from Microsoft. The ones about you setting up the deals for the Spanish games, I could go on and on, and tomorrow I will of course, but you get the idea.
Then we can move onto the ones about how you wrote the games contracts, you know the one which was used for all the games, the one with the digital watermark with your name and computer software details, you know word register to mind sports ltd, that one. Then we can move onto how in that contract you wrote, it got a bit mixed up, and net and gross income got muddled which made our lives so much harder. Then in that same thread your suggestion which I rejected on how to alter things, that's tomorrow.
Then the emails about how you confirmed your agreement for Cornerstone to sell and collect money, from the various retailers, all those ones.
So don't worry you might have forgotten all those, but I can jog your memory tomorrow on those matters.
Based on your continuous misinformation, under these circumstances I will take legal advice tomorrow also if it's appropriate to publish the bank statements we have of the period after we resigned.
Please stop pretending the company did not have income prior and after we left from sales of the original Vega, and stop implying that money is missing (during the time we were involved with RCL) when the only money in question is the £50k odd in dispute with Cornerstone, which was held back due to an IP issue.
Once more as we all know myself and Chris resigned before £513k of backers money for the Vega Plus was given to RCL, before other original Vega sales money was given to RCL from Cinram (as per the bank statements) and the £250k or more worth of original stock was 'moved'.
Regards
PS can you please submit the company accounts, and supply us with the full audited versions we legally requested from you.

Developer John Pickford also posts the following, confirming David Levy was the point of contact he dealt with regarding the games rights:

For what it's worth when the original Vega was announced I contacted RCL via their website requesting that none of my work was included. I got email response from David Levy asking for a list of games to make sure they weren't included.

I think that confirms he was involved in signing up the games.

John Pickford confirms David Levy was handling games rights
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Thursday 20th April, 2017

Paul Shirley (author of Spindizzy and Confuzion) confirms that he was never asked about donating his royalties:

Paul Shirley's games used without permission
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Friday 21st April, 2017

In a bid to assist the large number of people contacting me about being refused refunds by RCL, a cut-down version of this blog has been created. The cut-down version shows all the missed deadlines and the link can be forwarded to financial institutions to assist with section 75 style chargeback requests.

RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads regarding legal action against Nick Cooper. If that wasn't alarming enough, RCL are deleting all negative comments on the post (click the link and notice it says "view X more comments" but when you click, very few will appear as they have all been deleted):

RCL sponsored facebook ad legal action against Nick Cooper
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Saturday 22nd April, 2017

RCL are now wasting money sponsoring Facebook ads that include "alternative facts" about Paul Andrews and also deleting comments on the Facebook post:

Sponsored facebook ad lying about Paul Andrews
John Pickford has already confirmed that David Levy (and not Paul Andrews) was his point of contact when he refused allowing his games onto the Vega on Wednesday 19th of April:

John Pickford confirms David Levy was handling rights

For those of you that don't know what Paul Andrews looks like, here is shown here on the left at the original ZX Vega launch party along with an SMS director and a PR consultant. You can view more photos from the launch party on this Flickr page, along with a statement regarding the video/photos taken at the event (where cameras were in plain sight, and nobody declined to be filmed). Thanks to Paul for releasing these photos from the event into the public domain.

Paul Andrews and SMS director and PR consultant

A backer that has been trying to obtain a refund confirms that David Levy's email is still completely full:

David Levy's email account is still full
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Sunday 23rd April, 2017

The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has finally been launched. In a single day it has reached more than 80% of its funding goal of £250,000, and the console should be delivered in January 2018. This is a testament to the honest people behind the campaign, a complete contrast to the current Vega+ directors.

Presumably in response to the Next being launched, RCL are sponsoring ads that direct people to their store. Perhaps they have finally worked out that sponsored ads for legal disputes don't bring in the large volume of sales they need to manufacture the device?

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Monday 24th April, 2017

The ZX Spectrum Next kickstarter campaign has hit it's target of £250,000 on its second day!

Meanwhile over in the Vega+ camp, 4 refunds seem to have been processed. The campaign has dropped by 4 to 4766 backers, and the total amount raised has dropped to £512,145. If you're wondering if you are one of the lucky 4, the names that have been marked as refunded are nathan41, Stefan Andersson, eusebioas and Martin Mackay.

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Tuesday 25th April, 2017

The old domain retro-computers.co.uk is no longer forwarding visitors to the current RCL site. A message greets visitors saying:

This Account Has Been Suspended
To reactivate your account please contact billing on 01202 237027

retro-computers.co.uk account suspended

By examining the WHOIS record for the domain, it shows that RCL have never even bothered to change the registrant's details. It still shows Andrews UK as the registrant and address:

Registrant:
Andrews UK Limited

Registrant type:
UK Limited Company, (Company number: 4047099)

Registrant's address:
Andrews UK Limited
The Hat Factory, 65-67 Bute Street
Luton
Bedfordshire
LU1 2EY
United Kingdom

It is an ICANN requirement that these details must be regularly verified and be accurate. Domain name companies are required by law to send out reminder notices to customers to ensure the data is correct. I quote:

"ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (and/or the associated ccTLD authority), requires that we ask you to review your contact data and make any changes necessary. Under ICANN and ccTLD WHOIS rules and the terms of your registration agreement, PROVIDING FALSE CONTACT INFORMATION CAN BE GROUNDS FOR DOMAIN NAME CANCELLATION."

The Metro newspaper has an article called Celebrate the Sinclair ZX Spectrum’s 35th anniversary with… yet another retro console. The very bottom of the article suggests that the Vega+ will never be released:

The ZX Spectrum Next is scheduled to be released in January 2018, to anyone that backs the Kickstarter for £175 or more. It already looks like the new hardware will do better than the Spectrum Vega+ portable, which now seems as if it will never be released.

Metro article suggests the Vega+ may never be released

There's a small mention of the Vega+ in the latest article by Gareth Corfield on The Register called Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up. The part mentioning the Vega+ is:

RCL was the company behind the ZX Spectrum-branded Vega and Vega+ consoles. The Vega+ has failed to appear, despite repeated promises from RCL over the last year, and game authors who contributed to the original Vega have yet to be paid. The company’s accounts are overdue at Companies House and it is facing questions about money it pledged to Great Ormond Street Hospital that has not been paid.

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Thursday 27th April, 2017

There's not much news to report at the moment, RCL seem to have gone into hiding again. The only action is on the Indiegogo comments section, where there's more and more people demanding a refund. Fall guy and RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty is the only one making comments on the campaign.

PayPal confirms to backers that RCL are refusing refunds:

Multiple people post that Paypal confirms RCL are refusing refunds

In just over 4 weeks, Retro Computers Ltd will receive its first striking off notice if the accounts are not filed by then.

At this time, I would like everyone to stop praying for your Vega+ to be delivered and instead pray for Tamara who informed me that she is stuck in hospital, unable to sleep and on Facebook at midnight. At this stage we don't believe it's anything terminal like a kidney removal. Get well soon Tamara!

Tamara stuck in hospital

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Friday April 28th, 2017

Paul Andrews releases an email chain between David Levy and himself which shows:

  • RCL had received income which was due to GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital).
  • RCL has not paid this income to GOSH, as all that has been paid (as confirmed to the Register by GOSH) is £20,000.
  • RCL in emails to games rights owners directly and also via their first lot of lawyers confirmed 100% that GOSH had been paid money owed to them (both on behalf of games rights owners and other third part IP owners) - this is incorrect.
  • It shows that David Levy was involved in writing the original games contracts, and made it harder to fulfil obligations in terms of running the company and also Levy’s ideas which Paul Andrews would not go along with.
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Saturday April 29th, 2017

A backer posts in the "democracy" group asking for an update. Programmer Jonathan Cauldwell posts that he is contacting rights holders and still finding bugs in the firmware. This suggests any console release is still a long way off:

All I can report is that I'm still contacting rights holders for more games, testing the unit I have and reporting occasional firmware issues to RCL. I know RCL are working flat out to iron out some minor problems but I don't know exactly how close they are at this stage. Be patient, I guess it'll be ready when it's ready

Jonathan Cauldwell contacting rights holders

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Sunday April 30th, 2017

The democratic blog unveiled - read all about the Vega+ project from "the other side". More information also posted in the latest video from George.

The people at RCL clearly do not read (or take notice of) this blog, as they would have been alerted almost a week ago that at least one of their domain names were failing with a "this account has been suspended" message. It appears that two of their domains have expired and been purchased by someone else:

Registered on: 29-Apr-2017
Expiry date: 29-Apr-2018
Last updated: 29-Apr-2017

RCL post update 57 on the Indiegogo campaign claiming a "security breach" has taken place, rather than what appears to have been a simple case of not paying their hosting bills and/or setting up automatic renewal of their domain names. Based on the language used and the fact it occurred in the weekend, I would guess Lee Fogarty wrote this update as he loves mentioning the metropolitan police in his allegations:

Security Breach

We have been made aware that late yesterday afternoon a security breach occurred on a number of domains belonging to Retro Computers Limited. This includes the zxvega.co.uk and retro-computers.co.uk URLs

We do not currently have control of these domains and an unauthorised third party has taken over these accounts. We we are working to recover our property from this person or persons whom we have identified and reported to Action Fraud and the Metropolitan police.

For security reasons please only contact us through the Indiegogo portal and not via emails that contain either URL We will provide a new email address for team members in the very near future.

Do not send any personal details via email and this information may not be secure.

RCL choose to reply to one of the pro-RCL supporters on Indiegogo claiming:

The good thing is they are pretty incompetent because before they made the settings private we obtained all the evidence.

RCL security breach pretty incompetent

So RCL are saying the they have all the evidence of this "security breach", yet on the update they say they are working to recover "their" property from this "person or persons". It sounds like they have their very best forensic digital detective Plod Fogarty on the case, and he has narrowed it down to either "1 person or more than 1 person". The case sounds like it's practically solved!

Since RCL have mentioned ActionFraud, perhaps RCL could share the case number/contact point as I'm sure there's hundreds of backers that would love to give their evidence in this case.

Claiming an "incompetent security breach" is also ironic considering RCL had the domains transferred a year ago, never bothered to update the contact details with real data (which is a legal requirement and was also mentioned on this blog), never setup automatic renewal, never setup a reminder, ignored all "your domain is about to expire" warnings that ISPs send out, and let the hosting package and domain expire. So who is incompetent here? RCL claim they paid for them until 2018, but if that was the case, why was their hosting package cut off sometime on or before Tuesday 25th of March. Let's see the invoice RCL (and while you're at it, your overdue accounts please):

RCL claim they paid until 2018

RCL have also claimed that they paid a 3rd party. Since Lee Fogarty is the "webmaster" for RCL, it sounds to me as if they're throwing him under the bus and blaming him for this latest problem:

RCL paid a 3rd party

Another interesting point is when Paul Andrews transferred the assets to RCL in April 2016, why did David Levy register a brand new domain name retrocomputerslimited.com under his own name until 2018 when RCL already owned the existing two domains? Perhaps when Lee Fogarty failed to restore the website from the backups he thought they needed a new domain name?

The Indiegogo comments section lights up in fury with a large number of people saying they are fed up with the "scam" and demanding refunds. RCL post only 7 replies to more than 150 comments while ignoring every comment regarding a refund. Their entire set of replies for the day consist of:

  • No we have no intention of doing that.
  • Please don't leave potty mouth comments... keep it clean
  • Err no we didn't we paid a third party....
  • The good thing is they are pretty incompetent because before they made the settings private we obtained all the evidence.
  • We did not let them expire we paid for them up to 2018 - but thanks for the feedback
  • That is not what happened
  • You aren't a backer Peeto.

Another backer posts to say he has also been banned from commenting on the website, so has to use the phone app to post.

An interesting Freudian slip from RCL was also posted on the Indiegogo comments page today where their comment reads as if they have no intention of shipping the Vega+:

Paul Martin: please don’t tell me this shall effect the shipping of the vega+!!!
Retro Computers: No we have no intention of doing that.

RCL have no intention of doing that

Meanwhile on the Retro Computers Facebook page, RCL confirm Jonathan Cauldwell's post from yesterday that they do not have the 1,000 games they are insisting on releasing with the console. RCL have not mentioned this in any official Indiegogo update or indicated the current number of games they have currently licenced:

RCL still working on adding new games

A backer asks if there will be any update regarding the project, and is told "Not today I am afraid". RCL only seem to respond when forced to respond due to bad publicity about the project:

Any news on the Vega+

A backer asks for the procedure to obtain a refund. RCL reply "Any request should go through the Indiegogo Portal - using your registered address."

Refund requests through Indiegogo portal

On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty posts his latest theory with absolutely no evidence to back any of it up:

"AndrewsUK invoiced RCL for the domain names until 2018. He didn’t pay the bills so when it went down this week, RCL claimed the domain - rightfully as they had paid in advance, and it was another company asset not handed over. This would have alerted him, so he got Cooper & Cropper to also claim them, then approved their claims. This then shows on the registry as a new purchase."

Lee Fogarty claims AndrewsUK invoiced domain names

How does Lee know about this invoice as merely "the web guy" who doesn't work for RCL? Even if this nonsense was true, it's a moot point because due diligence should have been carried out by RCL when they took over the domains (and clearly wasn't). Perhaps Lee can upload the invoice, or is it like all his other baseless claims that supposedly have to be "cleared" and never seem to get clearance?

In other news, Lee Fogarty leaks a screenshot from a preview article that was only sent to Tamara to pass on to Preston Thomas for his comment. Preston was given just over a week to comment, but chose not to and instead passed the link to Lee Fogarty who released the image. Lee has claimed:

"There is a fake account set up in my name - I've seen several conversations recently I'm supposed to have had."

Lee Fogarty claims fake account

Lee's choice of words is very interesting here. He wrote that "there is a fake account" rather than "I suspect a fake account" - so presumably Lee has some evidence to backup his words and he can show everyone.

From what I can tell, Lee's explanation seems to be that someone has setup a fake Lee Fogarty account (presumably with copies of most/all his details) and then contacted his friends. Lee has posted on Facebook asking for people "he doesn't frequently message" to send him any messages from this fake account. If they didn't notice there were two Lee Fogarty accounts with the same image, would they be bright enough to respond appropriately?

A Facebook search reveals no duplicate Lee Fogarty account with his photo, and surely somebody would have noticed a duplicate by now and alerted him, so Lee's protestations of innocence are about as watertight as a colander.

On the "democracy" group, administrator Jan Saggiori purchases the georgecropper.com domain name and redirects it to the Retro Computers website. He also purchases the bumfungaming.co.uk domain name and brags about redirecting it to an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) website:

Jan Saggiori buys and redirects bumfungaming.co.uk to an LGBT site
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Monday May 1st, 2017

The article detailing the deal between Lee Fogarty and Preston Thomas that involved a Vega+ testing unit in return for facebook admin rights is released.

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Tuesday May 2nd, 2017

Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Forgetful ZX Spectrum reboot firm loses control of its web domains. RCL were offered their chance to comment, but refused. Instead they posted on the RCL Facebook page (and deleted most of the comments) saying "No surprise that we declined to be part of this article. Alas expect another very anti-RCL and biased article."

The post also says "We know any true backer of the Spectrum would prefer updates about the Vega+ release dates (and we'll have some news on that this week)". Another member of the group asked for clarification of the date, but they have been ignored. Their full post was:

I'm sure we are all looking forward to your announcement later this week. I guess we'll get it before the close of business on Friday, is that correct?

Lee Fogarty's memory seems to be failing, as he posts that he has never mentioned George in relation to stealing domains:

"Don't rely too much on anything published over there - you'd be amazed at how many things I am supposed to have said, or people I've spoken to. I was asked tonight if I ever accused George of stealing domains - no I have never mentioned him in that regard. Duncan/George isn't that smart. He can just about use photoshop."

Lee claims he has not accused George of stealing domains

Only 2 days ago Lee posted this on World of Spectrum regarding the domain names: "This would have alerted him, so he got Cooper & Cropper to also claim them, then approved their claims".

Lee mentioning George in relation to the domain names

Lee also claims that Gareth Corfield has been changing his articles after publishing:

"This article appears to have changed since it was first published. Why would Paul Andrews accountants refuse to hand over RCL documents needed to file accounts without a court order? What are they hiding?"

Someone asks him what has been changed and he replies:

"I don't recall seeing the comment about the accountants. I could be wrong and it was there before, but he's edited articles before so it wouldn't surprise me"

Lee is once again wrong, as an online archived copy is identical to the current version.

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Wednesday May 3rd, 2017

Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Former RCL director: It was me who cancelled their domain names. Both Suzanne Martin and David Levy were offered the chance to comment, but both refused.

Paul Andrews posts a series of emails to Nominet (the UK based domain registry company) showing that on Friday April 28th he contacted them about having his name removed from the domains. Nominet replied saying he had the ability to cancel the domain names, and Nominet later reply to say the domains are set for cancellation. Paul Andrews states that RCL (via their lawyers) have not been responding for weeks.

Another series of email screenshots are also shown that show that RCL were well aware of the domain names being transferred to them back in April 2016 and it beggars belief that RCL never updated the domains with their own details in the following year. Lee Fogarty posts yet another lie:

"Stating he spoke to nominet who said the only way to change the details was to transfer to Cooper is total bull."

A member calls Lee up on this "total bull". Paul Andrews never posted anything of the sort. Lee responds with:

"He did. Several times. He stated the websites were showing in his name and nominet told him if RCL wouldn't change it then he had to do what he did. RCL had no control over them whatsoever."

Lee lies about domain transfers

An open invitation is offered to Lee Fogarty and Jan Saggiori to join the discussion, but both decline. Lee posts the following in response (talking about Paul Andrews):

"yeah that won't happen. I've had his lies, threats, bullshit for a year. I might visit him in jail though with a Vega+ bar of soap."

Open invite for Lee and Jan to join

Thursday May 4th, 2017

In reply to a backer asking about refund requests, RCL have posted saying that the original target was completely unrealistic and once again are blaming the former directors:

The original target was a completely unrealistic "finger in the air" figure set by the previous management. There was no formal budget or bill of materials produced before the campaign was started. Even on the basis that RCL had purchased, owned and already paid for a number of assets that should have been used to create the Vega+ , these assets were subsequently withheld by Paul Andrews and Chris Smith, even after Mr Smith was paid a significant sum following his resignation - this figure is under budget. As a consequence we had to commission and create the Vega+ from scratch paying for a number items twice and causing the delay you are now well aware of. We have issued a refunds to a number of backers - we have also had a significant number of people change there minds and in particular following the recent hijack.

RCL now saying the original target was completely unrealistic

RCL can't even seem to get the figure correct, as the original goal was £100k not £150k as they have stated! Questions relating to ignored refunds and whether the funds have been ringfenced have been ignored or deleted. The following question regarding the "Arrow certification" is also posed and as yet has no response:

When the original goal of £100k was launched the project had Arrow certification. From my understanding, getting Arrow certification requires a bill of materials. But you are claiming this was never done? It can't be both ways. Are you now saying you didn't have a bill of materials and the Arrow certification was fraudulent?

Please confirm ringfenced funds

If you look at the original thread link, you can see the numbers do not add up, and someone even mentioned this in the post:

Ignored refund requests, what time on Friday, deleted comments

It would seem "RCL can be really excited" about getting investigated for fraud now that they've admitted everything they said about being "on schedule" and "in production" was a lie. The spokesperson for RCL that claimed to have seen the Vega+ units in production in April 2016 should also hang his head in shame.

Another concerned member of the public that has been seeking a refund has rung Action Fraud and reported the following:

"Based on the latest information and after talking to Action Fraud, the best course of action now is for backers to contact Citizens Advice and lodge individual complaints as they are unaware of the scale of the issue. I've spoken to them, and they outlined a number of courses of action they can take and are passing all complaints to Trading Standards who in turn will investigate if enough people call in and raise this issue. 0345 numbers are free from most mobiles I believe..."

Citizens advice number 03454 04 05 06

Paul Andrews releases a huge set of emails that detail more of the falling out with David Levy. The email trail shows funds were tight and to complete the Vega+ for the backers, PR should be dispensed with. David Levy threw his toys out of the cot, insisted Suzanne Martin stay on.

The other comedy nuggets from today involve quotes from David Levy to the former directors where he claimed what a great job Suzanne Martin was doing and would do moving forward. (I have corrected a couple of spelling mistakes in the email):

As you say, Suzanne has done a superb job for us and the result is all the money we have raised on Indiegogo. We absolutely need to have good PR services going forward, and Suzanne will be far less expensive, and almost certainly much much better, than anyone else we could have handling our PR.
Furthermore, under the shareholders' agreement we cannot dismiss any staff earning more than £10,000 per year without the agreement of three of us, and I certainly do not agree to do so.
David

And a follow up (in relation to dispensing with PR services until RCL could afford to do so) also sings her praises:

Paul,
I am definitely not in agreement with your proposal re Suzanne, for various reasons.
We absolutely do need continuing PR services to maintain our profile. That is most definitely in the best interest of the company.
And it is ludicrous and highly disloyal of you to suggest, immediately after Suzanne led our campaign to raise more than £350,000, and having also been very successful with her work on the first campaign, that we should dismiss her. I don't think you understand the importance of PR. We should be paying a good PR person before we take any money ourselves. Having someone as good as Suzanne in our team, at a fraction of the normal day rate for someone with her capabilities, is a must.

RCL's communication, PR and technology skills since Paul Andrews and Chris Smith left can be summed up beautifully in the following video that was uploaded to the public discussion facebook group in March. I take no credit for creating it:

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Friday 5th May, 2017

Paul Andrews releases a series of emails detailing the initial falling out between himself, David Levy and Suzanne. It goes back 8 years and relates to a vapourware idea for a game.

Lee Fogarty continues to post lies on World of Spectrum forums. Lee repeats his claim that the previous accountants are holding back documents preventing RCL from handing in their accounts. Lee says:

Instead of quoting the trolls, why not ask them how RCL are supposed to do that when crucial documents needed are in the hands of the previous accountants appointed by Andrews, and have refused to hand them over without a court order?

Evidence in the form of several documents sent to both Paul Andrews and David Levy from the previous accountants state that they never started any work on the accounts during that period, and Lee seems has been caught out lying yet again:

Dear Paul, we cannot continue as accountants

Dear David, we cannot continue as accountants

Earlier in the week, RCL claimed they would update backers this week. If you assume a Monday to Friday week, that means there should be an update sometime today. I'll just leave this image here (from 2 and a half months ago) in the meantime as it seems to be history repeating itself:

Shipping after February 20

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Saturday 6th May, 2017

The prediction from yesterday that RCL would not provide the update they promised came true. A poll on the public facebook group about whether RCL would post the update had the most popular vote as "no update provided".

After losing the domain names a week or so ago, it would have made sense for RCL to put their contact details on documents. A backer proves they are happy to leave the details incorrect, when an Indiegogo comment says:

Further reply from indiegogo stating that they see RCL are not communicating sufficiently with backers & that they will contact them. They’ve also encouraged me to do the same & given me direct contact details. Judging from alot of comments here I shouldn’t hold my breath!

One hour later, a follow-up response is posted:

Oh my naievety – indiegogo state Paul Andrews is responsible for the campaign & the website they provide is the codetappers blog. This whole thing is a bloody mess & for the umpteemth time just tell us how to get a refund!

Indiegogo state campaign owner and website
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Sunday 7th May, 2017

On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty claims that the devices that he and Jonathan Cauldwell have are the final units:

No final hardware shown by end of May?
No final hardware show by end of June?

As we both have a Vega+, I crossed the first two off for you. Not that timelines are decided by anyone other than RCL...

Lee Fogarty and Jonathan Cauldwell have the final units

Less than 2 hours later, Lee changes his story - they are no longer the final units. Lee writes:

"what we have are the final pre-production units; There is one component different from the production units that we knew about at the time."

Lee Fogarty correction - final pre-production units

Long-time Spectrum game developer Jonathan Cauldwell (one of the people that received one of the Vega+ prototypes) announces the following on World of Spectrum in the Vega+ thread (on page 29):

What can I say? If this product does not come to pass I shall walk away from the scene and will not return.

Jonathan Cauldwell announces he will quit the scene
When another forum member asks him why he is being so dramatic, he replies (on page 30 of the same thread):

The damage has been done by the enemies of RCL.

Monday 8th May, 2017

After missing their "delivery update" deadline the previous week, RCL issues a brief update followed by a second containing four old photos from the Dizzy 30th event weeks ago. Although the update contains sections for games, the roll of honour and delivery, the update itself is a puff-piece, with several spelling mistakes and no concrete details about anything. The entire update as originally posted:

Brief Update….

GAMES: We are powering forward with old, new and replacement games – as well as finalising the boring but very necessary paperwork. It’s been time consuming but we promise you’ll all reap the rewards of your patience.

ROLL OF HONOUR: The Roll of Honour email is coming at you this week Please log into your account to confirm all of your details are up to date as we cannot be responsible for wrong ones. And if you have chosen a ‘rude’ name, or you no longer go by a name previously chosen, give this some thought as once it is locked it is locked, and it’s very difficult to change.
If you have more than one pledge, or you purchsed a bundle, you can have a different name for each Vega+ you have chosen.

DIZZY: A few weeks ago the Vega+ team went to Nottingham to celebrate 30 years of something very special called Dizzy. Back in 1987, Philip and Andrew Oliver unleashed Dizzy upon the world, a lovable egg that would go on to become one of Europe's most popular videogame characters. After thirty years, millions of sales, and countless number one selling games later, the Oliver Twins teamed up with the National Videogame Arcade to hatch plans (you see what we did there ) for a special new exhibition and aseries of events to celebrate the 30th anniversary.
Whilst at Dizzy’s celebration, we gave Vega+ consoles to some world-class games developers we’d arranged to meet, as well as to some of the launch party backers who also attended our own Vega+ launch and factory visit in Beeston last October. Feedback was consistently overwhelming - and we have no doubts at all that you’ll be more than happy when your Vega+ (finally) arrives.

DELIVERY: The red hot question on everybody’s lips (and fingertips). We’re working towards a new delivery date. For everyone upset that we’ve been unable to give a concrete date yet, we’ve been holding off as we don’t want to do is give you a date which might move again. And we cannot give a release date that can be sabotaged by those very, very, very busy third parties no longer attached to the project Just stay tuned here and please keep the faith. We all want the same end game; you get your Vega+ and we all win.

We are sorry we didn’t update you last week as planned – we will do our best to update more regularly from now on.

Basically, the number of games remains unknown, the roll of honour email was supposed to have been sent out months ago but now will be coming out this week, the Dizzy games are owned by Codemasters so are extremely unlikely to be on the Vega+, and RCL are working towards a new delivery date.

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Tuesday 9th May, 2017

RCL release update #60 on the Indiegogo campaign regarding how to update the shipping address.

Ex-Crash magazine journalist Gary Liddon tries to match up reference numbers to a press release and Lee Fogarty contacts him on Facebook messenger. Gary informs Lee that it would be fair of him to assume the conversation would be shared online. There was no objection from Lee, and a long conversation began.

Lee uses the term "we" rather than RCL when chatting to Gary. At the start of the chat, Lee says "We also won't be giving any crime reference numbers for obvious reasons!"

Lee also says "Sales of the Vega didn't stop" to which Gary replied "the royalties and charity contributions did".

When discussing production of the Vega, Lee states that it is coming out in summer and "there will likely be little left from the backers money, but shop sales are huge":

Lee Fogarty says there is likely little left from backers money

In the same conversation, Lee also states "I have never pasted anyones conversations anywhere".

Six hours later on the World of Spectrum forums, Gary Liddon (gazaxian) is banned and a member asks if that is because of his strong views on the Vega+. Lee Fogarty replies "No. It's a private matter and not up for discussion."

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Wednesday 10th May, 2017

On the World of Spectrum forums, a member asks if the procedures regarding banning members (Gary Liddon yesterday) were followed by the moderators. The moderators reply that procedures were correctly followed, and a follow up message is posted. The message was edited by the original author 3 minutes after being posted, and remained 29 minutes later:

Gazaxian post 29 mins after editing

But 34 minutes after the original post, one of the moderators alters the original post, adding the line "The WoS mods are mindless wankers".

Gazaxian post 34 mins after editing

Because the last edit timestamp has not changed, it seems that the only way to alter the comment would be to open the database, locate the record and insert the extra line into the post. There are very few people that would have access to the World of Spectrum database so one of the 4 moderators must have altered the post.

The original author has stated "It's my WoS account, so I know exactly what I wrote, and I certainly didn't write "The WoS mods are mindless wankers"; I have more class than that."

Based on this extra abusive line being inserted, the member is banned. Hours later, a tweet regarding the ban appears, including screenshots of before and after:

When asked to confirm what is going on, Lee Fogarty claims "Looks like codetapper has been busy on photoshop again." (For the record, I would like to clarify that I have done no such thing).

Another member backs up the original tweet by stating "No, I saw that happen as I was reading at the time. One of you deliberately edited that guy's post to insert that slur, then banned him."

Lee claims Codetapper photoshopping

Lee Fogarty then goes on to blame Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne for various things:

Andrews sabotaged the websites owned by Clive & RCL. The previous devs hired by RCL struggled to recover the site - after it was mailed on DVD rather than just zipped up - so after a few days I offered to help. 4hrs later the site was recovered onto the new domain.

On the same day, Darren Melbourne started defacing the WoS page on wikipedia, stating it's a commercial venture, and contacting devs. He has also contacted the hosts directly - they stated it was clearly a witch hunt. Andrews then went on to tell anyone and everyone that I am an employee of RCL. Then he took me to court with fabricated evidence and lost - so he's bitter about that too.

That's about it really. The rest is just noise.

I didn't take a side - I offered to help RCL with their website. Andrews decided it was a war.

Meanwhile on the public discussion Facebook group, Paul Andrews removes what RCL states is their most problematic barrier to sending out Vega+ to backers:

Just for the record RCL keep claiming that they have to supply the Vega Plus with 1000 games or I will kick off in some manner or bring them to task.

Let me publicly say, while I will take them to task for everything else, (non payment of gosh, rights owners and so on), but IF they state right now production will start right away, (and prove it) so backers get the consoles ASAP, it's the one thing I will not take them to task for!

So what's the excuse now Martin/Levy/Janko/other non employees?

Paul Andrews will not take RCL to task about 1000 games
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Thursday 11th May, 2017

Lee Fogarty closes the Vega+ thread on World of Spectrum, effectively banning all talk of the Vega+ on the site. A new message at the top of the forum is also added, stating:

"Due to the increase in fake accounts using VPN in order to disrupt the forums, we have installed software to alert us when users post via VPN. If you are a new user or have less than 25 posts you will be banned immediately."

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Friday 12th May, 2017

The roll of honour email that was supposed to be sent to backers this week fails to arrive. On Monday 8th May, an RCL update stated "The Roll of Honour email is coming at you this week".

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Tuesday 16th May, 2017

Suzanne Martin attempts to send Nick Cooper a PDF file via Facebook messenger. Suzanne claims she can see Nick has opened it, while Nick claims the PDF is corrupt and states that any files must be sent to him via solicitors.

Suzanne sends Nick corrupt PDF file

Given the recent ransomware outbreak that has affected hundreds of thousands of computers over the weekend (including the NHS), sending documents via Facebook Messenger would not seem to be a reliable way ensure the recipient has received the file. It begs the question why is RCL trying to send legal documents via social media instead of via the court or lawyers?

A poll on the public discussion facebook group "Do you think the Vega+ will come out" currently has the votes at 129 (no) to 25 (yes).

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Wednesday 17th May, 2017

Paul Andrews receives a default costs certificate (order) for £52,520.12 to be paid by Retro Computers Ltd within 14 days. Paul posts the following message on his Facebook page:

Today we received a default costs certificate (order) for £52,520.12 in the matter of the injunction (we had no choice but to bring) against Retro Computers Ltd, and its three directors David Levy, Suzanne Martin, and Janko Mrsic-Flogel, for the unlawful attempt to remove our shares. As you may recall this action (which could have been one simple hearing or acceptance by RCL) was actually dragged out (not on our part) over four High Court hearings, with three separate High Court judges and one High Court master coming to this verdict in our favour, back in February 2017.

In simple terms, this default certificate was issued to us today on the basis that RCL and its lawyers had not raised any points of dispute, as per the certificate wording.

For clarity these are our costs which they are, if you like ‘refunding’, and are separate to their own costs which we were told is in the region of £98,000 as well for them to pay.

This sum is due of £52,520.12 to be paid to us within the 14 day period mentioned in the certificate.

For obvious reasons I cannot comment on many specifics of this matter other than the obvious self-explanatory images attached.

This document is now public record at the High Court’s hence why we can show you it.

20170517_default_costs_certificate_1.jpg 20170517_default_costs_certificate_2.jpg 20170517_default_costs_certificate_3.jpg 20170517_default_costs_certificate_4.jpg
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Thursday 18th May, 2017

Gareth Corfield publishes an article in The Register called ZX Spectrum reboot firm slapped with £52k court costs repayment order. Highlights from the article:

  • Troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has been ordered to repay two of its shareholders’ £52,000 legal fees by the end of this month. The costs order was made by the Senior Courts Cost Office on Tuesday (16th). It relates to an injunction that former RCL directors Paul Andrews and Chris Smith took out last year preventing the current directors from stripping them of their shares in the company. Andrews and Smith jointly hold 50 per cent of the company's shares.
  • RCL itself, its chairman David Levy, managing director Suzanne Martin and fellow director Janko Mrsic-Flogel must pay Andrews and Smith - £52,520.12 by 30 May. Levy, Martin and Mrsic-Flogel are jointly liable for the debt. Sir Clive Sinclair’s firm Sinclair Research Ltd, which is also on the RCL board, has not been named in the costs order. If the named four parties fail to pay, the order warns, “your goods may be removed and sold or other enforcement proceedings may be taken against you.”
  • RCL has not filed its accounts for the last financial year, though the filing for financial year 2014/15 revealed debts of £9,700 and assets of £131,000. Since those accounts were filed the company has absorbed £513,000 in crowdfunded cash for its ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld console, which is now more than a year overdue.
  • Levy and Martin said they were unable to supply a statement by the time of publication.

A backer visits Hamleys in Regent St and notices several of the original ZX Vega consoles for sale in the basement. If the store has made any sales of the units, GOSH (Great Ormond St Hospital) and games rights holders should have received payments for them.

Vega on sale in the basement of Hamleys in Regent St

George releases a video called Vega+ hit by court costs demand that features a burning potato!

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Friday 19th May, 2017

With a number of people recently having success issuing section-75 chargebacks against RCL over failure to deliver the Vega+ or process refunds, I would like to re-post this information here. There are close to 150 people that have requested a refund on the Indiegogo comments page, let alone the many others that have only tried via email. Here are the suggestions from a successful ex-backer:

  • You need to specify the latest delivery date when requesting a chargeback as it works on a 120 day window.
  • You may also need to supply additional details to support your claim and I'd suggest using the following word for word: http://codetapper.com/zxvega/refunds/

On the World of Spectrum forums, Lee Fogarty re-announces an old competition that no longer mentions the Vega+ as a prize. The original competition entry from 2016 was:

<@fogartylee> We will be looking for a game inspired by a prominent developer that I'm not announcing until new year. They will be judging the entries. Teams of up to 5 can work on the game, and the winning team will win a vega each. Clearly we need to exclude professional developers :)

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Saturday 20th May, 2017

Vega+ backers are horrified to learn that various plants/shills have been capturing comments made in facebook groups and passing them to RCL to use in court proceedings against various parties.

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Monday 22nd May, 2017

A conversation worthy of a "mic drop" comes to light after a backer is contacted by Lee Fogarty on May 5th. Lee began posting propoganda, and when pushed for answers, Lee blocked him. Highlights from Lee's mic drop moment (and please let me re-iterate here, all of this stuff is directly from Lee Fogarty):

  • Suzanne has to plan quiet days for updates because it results in thousands of emails.
  • Refund requests are difficult because they result in multiple emails, people are putting them in every hour or so, and Lee claims many change their minds after asking for a refund and no longer want the refund.
  • Reporter Gareth Corfield is now ringing almost daily.
  • The Vega+ is going out in a few weeks to the backers.
  • Lee doubts there's much money left as they paid off Andrews debts and put the rest into manufacturing.
  • Lee guarantees RCL will be squeaky clean when it goes to court. They have no fake accounts, no hidden group, not posted edited emails etc.
  • Every update has been ripped apart, every date sabotaged, so no dates will be given now until there is nothing that could be done to sabotage the date.
  • RCL can prove in court they own The64.
  • By the 24th of May, everybody will know when they're getting their Vega+. He offers a slight hint that the date on the website is for pre-orders, and that all backers will have theirs by then.

Lee Fogarty explains why refund requests are refused

Lee Fogarty claims RCL own rival project The64 and knows when Vega+s coming out

If anything, this seems to prove that RCL are refusing/ignoring refunds as Lee has stated that Suzanne Martin is receiving them hourly. A sensible approach would surely be to process the refund requests as they come in, so that you don't have to deal with up to 100 further emails from the same person. If one or two people change their mind but have already been refunded, then that person can re-purchase the Vega+ when it hits retail or from the store.

On the new game competition thread on World of Spectrum, Lee Fogarty amends his original post by adding the following section to include Vega+ prizes:

We have had confirmation of the prizes and can confirm that all winning team members in each category will win a *very* limited edition WoS branded Vega+ each.

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Tuesday 23rd May, 2017

Lee Fogarty tweets a tick tock image on Twitter, as tomorrow (Wednesday 24th of May) is the date he has predicted would be Nick Cooper's last day of freedom before going to prison. Lee has tweeted numerous times stating that Nick Cooper has stolen money while Paul Andrews was in charge, along with various posts on facebook groups. Here is a selection of from Lee Fogarty:

Michael Barnes: Is the man who Lee Fogarty says stole the money in here then Lee?
Lee Fogarty: Nick Cooper? No

Lee Fogarty says Nick Cooper stole money

Lee claims Nick Cooper stole money tweets
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Wednesday 24th May, 2017

Gareth Corfield attends the 1 hour court hearing involving RCL vs Cornerstone releases another article on The Register Costs v sales agent? Not just yet, judge tells Retro Computers Ltd. Highlights from the article:

  • ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Ltd has had its attempt to force former sales agent Nick Cooper to hand over extra information in the ongoing court battle between the two postponed today by the London County Court.
  • RCL had applied for a court order that would have forced Cooper to answer a series of questions designed to make him disclose extra information the company believes he holds about the firm he used to be MD of, Cornerstone Media International. It would also have forced him to identify the sources of payments he passed along to former RCL director Paul Andrews’ company, Andrews UK Ltd.
  • Andrews and fellow former RCL director Chris Smith had written to RCL’s legal team explaining that the monies under dispute at this hearing were for sales of goods unrelated to RCL. A copy of the letter was handed to Judge Lightman this afternoon by Cooper.
  • The letter also said that Paul Andrews’ name and contact details had been wrongly added to the RCL website and to the company’s Indiegogo (crowdfunding site) page, and made various allegations about police involvement.
  • The next hearing in RCL v Cornerstone will take place later this year, when the issue of costs will be considered. Last week a £52,000 costs order was awarded against RCL and three of its four directors in unrelated litigation between Andrews and the firm.

Intelligent Toys has been struck off the companies register, which is yet another business failure that includes three of the current directors of RCL (David Levy, Janko Mrsic-Flogel and Sir Clive Sinclair).

David Levy was notable by his absence at the Artificial Intelligence: Living and Working in an AI world conference in London, where he was scheduled to give a talk (followed by brief questions) at 3:40pm about sex with robots.

Lee Fogarty's claim (made on the 5th of May and uploaded to the public discussion group on the 22nd of May) that backers would know when they would be getting their Vega+ by today comes to nothing.

RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty has upgraded his personal "Vega+ anxiety meter" from "It's definitely coming out, the trolls will all have egg on their faces" to "All of the signs we are getting as testers are yes it's happening":

Lee downgrades to all signs are yes

Lee Fogarty also confirms that along with everybody else, he has not received his honour roll email that was supposed to have been sent out by Friday May 12th:

Lee Fogarty did not get the honour roll email either
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Thursday 25th May, 2017

A backer posts on Indiegogo stating that there is no registered birth for "Suzanne Louise Martin" taking place in June 1967 (as shown on the Companies Register). I have seen a screenshot of the document, but there is no point putting it online as she is not on it. Nor have I been able to find any articles written by her, despite Suzanne claiming to have been a journalist for 20 years. (Any member of the public can pay about 3 pounds and access this birth information if they wish to confirm she is not there for themselves).

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Saturday 27th May, 2017

Thanks to a comment left on this blog, a link to a registered birth for "Suzanne Louise Martin" has been found in the September 1967 database. The author of the comment points out that the birth may have been in late June or registered late, hence why it falls into the September quarter.

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Wednesday 31st May, 2017

RCL fails/refuses to pay Paul Andrews the sum of £52,520.12 that was due to be paid to him within 14 days as mentioned in the default costs certificate shown on Wednesday the 17th of May.

Some unusual changes have been noticed on the total funds shown on the Indiegogo campaign. The total amount increases today by £110 to £512,350 and the backers has gone up by 1 to 4768. Stefan Andersson's name is now back on the backers list, after being shown as refunded a few weeks ago. Six days ago, another increase of £105 was noticed and the name Rosemary Turner appeared on the backers list.

Whistleblower and pariah Jan Saggiori has changed the status of the "democracy" facebook group from public to closed.

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Friday 2nd June, 2017

RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty's company Creative Spectrum is now showing accounts overdue on companies house. He now faces a fine of at least £150 for not filing his accounts on time. It is rather amusing that the fine is £50 more than the total shareholders funds for the company. Then again, Creative Spectrum has a bizarre history of terminating the two directors and then re-adding them. It seems to be a common occurrence that everyone still convinced the Vega+ is coming out has a fine from companies house for failure to file their accounts on time.

Accounts overdue for Creative Spectrum
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Sunday 4th June, 2017

Veteran ZX Spectrum programmer Jonathan Cauldwell (who has been working with RCL to acquire rights to games and report bugs with his prototype unit) calls the hundreds/thousands of angry backers a hate mob. Jonathan posts the following message regarding the vapourware Vega+:

The Vega+ hate mob has certainly poisoned the scene. Given the events of late May I would have hoped to have seen the last of this but we've at least shown that the scene is resilient. There's really only one side to be on and it isn't with George Haw-Haw and those who have been trying to stop backers getting their mitts on a fantastic product.

Jonathan Cauldwell refers to the Vega+ hate mob

Jonathan has also blocked several people that have been vocal about RCL's inability to deliver the product:

Jonathan Cauldwell blocking people

On the World of Spectrum forums, Jonathan Cauldwell has previously posted that he would quit the ZX Spectrum scene if the Vega+ fails to materialise.

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Tuesday 6th June, 2017

The number of games that have been pulled from the Vega+ (due to failure to pay rights holders and charity payments) is now more than 500! This means the Vega+ has less than half the number of games that it needs for release.

Lee Fogarty attempts a sympathy stunt by taking down the site World of Spectrum, pretending that Paul Andrews and Darren Melbourne have been bombarding his host (FastHosts) with copyright infringement notices. Unfortunately for Lee, his stunt unravels within a few hours and the truth is exposed.

Lee Fogarty claims World of Spectrum is being bombarded

Lee begins the day by setting up a CGI script in his CPanel interface saying that the account has been suspended:

Account Suspended
This Account has been suspended.
Contact your hosting provider for more information.

World of Spectrum suspended

A little while later, Lee alters the message:

Back Soon!
This Account has been temporarily suspended due to a large number of complaints.
Legal teams are viewing the complaints and working through them. We expect this to take over 24hrs. In the meantime, join us on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/groups/WorldOfSpectrum.org/

Lee Fogarty takes World of Spectrum down

Several people begin to smell a rat, as Lee Fogarty's server hosts about a dozen websites, and it is clear that the account has not been suspended because only World of Spectrum and The Tip Shop websites have been affected. The Tip Shop in particular is a site listing cheats and pokes for Spectrum games, and was jointly created by Nick Humphries, an individual Lee has been feuding with for a long time.

The tip shop suspended

Another individual contacts FastHosts asking about the takedown, and FastHosts reply saying that it was nothing to do with them, and it was all done by the server administrator (Lee Fogarty). Lee's sympathy stunt has been exposed and he rushes into damage control.

Several people ask Lee to backup his claims with evidence, and Lee posts an 8 month old complaint notice that has already been discussed on the World of Spectrum forums. The original complaint did not contain any information about who submitted it, mentions only worldofspectrum.org and tzxvault.org (not the tip shop), and the re-uploaded image still contains nothing to tie the complaint to Paul Andrews or Darren Melbourne.

Lee Fogarty supposed evidence that is an 8 month old complaint

All posts asking for evidence are ignored, and Lee begins his usual trick of asking about rival product The64 instead.

Lee then begins a large scale banning operation for people asking questions or being in rival facebook groups. In a rather ironic twist, a number of people that tried to follow the link to the facebook group found out that they had been banned from joining it.

Lee continues to spread misinformation in private messages when he writes "What are you going to do WHEN Andrews & co are jailed?"

Lee Fogarty says what are you going to do WHEN Andrews & co are jailed?
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Thursday 8th June, 2017

Lee Fogarty panics and has deleted various posts in the ZX Spectrum Vega+ thread on World of Spectrum. The most obvious post that has been deleted is the one from Sunday 27th of April 2016 where Lee Fogarty backed up Rich Chandler by saying that the Vega+ was in production:

Lee Fogarty says that the Vega+ is in production

If you search World of Spectrum for Vega (and navigate to the 23rd page of results) you can still find the post there.

Lee has also blocked the entire thread from being viewed by the public, unless you are already a member of World of Spectrum. However, a majority of the posts from that thread are available on the site archive.is so you don't need to sign up to read the posts that have not been deleted.

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Friday 9th June, 2017

Paul Andrews posts an update to the public discussion facebook group detailing the truth regarding the World of Spectrum site going down. Paul Andrews writes:

I reported the site – www.retrocomputerslimited.com as you all know for fraud and defamation.
The company using the servers of Fasthosts is - Creative Spectrum Ltd (run by Mr Fogarty, and whose company accounts are also overdue like those of the people whose site he hosts (RCL) and is causing him via payment to carry out the defamation and fraud in my name).
Fasthosts have confirmed that “our client still disputed your claims of defamation so has decided to remove the site from our network”.
Which to my mind seems to contradict itself, "no there is nothing wrong but I will move it anyway"?
Fasthosts confirmed that is has moved to another company, as above, so obviously we have started the same process this morning with that new server hosting company. As you would expect we will do this over and over again, till this matter is bought to a legal conclusion and we will update both Action Fraud and the other police departments of this development also.

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Monday 12th June, 2017

RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty has been caught creating duplicate/shill accounts, presumably in an effort to backup some of his earlier lies about fake accounts. If you search for Lee Fogarty, there are now two accounts that appear:

Facebook search now shows two Lee Fogarty profiles

Lee's stupidity is on display for everyone that views the profile, because he has added himself as a friend on the duplicate/fake account. Several months earlier, Lee claimed that a fake account was setup to contact all his friends, then post private messages to them so they could be screengrabbed. This account (without a profile photo and only 2 friends) would only fool the most brain-dead of people:

Facebook profile lee.fogarty.5 shows Lee Fogarty as a friend

Lee's alter-ego has also been exposed on twitter, with with a fake twitter account. The twitter account fogartylee2 is clearly Lee himself, and was created in July of 2016, just as RCL's problems were being exposed. It is possible Lee forgot to logout of the duplicate account before posting replies to people. He was probably using this account to snoop on profiles that he has blocked:

Twitter account fogartylee2

Lee Fogarty confirms on the World of Spectrum forums that Mark Cale/System 3 has complained about his games being available on World of Spectrum. Lee Fogarty claims that a DMCA complaint was filed (rather than direct contact) and all System 3 games have now been removed from the World of Spectrum archive. Lee's post in full (and an archived version):

Last week, with the other complaints, there was one that needed further investigation as it appeared to be from Mark Cale regarding system3 titles. I have removed these titles on his request (via a DMCA notice rather than direct contact).

The thread also contains information about an old post where Lee Fogarty was offering to sell DVDs of pirated software (taken from the World of Spectrum archives) for £30 a pop.

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Tuesday 13th June, 2017

Paul Andrews sent RCL requests for fully audited accounts (as he is entitled to do as a shareholder owning 25% of the company) and RCL have ignored his requests. David Levy/RCL has instead supplied micro accounts for the period ending 30/03/2016 to Companies House 3 months late, incurring fines. The accounts are an absolute joke, with only 6 lines of figures showing capital and reserves of £54,822, then 2 pages of David Levy's usual "blame everyone else" rant for the accounts being late.

RCL micro accounts for period ending 30/03/2016
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Wednesday 14th June, 2017

Lee Fogarty's host FastHosts have told him that he has to remove the entire "news" page from the RCL website due to the defamation or be shut down. In a typically half-arsed effort, Lee Fogarty removes the link from the front page, but the news articles themselves remain. FastHosts have been contacted about this failure to remove the "news" properly.

Backer Steve Thornton posts the following comments on the Indiegogo campaign regarding the Arrow certification:

I, like most, backed this campaign as it seemed a dead cert! They had previously successfully delivered the original Vega to backers, Sir Clive was backing the project, it had Arrow certification, the Vega+ was all ready to go, and they just needed our help to MANUFACTURE the product, not support their gambling addiction in Court! When Arrow certification was mysteriously removed from the campaign page, I emailed Arrow in March 2017 asking why certification had been removed,

the guy I spoke to said: "ever since I have forwarded your original email, I have seen a ton of communication on the topic, learned about the recent BBC news regarding the Vega+, but no solid information that would shed light on this whole thing. Not sure what to tell you, but we are unable to reach this campaigner. I think somewhere along the way a decision was made to remove the certified badge from their campaign’s site. This is pretty much all I got… sorry couldn’t be of much more help."

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Thursday 15th June, 2017

Gareth Corfield publishes an article on The Register called Months late, unaudited: ZX Spectrum reboot firm files accounts. The article asks "Which bit is the half-million pounds of other people's money?"

RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty was ordered to remove the defamation pieces from the news section of the RCL website, and he has done so. You can still view the archived defamation articles that have been preserved.

The "democracy" facebook group continues to delete posts and ban members that ask for updates or news about the Vega+.

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Friday 16th June, 2017

Paul Andrews releases the following statement:

With regards to the court hearing yesterday in the matter of the costs awarded to us by the judge back in February 2017 for the original injunction, after the failed unlawful attempt to remove our shares by RCL, Levy, Martin and Mrsic-Flogel.

We served our bill of costs on RCL, who failed to put their counter points of dispute to us within the required legal time frame. On that basis the courts awarded us a default costs certificate.

RCL obviously resisted this court ruling, and applied for two separate further hearings in this matter. This was eventually reduced to one hearing, which was yesterday. While it's not appropriate to comment in detail on the overall hearing yesterday, it was clear that whilst we presented the simple matter of us following the rules, and wishing to be paid our costs, as one might expect RCL argued that the matter was more complex than this. As only half hour only had been allocated to this simple hearing, and while we believed it was a simple case, the High Court Master, due to the complexity being put to him by one side, decided on the following rulings (in layman’s terms):

That the default cost certificate given to us by the high court be set aside, and the cost procedure clock for our costs be effectively reset. Further that neither side would be awarded costs for the hearing yesterday. Our costs were in the region of an extra £12k just for the events leading to yesterday, apparently the RCL costs are double ours. We will of course have to pay this now unrecoverable cost from our own pockets, we assume and hope (probably in vain) that RCL will do the same to their unrecoverable cost, and they will not use backer funds.

Now that the time clock on the costings is now reset (RCL has still not even served any bill of costs for the very limited costs awarded to them and their clock has yet to start running), and based on a rough estimate, it would seem unlikely that costs (originally awarded in the High Court injunction back in Feb 2017) mostly in our favour will be decided upon now till late July or early August 2017. While this is disappointing for obvious reasons, we are happy to abide by the law, and hope that at least in this interim period RCL will be able to deliver the Vega Plus to backers (and people placing orders via their web site) before Summer 2017. Clearly they will be using the ring fenced backers funds confirmed by Ms Martin in 2016 (she confirmed that no backer funds had/would be used for legal proceedings).

We also wish to address the matter of the recently submitted RCL accounts by David Levy which can be viewed via the Companies House website, which we consider misinformation. All relevant paperwork was physically and digitally given to RCL upon our resignation in April 2016, the former accountants also ‘gave for a second time’ that same information to RCL upon them requesting it again during 2016. The misinformation about accountants ‘refusing to hand over without a court order’, relates only to the accountants’ own internal documents and emails being requested by RCL to be given to them, and which were unrelated to RCL, and once again this is misinformation.

While we currently do not feel it appropriate to publish the full bank statements in our possession covering the weeks after we left RCL, on the basis of the misinformation, once again we feel it is appropriate now, and in the public interest for us to summarise and highlight the figures we have. These facts are:
The estimated value of the stock held in original Vega consoles at that point was in the region of £160,000, this being the build cost, as opposed to RRP.
On the 9th of April 2016 (the day after we resigned from RCL), the directors of SMS contacted Paul Andrews (fully documented evidence/proof of this is held) and asked him to transfer £300,000 to them immediately towards the debt owed to SMS from the pending Indiegogo Vega Plus funds. On the basis that would be both illegal and immoral, Paul declined this request, let alone at that point the funds had not been physically received by RCL, and both Paul and Chris had no access to the RCL bank accounts after the 8th of April 2016 anyway.

The bank cash balance on the 6th of April 2016 was - £4531.24

Money paid into RCL during the period of the 8th April 2016 till 24th May 2016

12th April 2016 - £9794.22 – Payment from the original Vega distributor
13th April 2016 - £141,769.92 – Payment from Indiegogo direct of Vega Plus funds
4th May 2016 - £4204.70 – Payment from Indiegogo direct of Vega Plus funds
11th May 2016 - £2917.20 - Payment from the original Vega distributor
18th May 2016 - £100,000 – Payment via PayPal of presumed Indiegogo Vega Plus funds
20th May 2016 - £15,056.40 – Repayment to RCL by Teacher Stern of legal payments (we had informed them RCL had no legal right to use RCL / Backer funds for any legal action)

Money taken out of RCL during the period of the 8th April 2016 till 24th May 2016

Assorted smaller bills during the period - £2,509.45
16th May 2016 - £10,000 – David Levy consultancy fee
16th May 2016 - £10,000 – Sir Clive Sinclair consultancy fee
16th May 2016 - £12,000 – Private Planet Ltd
16th May 2016 - £15,056.40 – Payment to Teacher Stern lawyers for legal fees (first months)
18th May 2016 - £1,176.68 – Suzanne Martin invoice
18th May 2016 - £50,000 – Payment to SMS
18th May 2016 – £17,000 - David Levy consultancy fee
20th May 2016 - £50,000 – Payment to SMS
23rd May 2016 - £40,000 – Payment to SMS
24th May 2016 – 15,056.40 - David Levy consultancy fee – (please note this exact figure)

The end cash balance in the RCL bank account on the 24th of May 2016 was - £54,352.49

– we know that two further payments of £10,000 and £15,000 respectively were definitely made to two parties after that point. We know no more than backers of transactions since that point, other than RCL via Suzanne Martin has publically confirmed backers funds are ring fenced, but as you all know RCL has refused to show or tell us (50% owners of the company) anything at all.

We do not wish to speculate or comment further as to the transactions shown in these bank statements as supplied via Suzanne Martin being the account accessor and given to us via Teacher Stern their then lawyers.

At this point in time we are taking the decision to be less public in this matter, as it serves no real purpose for backers, and we want RCL to be able to concentrate on delivering the backers consoles.

Obviously we will be monitoring all situations should they change, and react accordingly, we are not going anywhere, but we do not wish to provide them with any possible excuse for not delivering your consoles in the next few weeks.

If further appropriate information becomes available, and we can supply it to backers we will of course.

We thank everyone who has supported us in this ongoing matter.

Paul Andrews and Chris Smith

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Friday 23rd June, 2017

Gareth Corfield of The Register publishes an article ZX Spectrum reboot firm gets £52k court costs order quashed. Highlights of the article:

  • The £52,000 costs order granted against Retro Computers Ltd has been set aside by the Senior Courts Costs Office, a branch of the High Court, as the wrangle between RCL and two former directors rumbles on.
  • RCL had applied for an extension of time to consider the bill of costs and raise formal points of dispute. The lawyers for RCL used the excuse that "due to commitments on other cases we are involved with, we do not have the capacity to consider the issue of costs and respond by 12 May".
  • The lawyers for Paul Andrews and Chris Smith added that they had heard nothing "until the last-minute request for an extension of time on 9th May" right before the previous scheduled hearing in the case.
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Monday 26th June, 2017

Gareth Corfield of The Register publishes an article Games rights-holders tell ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Pay or we pull titles. Highlights of the article:

  • The owners of the rights to about 200 games to be bundled with the ZX Spectrum Vega+ is withdrawing permission for them to be included with the consoles unless its maker pays royalties for games on a previous device (the original ZX Vega).
  • A representative from games studio Zenobi told The Register that Retro Computers Ltd (RCL), the company at the centre of the ZX Spectrum Vega+ debacle, still hasn’t paid royalties months after El Reg revealed it owes Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital tens of thousands of pounds.
  • "We have not been paid by RCL for our Vega or Vega+ games to date. If they don't pay up within seven days then we will withdraw our titles from the Vega+," the Zenobi spokesman said. We understand Zenobi's agreements cover circa 200 titles intended to be bundled with the Vega+ and that the cutoff date expires this Thursday (29th June).
  • RCL chairman David Levy refused to answer questions asking why the company had not paid for the software, or paid Great Ormond Street. He simply stated, “We are not making any comment to The Register”.

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Tuesday 27th June, 2017

George Cropper releases a YouTube video called Vega+ Games List Decimated and More.

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Wednesday 28th June, 2017

RCL spokesman Lee Fogarty stirs the pot when he posts the following message regarding the Spectrum Next:

"They are going to be well pissed off when they realise I am working on a feature for the Next lol"

It has been revealed that Lee Fogarty is working on an API for the Spectrum Next so that games can be downloaded from the World of Spectrum website. World of Spectrum used to be the number one ZX Spectrum resource on the internet, but since Lee took over, a majority of the features have been broken and distribution rights revoked. Lee has been unable to add anything useful to the site in his 6 years of running it (and as of today, the site is more broken than ever), so it is unlikely he even has the skills to write a simple API.

Concerned backers have asked the Next team for clarification about exactly what Lee Fogarty is involved with, and the Next team have banned all discussion of the matter and issued refunds instead.

Vega+ Status

  • All refunds processed:
  • Roll of honour email:
  • Address confirmation:
  • Battery specification:
  • PEGI certification:
  • Final specs released:
  • Games list released:
  • Finished box design:
  • Manual released:
  • Final devices made: 0
  • Prototypes made: 20-30