Breathing fire back at the ‘dragon’ – the self-proclaimed King of Due Diligence! – Shaf Rasul
It’s time to address the breathtakingly inaccurate material that Shaf Rasul has been obsessively putting out about me during lockdown on his YouTube channel. As I will demonstrate, he has taken the concept of ‘misinformation’ to a new level. He got one thing right though – he went to the trouble of producing a cartoon caricature of me holding up a ‘fake news’ placard! It perfectly summed up the content of his videos.
I’ve given my side of the story about the unfounded claims made on the Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back programme and about Lord Sugar denying he had ever given me business advice. If you haven’t seen my videos and blogs on those, I suggest you do so before rushing to judgement. Then make your own mind up if I’m a ‘brazen get rich quick scammer’ (love you too, Joe Lycett) or have never received ‘business advice’ from Lord Sugar and only met him for ‘a brief meet and greet.
So who is Shaf Rasul?
I wondered that too and had to google him. He is a business columnist for The Scottish Sun, and a former BBC ‘online’ dragon. He never appeared on the TV Dragons’ Den show.
So it’s no wonder I’d never heard of him, but he sure had heard of me. While I’ve been spending lockdown creating Samuel 365 (an online version of my crash course and advanced training programme), he has spent his making a series (!) of cringeworthy and spurious videos about me.
In a sense I suppose I should find all this attention flattering. However, it somewhat galls me to have to devote time to responding to him. I am reluctant to boost the ratings of any bloggers who I feel are jumping on the ‘hate bandwagon,’ and in doing so, inflating their own modest followings. I have earned my huge social media audience by pushing out material demonstrating my worth and expertise, not through posting a diatribe of poisonous misinformation about a person I’ve never even met.
Shaf Rasul recently described his YouTube channel as ‘buzzing.’ This comes as no surprise to me. As I am a high profile property entrepreneur and founder of the UK’s largest property training school, many people will have been curious as to what’s been said. I know many have watched those videos in disbelief.
I’ve produced nearly 800 free videos to date, giving tips on different property investment strategies. I also continually answer the questions that investors most want answering. Even during this difficult lockdown period, the flow of my YouTube videos has continued unabated.
Since launching my YouTube channel in 2015, I have had more than 13.7 million views. I have shared much of my personal investment journey with viewers, from buying my castle, Ribbesford House in Worcestershire, to developing land and purchasing investment properties.
My YouTube followers have shared the ups and downs with me. Large numbers of my students have also shared their successes on my channel after adopting the techniques I teach.
They engage with my channel because the strategies work for them and they find my advice on point. They continue to watch because they know – and often prove it to themselves – that what I teach has the power to change lives and livelihoods. The success of my students reflects my own and my company’s success.
I’ve gone through Shaf Rasul’s videos in which he makes ever more ridiculous, bold and careless claims. Some of his videos on me have attracted six-figure views but take a look at how those numbers dip when he talks solely about himself, or the sort of numbers he was previously getting for his content.
So why respond now?
It was a tight call. Many people have been asking me why I haven’t responded to him and seemed to think that it was because I haven’t got the ammo to hit back. That was never the case. My original intention was to keep working as normal (well as much as lockdown allows) throughout this witch hunt, and continue to put out free material, tips and opinions that I know my followers appreciate.
Although it sticks in the craw to spend time addressing his comments now, too much false information has been shared by him. He also made a massive drama out of the controversy with Lord Sugar. Incidentally, while I am very sorry that Lord Sugar does not seem to remember the circumstances of our meeting, I will always be grateful for the advice he gave me. It was definitely worth paying nearly £5,000 for as I explain here https://www.property-investors.co.uk/lp/what-samuel-learnt-from-lord-sugar/
The Lord Sugar saga
Rather than waste more time on demolishing those claims again – do me a favour and see my video and blog. I actually feel embarrassed for Shaf that he made such a protracted song and dance about all of this. It was painful watching him delaying his empty punchlines and absolutely revelling in the email he received from Lord Sugar’s office (saying it was just a ‘brief meet and greet’) and from the main man himself (saying he never gave me ‘business advice’). What a waste of people’s time having to produce cartoons and graphics, only to see the whole thrust of what he is saying extinguished at a stroke.
After I posted my side of the story there was an avalanche of positive comments on my YouTube channel from people agreeing this one had been put to bed. I proved I had paid Lord Sugar for business advice, yet Shaf insisted I had still lied about it. He ignored the two central claims he had made in brackets above and tried to turn it into a debate about the meaning of mentoring. Instead of acknowledging that the documents I produced were genuine, and gracefully standing down, his attitude was – I’ve already heard from Lord Sugar and that will do for me. The fact I had responded with concrete proof to back up my claims mattered not. To choose to believe Lord Sugar over me, purely on the basis of his standing, is not exactly reasonable.
It would be bad enough if that was the only thing Shaf Rasul has got wrong about me. Sadly it is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s examine some of the absolute howlers he’s made.
Shaf Rasul constantly presents himself as a stickler for doing ‘due diligence’. That phrase comes up all the time. The following examples of his doing ‘due diligence’ are truly jaw dropping:
Shaf says I’m NOT a millionaire and NOT a tycoon…AND he says I’m NOT even a proper property investor!
In his words a property investor is someone who buys property, not to live in, but with the intention of making money from it. Sorry Shaf, but that’s me
I own properties in various parts of the country and have been involved in hundreds of property deals. I own all but two of the properties in my personal portfolio outright and I explained why in a video on my YouTube channel. As of May 2020, I’m in the process of selling many of these smaller deals to put into larger development projects. I also have multiple other property investments on a joint venture basis which are not in my name.
When Shaf carried out his ‘due diligence’ on my companies, he could only find two charges (mortgages) listed against properties. In fact, all the houses and apartments I bought prior to 2017 were in my own name and have no mortgages against them. That in itself is testimony to my success as an investor. It would not be tax efficient to put them in a company name now
What my property lawyer thinks of Shaf Rasul’s claims
Sam Hawking Property Lawyers has sent this letter in response to Shaf Rasul’s suggestion that I only own a couple of properties:
Dear Mr Rasul,
We are a firm of specialist property lawyers. We act for Mr Samuel Leeds and several of his companies in connection with many of their property transactions.
We have been asked to comment on your suggestion that Mr Leeds and/or his companies only own a couple of properties.
I confirm we have regularly carried out work for Mr Leeds over the last four years. For instance, early this year we dealt with seven auction properties for Mr Leeds and his companies. Then we dealt with a commercial property. In the last couple of weeks we have been instructed in another three property transactions.
Previously we dealt with the purchase of the Castle and other property developments that Mr Leeds is involved with.
Please note that the majority of properties that are owned by Mr Leeds or his companies do not have any charges registered against them.
Please, therefore, refrain from trying to discredit our client by suggesting that our client is a man of straw who only has a couple of properties, which is clearly false.
Mr Sam Hawking
And what about the rest of my assets – including my castle?
There are many other factors that need to be taken into account when considering my success and financial status:
- In addition to the residential portfolio outlined, Samuel Leeds Limited traded 84 properties between October 13, 2016 and August 31, 2017. Another of my companies, Buy Low Rent High, sold 68 properties between October 4, 2017 and August 19, 2019. I am also a consultant and joint shareholder in Better Sourced Limited which was born out of Buy Low Rent High Limited. BLRH has traded 191 properties to date. In total, I have been directly or indirectly involved in 343 property transactions through property deal sourcing.
- My castle, Ribbesford House, has a Gross Development Value (GDP) of £6,350,000. It is to be divided into 16 properties which will be either sold or rented out. My mortgage on the mansion is just £300,000.
Finally in the video above I show screenshots of my bank statements that show tax payments totalling £875,000 being paid by my business to HM Revenue and Customs over the past 18 months alone – not bad for somebody who has been accused of ‘pretending to make a lot of money.’
Shaf Rasul pours scorn on the notion of me being a ‘tycoon’, which he defines as being ‘a powerful, successful or wealthy person in their own field or industry.’ My field is property investing and property training, and I am a multi-millionaire. I am very proud of what I have achieved, especially as I am still only 29 and left school at 16 with just the savings from my paper round. I feel ridiculous even having to answer this one!
But surely Shaf Rasul was right about Samuel Leeds having a poor credit rating?
Nope, his ‘due diligence’ was way off the mark yet again. He points out that a lot of damage to my rating is caused by a County Court Judgement against me. He reveals the CCJ was for £15,082 and says it is for failing to repay money owed.
He emphasises this is a serious matter by saying: ‘No business wants one of these on their credit file. It makes getting credit almost impossible and means other companies would be highly unlikely to do business with you.’
I agree, but I had previously informed him that I had no case to answer which would soon be confirmed. He dismissed this sarcastically, suggesting I don’t know the meaning of ‘soon’ and giving a torturous, long-winded explanation of the word from the dictionary. Here’s the official notification I received very ‘soon’ afterwards confirming that no further action would be taken.
Oh, and look at this credit rating I just got.
Shaf Rasul says there are three ways to check a business. You need to look at the credit score, the credit limit and the number of CCJs. On that basis he implied that I was a man of straw who couldn’t even raise the cash for a pencil!
But what about turnover, valuation and net profit? Those are massive indicators and he hasn’t even considered them. This is basic stuff. And he’s wrong on my credit – the banks ARE giving me money. Credit score can be way off the mark if there is an incorrect CCJ, as there was in my case. Then your methods of checking financial health fail miserably.
A couple of more basic points. You can only see on Companies House how many properties someone owns if each property has a charge (a mortgage) against it. Most of mine don’t. Also most of my properties are not held in a limited company and wouldn’t appear on the search. Again this is not taken into account. It’s the worst example of a due diligence check I’ve ever come across. The fact you say you’re an expert in due diligence, but then draw conclusions that I must only own two properties is frankly staggering and gives a completely false view of my financial position.
Please don’t tell me he’s also got The Telegraph quote wrong too? That would be too much.
On the basis of what he calls more ‘fact checking,’ (at least it makes a change from due diligence) Shaf Rasul asks viewers, ‘do you think The Telegraph said it’s important to differentiate the proper educators such as Samuel Leeds’ company?’
Again, he is so sure of being right we have to go through another protracted song and dance from him: ‘Is it A- Yes, B- not sure, C- no way Jose.’
He says the correct answer is C. Sorry to totally embarrass you on yet another point, Mr Rasul, but the answer is resoundingly A. Take a look at this cutting.
Look, I would never pretend that The Telegraph’s coverage was something we were happy about, but again Shaf Rasul has called me out falsely as a liar.
Yet again his ‘due diligence’ is staggeringly bad. Just think about it. If you accuse someone of making up a quote in a newspaper, would you not think to check it out before pillorying that person in public? This quote was actually from the print version of The Telegraph.
Again, saying publicly that I’ve lied on this point is another serious, but unfounded slur, made on the basis of not just terrible due diligence, but a complete lack of due diligence.
What was the point of Shaf’s embarrassing boxing cartoon?
In another farcical clip, I am portrayed in some sort of cartoon boxing match. It depicts my company’s financial standing being severely beaten by my former student’s fledging window cleaning ‘cum property sourcing’ company.’
Shaf Rasul approached the student involved after he saw him standing up to praise the quality of my training at one of my crash courses in Edinburgh. He then filmed himself persuading the student that I am neither wealthy, nor successful. ‘Do you think he’s rich? he asks the student before smugly showing him ‘evidence’ to suggest the contrary. The final round of the boxing match focuses solely on the number of County Court Judgements both companies have on their records. The new window cleaning firm had none, whereas I had one, but I’ve just explained that one.
Shaf concludes how ‘shocking’ it is that a company which has only been in existence for three months has a better financial standing than my own.
Here’s my take on that: I think it’s shocking that such a lot of effort went into creating a cartoon containing a ludicrous comparison – and ridiculous conclusion. I also find it shocking that so many false allegations have been presented as ‘fact’ and ‘conclusive proof’ in these videos.
If Shaf thinks ‘no money down,’ rent to rent schemes are the territory of Furus (fake gurus) why does he advocate them himself?
Shaf Rasul has been ‘exposing’ my property investment strategies, such as rent to rents and lease option agreements. He says ‘furus’ love to tell wannabes how they can make a fortune in property without putting any money down.
In his King of Financially Free Exposed video, he says: ‘I’ve exposed scams like rent to rents and LOAs.’ This is his damning video on rent2rents. Watch Video
Oh…and this is a video Watch Video he put out in December 2019 entitled How to Make Money on Airbnb without owning property? It positively advocates the rent2rent strategy!!!! He describes the principle clearly: ‘You rent a property to a landlord, list it on Airbnb and the difference is your profit.’
You just couldn’t make it up, could you?
The reality is I have been forced to implement a lot of creative strategies because I’m from a working class background and started off with no money. There was no silver spoon in my mouth or heaps of cash to go and spend on property investments. The same goes for many of my property students. I want to challenge the notion that property investing is purely the domain of the rich.
I left school at 16 and used those strategies to succeed in property. Now I’m teaching them to my students – not scams as Shaf Rasul describes them – but recognised property investment strategies. Property Investors is currently the largest training company of its kind in the UK. That success has been built on the back of our students’ success.
Samuel Leeds in Court!!
That’s the headline on another of Shaf Rasul’s videos. This is what my London lawyers Mishcon de Reya have to say about this: “We have received no correspondence threatening any class action or group litigation against the company.”
According to the Law of Shaf, you’re a Furu (fake guru) if you teach your own subject
That’s right, he says the only money to be made from strategies like rent2rents is from putting on training courses – or else the trainers would be simply doing it themselves.
Using his logic, question marks should be raised against any professional who offers a training course in their own specialism. So, therefore, any photographer who offers a training course must be a rubbish photographer or he would only be taking pictures. Strewth!
I derive immense satisfaction from helping to change the lives of so many of our students. Here are some of them talking specifically about the benefits they’ve had from lease option agreements and rent2rents. Watch Now
According to the Law of Shaf old criminal cases can be dug up to show someone else’s apparent guilt – because ‘history repeats itself’
In another video Shaf sketches out the stories of some fake gurus including a convicted criminal – and infers their methods are the same as mine. He refers to one ‘furu’ as regularly referencing God in his courses and interviews. ‘Remind you of anyone?’ he pointedly asks, leaving no one in any doubt it’s me he is referring to. That’s outrageous. My religion goes way back and has remained a central pillar in my life. I even attended Bible school full time. Here’s a video I made recently with my former church leader Gary Spicer. I can assure Shaf Rasul that he is not an actor. To imply that I use my faith falsely as a way of building trust in me is another horrible slur.
Similarly, he also infers my charity work is part of the confidence building. ‘Do you know any furus that ‘claim’ to be charitable?’ Again, there is no question that he is pointing the finger at me. I’m incredibly proud of my charitable work, both at home and overseas. In fact, I intend to put out a video dedicated to that subject – plus another one about my faith.
A personal message to Shaf Rasul
Shaf Rasul, you are the worst due diligence checker I have ever come across. You claim to be an expert in due diligence. You try to rubbish me as a property expert and question my financial standing. You label me as a fake guru and a fraudster. So much of your lockdown period has been dedicated to trying to damage a person you have never met by making a string of false claims.
Well, I think you’re a fake guru when it comes to due diligence. Your careless comments about my business and character have been made across many ill thought-out videos.
The public needed to hear my side of the story too. Only now can they make an informed judgement on the accusations you have made and the reasons you give for damaging my character and business.
- You are WRONG to accuse me of lying about receiving business advice from Lord Sugar
- You are WRONG to pour scorn on my success and wealth, and the number of properties I own
- You are WRONG to say I am not a multi-millionaire, tycoon – or even a property investor
- You are WRONG to make damning assumptions about my financial standing based on a basic credit search
- You are WRONG to ignore my explanation about the County Court Judgement as there was no case to answer
- You are WRONG to say the investment strategies I teach are the domain of fake gurus
- You are WRONG to call me a liar over the Telegraph quote
- You are WRONG to link me to a criminal case from years ago – and imply that history is repeating itself
You are WRONG to spend lockdown making all these damaging claims against me which you say are the result of expert ‘due diligence’