Our old friends at Smith &Williamson have been busy. Finbarr O’Connell, Adam Stephens, Henry Shinners and Colin Hardman were appointed Joint Administrators of London Capital & Finance plc in January of last year and are learning to keep their mouths closed, as they appear to be up to their necks in stuff that doesn't smell too good. As a result of that, they are launching, in the High Court, one of the biggest lawsuits against the alleged perpetrators of a retail investment scandal with 13 businessmen being sued for £178 million over the alleged fraud at London Capital & Finance.
This news-piece has the word 'alleged' written all over it, so we need you to see it at the beginning of every sentence you read; but when you see more of the facts, well ... you know.
So, what else is allegedly going down, NTI? Well ... it appears to those with ears, eyes and the ability to read that there have been a number (we would say, a 'flurry') of failed investments made by pensioners in other companies allegedly connected to aspects of the LCF scandal. Including the word 'pensioners' doesn't, of course, make this any worse, but it adds a nice layer of pathos to an already pathos-laden story.
High profile City businessman Simon Hume-Kendall, timeshares millionaire Spencer Golding and former energy minister Charles Hendry are among those named in the legal claim from Smith & Williamson. It appears that investors lost money on a big hotel scheme in the Dominican Republic called El Cuype and a Cornish holiday park, Waterside (which looks quite nice when you Google it). If you look at the legal action (and we have done so on your behalf, as we know you won't) it includes some simply scurrilous and really quite fruity details of how some bondholders’ money went on horses and a helicopter. We don't know exactly how many horses you can get into a helicopter, but it must have been an awfully large one. And that makes it WORSE. In addition, we do not know that much about Mr Hulme-Kendall (including precisely how litigious he may be), but he appears to have a penchant for Annabels private members’ club and isn't afraid to spend money on membership of it ... if you know what we mean - see later.
According to a published document, the lawsuit, Simon and Helen Hume-Kendall received at least £24 million of investors’ cash, with the Financial Times citing a source saying £250,000 was spent on Annabels' memberships. That's a LOT.
Now for our favourite bit. Also named in the case is Paul Careless, the former police officer whose business Surge Group marketed LCF’s bonds through sophisticated social media advertising. It's almost as if, with that surname, his whole life was leading up to this and everything that went on before was just a rehearsal. Again, ACCORDING TO THE FINANCIAL TIMES, the legal papers say nearly 60 per cent of all the investors’ money - £136 million - was channelled to its executives either directly or via loans to companies they controlled. That doesn't sound right. Isn't that the very opposite of what you are supposed to do with investors' monies? We mean, those poor PENSIONERS.
We should say that reports on this matter are liberally splattered with phrases such as "lawyers for ... strongly deny any wrongdoing" and "the case is without merit" and "... will vigorously defend the action". Our favourite, though, is ... "when do flights to Brazil start again?"
Keep tuned into NTI for more alleged allegations.