HM Solicitor General reluctant to provide details about SFO’s probe into London Capital & Finance

Maria Nikolova

Whilst the SFO tries to ensure that it progresses its investigations as quickly as possible, its cases are by their nature complex and lengthy, Robert Buckland MP says.

There is still no clarity on the progress (if any) around the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) probe into several individuals associated with failed London Capital & Finance plc. The probe, as FinanceFeeds has reported, was launched on March 18, 2019.

Earlier today, HM Solicitor General Robert Buckland MP responded to a question about the timetable for the SFO’s investigation into London Capital & Finance. His words did little to provide any clarity on how the investigation proceeds.

Mr Buckland said:

The criminal investigation into London Capital & Finance Plc has only recently been announced by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) who acts independently in making such decisions.

It is not appropriate for me to provide a running commentary on a live criminal investigation or estimate when it will be completed. Whilst the SFO does make every effort to ensure that it progresses its investigations as quickly and efficiently as possible, its cases are by their nature complex, lengthy and resource intensive.

The SFO has announced that, on March 4, 2019, four individuals were arrested in the Kent and Sussex areas. All four individuals have been released pending further investigation. The operation was coordinated with the assistance of the National Crime Agency, City of London Police, Kent Police, Sussex Police and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). This investigation was opened following a referral from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC).

Last week, John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said that the Government takes the failure of London Capital and Finance very seriously and is closely monitoring current developments.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme’s (FSCS) current assessment is that LCF’s activities are not FSCS-protected, which means LCF’s investors will not be eligible to claim for compensation from the FSCS.

However, the FSCS is working closely with the administrators to understand more about LCF’s activities. If there are circumstances that give rise to potentially valid claims, the FSCS will begin to accept claims against LCF and communicate this on their website.

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