IN THE wake of a case hearing at Southwark Crown Court, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has secured a ten-month sentence (suspended for two years) for Michael Thomson, former CEO of London Capital & Finance plc, who was found to have breached a restraint order imposed on his bank account.
The SFO had frozen Thomson’s assets as part of its investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering at London Capital & Finance plc, where 11,000 investors lost in excess of £237 million between 2014 and 2019 in a mini-bond scheme.
The SFO uncovered the fact that Thomson hid £95,000 he received after the restraint order was imposed. This included £55,000 from a tax rebate and an insurance claim worth £40,000 for repair work to a barn that was never completed. The monies were paid into an account owned by Thomson’s wife in an attempt to hide the sum involved from the SFO.
SFO investigators found Thomson spent some of this money to further conceal and hamper its recovery, buying a £5,000 holiday in Italy, a £3,900 horse saddle, spending £1,170 on a hotel and spa stay in Torquay and then £5,495 on a hot tub.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “This result makes it absolutely clear that company executives are not above the law. When they break the law, we have the means and the resolve to go after their money, no matter where they hide it. Across the past two years, we’ve traced and seized every asset we have pursued, duly recovering over £140 million for taxpayers.”
HMCPSI report on case progression
His Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) has published a report into the SFO’s case progression. HMCPSI is responsible for inspecting the SFO and this report follows up on progress against its 2019 inspection.
Lisa Osofsky commented: “Over the last 12 months, on top of securing the conviction of eight company executives, recovering over £100 million in proceeds of crime and securing the UK’s largest ever corporate criminal conviction, we have been working flat out to improve our ability to fight serious fraud and economic crime.”
Further, Osofsky noted: “From developing further support for our investigators and digital forensic experts through to how we prioritise our finite resources, we have already delivered real reform. On that note, I thank all my staff for their dedication.”
The SFO has accepted all of HMCPSI’s recommendations, which the organisation is “committed to implement at pace” as part of a comprehensive and ongoing change programme.
*The HMCPSI report is available to view online: Follow-up inspection of the Serious Fraud Office – case progression (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk)
Western Business Media
64 High Street