He is the local businessman being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office searching for £237million that has gone missing.
Last year, Jane Sanders, a claims management specialist, set up a Facebook group offering to help victims of London Capital and Finance (LCF), after it fell into administration in January.
The collapse saw more than 11,000 bondholders, many of whom had ploughed their life savings into the minibond investments, lose millions of pounds.
The scandal hit company was originally set up in 2012 by Mr Hume-Kendall, a former Tunbridge Wells Conservative party chairman, under the name South Eastern Counties Finances.
He later went on to become the mini-bond firm’s largest borrower, through his company London Oil & Gas [LOG].
That business also fell into administration last year – owing the tens of millions it had borrowed.
Savers who purchased LCF’s minibonds thought the money was going to a range of start-ups, generating returns as high as eight per cent.
But according to administrators, millions ended up in the personal possession or control of just four men in what they describe as ‘highly suspicious’ transactions.
These include Mr Hume-Kendall, fellow LOG director Elten Barker of Hadlow Down, equestrian businessman Spencer Golding from Crowborough, and LCF director, Andy Thomson from East Sussex.
Ms Sanders had been offering victims of LCF help to claw back some money through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme [FSCS].
The unregistered barrister is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] under her trading name of JSCS.
Her London Capital & Finance Action Group Facebook page immediately attracted more than a 1,000 followers as anxious bondholders joined up in the hope of getting back some of their life savings.
But it has emerged that Ms Sanders is now acting as an intermediary for Tunbridge Wells businessman Simon Hume-Kendall – the original founder of LCF and its principal borrower – who is in the process of putting two more of his businesses into administration.
They are London Power & Technology and LPE Enterprises, both of which have connections to the collapsed minibond company.
Ms Sanders, who used to live in Tunbridge Wells, has put Mr Hume-Kendall in touch with an administrator friend of hers, Andrew Fender.
Speaking to the Times, the claims handler denies any wrongdoing or conflict of interest.
She said: “I set up the group to tell them [what] services were available. But I have never taken any instructions from bondholders or any fees. I have also informed the FCA exactly what I am doing.”
She denies passing on any information handed to her by the 1,033 bondholders who joined her group, and claims she is an ‘insolvency specialist’ and is trying to ‘protect’ bondholders from ‘unfair treatment’ by the FSCS.
“The only way I have of affecting anything to do with returns through insolvency is to be involved,” she said.
However, her actions have not gone down well with those who have lost their savings.
The Times has been in contact with scores of bondholders since LCF collapsed in 2019, and many have got in touch branding Ms Sanders a ‘turncoat’ and claim she has been sought out for ‘her inside information’.
One said: “I think the whole Jane Sanders defection is despicable.
“I never trusted her and tried to report her to the Law Society and Bar Council but nothing happened.
“I can’t believe others have appointed her for the legal expertise, just her inside information.”
Another told us: “’I was in her group for approximately four months before I left. I found her communication style extremely unprofessional.
“Historically Jane promised people to get money back and asked those in the group to commit to appointing her as their claims manager on a percentage basis.
“There were not many takers because she lacked clarity. Don’t get me wrong she seems to know her stuff but she never really gets to the crux of things.”
The Times has chosen not to name the bond holders.
In the exclusive interview with this newspaper Ms Sanders says she has received no money from Mr Hume-Kendall for introducing him to Mr Fender.
She has, though, admitted meeting the former chairman of Tunbridge Wells Conservative Party.
“Yes, I met him,” she said. “I wanted to ask him if he took the £237million. He said he did not.”
There is no suggestion that Ms Sanders is guilty of any wrongdoing.
Fraud Squad widens investigation
THE Serious Fraud Office [SFO] investigating the collapse of LCF has now widened its investigation to delve deeper into the affairs of Mr Hume-Kendall.
Following the collapse of LCF in January 2019, the SFO launched an investigation into all four individuals associated with the Eridge-based firm.
Now it has announced it is broadening its investigation to cover not just minibonds marketed by LCF, but also investments sold as far back as 2013 when the company was trading under the name Sales Aid Finance and was under Simon Hume-Kendall’s directorship.
He founded the business in 2012 under the name South Eastern Counties Finances, before changing the name to Sales Aid Finance in 2013.
It became LCF in July 2015. By which time the Tunbridge Wells businessman had stepped down from the board.
In a statement, the SFO said: “The investigation has been extended to cover investments made from 2013-2018. These investments were sold by Sales Aid Finance (England) Ltd [SAFE], which subsequently became London Capital and Finance Ltd.”
They added that any members of the public who invested in LCF or Sales Aid Finance between 2013 and 2018 should contact them.
How it all started…
THE collapse of LCF in January 2019 was sparked after the city watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA], froze the firm’s bank accounts after it was discovered they had been misleading investors with their marketing material.
The minibonds themselves were not regulated by the FCA so the vast majority of investors are not entitled to any compensation from the FSCS, although the body says it has found more than 100,000 emails on LCF’s servers that could hold information that may well mean more bondholders could receive some form of payout.
The marketing of minibonds has now been permanently banned by the FCA in the wake of the LCF scandal.
The FCA itself is also the subject of an independent inquiry into its handling of the collapse of LCF, while the auditing companies that signed off the firm’s accounts between 2015 and 2017, EY, PwC and Oliver Clive & Co, are also under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council [FRC].