TW-based London Capital & Finance boss receives 10-month suspended sentence


THE Former Chief Executive Officer of Tunbridge Wells-based London Capital & Finance Plc (LCF) Michael Andrew Thomson appeared in Southwark Crown Court on May 17 and was given a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, after breaching a restraint order imposed on his bank account.

Michael Andrew Thomson, also known as ‘Andy Thomson’, was CEO of London Capital & Finance when it collapsed in 2019. The Eridge Road-based mini-bond firm went bust in January of that year after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) froze Mr Thomson’s assets as part of its investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering at LCF. At least 11,000 people, including pensioners and first-time investors, lost more than £237million between 2014 and 2019 in a mini-bond scheme that promised returns of as much as 8 per cent.

Investors who lost money were eventually compensated using taxpayers’ cash, as the finance industry’s compensation scheme did not cover unregulated mini-bonds.

Although Mr Thomson’s accounts were frozen, the SFO discovered he had hidden £95,000 that he had received after the 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. In an attempt to hide those finances from the SFO, the money had been paid into an account owned by Mr Thomson’s wife, Debbie.

SFO investigators also found that Mr 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 £5,495 on a hot tub.

Mr Thomson originally appeared in court on July 28, 2022, charged with breaking the restraint order on his assets that had been in place since March 14, 2019.

He had admitted to funnelling nearly £100,000 of restrained money frozen by the courts through his wife’s bank account, however, he claimed that taking the money was unintentional. That money had been earmarked to repay some of the 11,500 investors who lost money through the collapse of LCF.

According to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the breaches were “deliberate”. Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said: “Today’s result makes clear: company executives are not above the law. When they break it, we have the means and the resolve to go after their money, no matter where they hide it.

When handing down his judgement, Judge Alexander Milne said that Thomson’s admissions to the court, state of health and recent compliance had justified a suspended sentence.

Thomson’s conviction does not relate to events leading up to LCF’s collapse, but rather to his behaviour during the SFO’s subsequent probe. More than three years later, the investigation into LCF remains ongoing.

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