Ex-CEO spared jail after hiding £95k from investigators

The former chief executive of London Capital & Finance, Michael Thomson, has avoided jail after hiding £95,000 from investigators to fund his lavish lifestyle

Thomson was handed a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, following his breaching of a restraint order imposed on his bank account by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The SFO had frozen Thomson’s assets as part of its investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering at LCF, where 11,000 investors lost more than £237m between 2014 and 2019 in a mini-bond scheme.

LCF went into administration on 30 January 2019, following a series of interventions by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA had found LCF’s advertising to be ‘misleading, not fair and unclear’ and so ordered the firm to withdraw all of its marketing materials on 10 December 2018.

On 18 March 2019, the SFO opened an investigation into individuals associated with the business.

According to the SFO, Thomson concealed £95,000 he received after the order was imposed. This included £55,000 from a stamp duty tax rebate and an insurance claim worth £40,000 for repair work to a barn that was never completed.

Thomson funnelled the money into his wife’s unrestrained bank account, which was not subject to the order, which he used to splash out on a £5,000 holiday in Italy, a £3,900 horse saddle, and £5,495 on a hot tub.

In July 2022, Thomson admitted to a breach and contempt of court for both the insurance claim and stamp duty refund.

At Southwark Crown Court, Judge Alexander Milne KC spared the CEO jail because of this admission and his compliance.

Judge Milne said: ‘There are serious matters, there is no doubt, but I have taken account of the delay in sentencing that has been hanging over him and his family for three years.’

Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, 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.

‘Over the past two years, we have traced and seized every asset we have gone after, recovering over £140m for taxpayers.’

Max Austin |Reporter, Accountancy Daily 

Max Austin is a reporter at Accountancy Daily.If you have any news stories, please email me at: ...

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