A Brighton businessman has been arrested by the Serious Fraud Office as detectives continue their investigation into the £237 million collapse of the investment firm London Capital and Finance (LCF).
Paul Careless, 43, was reported to have been arrested at his home on Wednesday (19 June).
The millionaire entrepreneur is the chief executive of online marketing company Surge Financial which is based in Portland Street, Brighton.
Mr Careless was interviewed and, his company said, he was released without charge and is not on police bail.
The Financial Times said: “As well as questioning Mr Careless after his arrest at his home, the SFO obtained documents from Surge’s offices.”
LCF paid Surge 25 per cent commission to market unregulated financial investments known as mini-bonds, earning the Brighton business about £58 million.
The money raised from selling the bonds was used to lend to or invest in other businesses, such as £124 million for London Oil and Gas, which went bust in March.
LCF went into administration in January, owing £237 million to more than 11,000 investors.
According to the Financial Times, “many are retirees and first-time investors who risk losing their life savings.”
The collapse of LCF is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the SFO which has arrested five people including Mr Careless.
Two of the other men to have been arrested were LCF chief executive Andy Thomson and his former boss Simon Hume-Kendall, who started the business that became LCF.
Mr Hume-Kendall was the chairman of London Oil and Gas, LCF’s biggest borrower, and was previously a director of Crystal Palace Football Club.
The SFO said: “On (Wednesday) 19 June, search warrants were executed at several properties in the Home Counties.
“One individual was arrested and released pending further investigation.
“The operation was conducted with the assistance of the National Crime Agency.”
The SFO website includes a notice which says: “The SFO encourages members of the public who have invested in London Capital and Finance PLC over the period 2016 to 2018 to contact us.”
Surge Financial said: “Paul Careless has not been charged and he is not on bail.
“Surge was a third-party supplier of services used in relation to raising investment for LCF.
“It did not handle client money and had no involvement in the deployment of funds to borrowing companies.”