Surge Financial CEO Paul Careless was arrested yesterday and questioned for four and a half hours, the Evening Standard has revealed.
Surge Financial was London Capital & Finance's marketing agent. Another company in the Surge network, RPDigitalservices, which was controlled by Careless from July 2018 to April 2019, ran the top-isa-rates and best-interest-rates websites which channeled investors to London Capital & Finance using misleading comparisons between FSCS-protected deposit rates and LCF's high-risk rates.
The company formerly known as Adelpha Bond PLC, which previously issued unregulated bonds paying up to 7.6% per year, has converted from a public limited company to a private limited one.
At the same time, it has extended its accounting period by five months (one shy of the maximum permitted).
Whereas Adelpha was previously required to file its first annual accounts by November 2019 (six months after the conclusion of its first year), the extension and conversion to a private limited company means it now has until July 2020 (nine months after the new accounting end date).
The Times of London has revealed that of the £60 million commission paid by London Capital & Finance to its marketing agent Surge, £26 million was spent on marketing, of which £20 million went to Google.
Google was paid more than £20 million to promote high-risk mini-bonds for London Capital & Finance, the collapsed investment firm at the centre of a fraud investigation.
The Times has learnt that Surge Group, a digital marketing firm that was contracted by LCF to raise capital from investors, used the bulk of the money it spent on marketing to buy advertising via the search engine giant.
A person close to the matter said Surge spent about £26 million on marketing for LCF between 2015 and last year, with about 90 per cent of that sum going to Google.
London Property Bonds raised just under £500,000 from the public in 2016 in bonds paying 8% per year.
In mid-2018 they filed their first accounts up to November 2016, which revealed that the company had raised £495,000 and incurred costs of £479,000, and had £466,000 in net liabilities. Chairman Robert Holmes gave the company $500,000 worth of shares in an Anjouani bank to enable it to continue to trade, along with an “undertaking of unconditional support” lasting until May 2019 – which has just expired.
In January 2019 London Property Bonds was subject to a compulsory strike-off due to its failure to file accounts for November 2017. In March 2019 they finally filed accounts which stated that the company had been dormant from Nov16-Nov17, and its financial position was virtually unchanged. The strike-off was suspended.
Bentley Global launched in February 2018 and issues unregulated bonds paying 12 – 20% per year (depending on the amount invested).
Bentley Global is headed by former chartered accountant Alan Bentley. The bonds were promoted by former Manchester City footballer Peter Reid, who earned 13 caps for England. Reid is now Bentley Global’s Director of Football.
Investors’ money is used to bet on football using Bentley Global’s “Algol88” algorithm.
Bentley Global claims that Algol88 has produced returns averaging 83% per year over 5 years of backtesting.
Roger Allanson, former head of Allansons LLP, has hit back against the shut down of his unregulated investment scheme by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Allansons ran a litigation funding investment opportunity offering 50% returns which was, according to third-party introducers which solicited investments on Allansons' behalf, "zero risk" and "100% secure with FSCS".
Harewood Associates offered unregulated investments in property from 2010 onwards. From at least 2013 the company offered unregulated loan notes, with typical rates of up to 12% per year.
Last week Harewood went into administration, with Begbies Traynor appointed as administrators. The administration is not yet visible on Companies House but has been publicly announced by Begbies Traynor.
According to Harewood Associates' last accounts for December 2018, the company owed £32.8 million at that time. If accurate, this makes Harewood the second biggest collapse of a company issuing unregulated bonds directly to the public in 2019, beating MJS Capital's £20 - 30 million (though dwarfed by the £230 million of London Capital & Finance).