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Why have shares in Worthington, the fraud now in liquidation, not been booted off the LSE yet? Ask the SFO?

By Tom Winnifrith | Sunday 25 December 2016

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

The fraud Worthington (WRN) where ex prisoner Aidan Earley has now exposed himself as a shadow director, went into liquidation on November 21. So why have the shares not been slung off the Official List by the UKLA, part of the FCA? I talked to the FCA last week.

I have been issued with the general guidance on why shares might be booted off - there are various scenarios:

"The first is where an issuer requests cancellation of listing and for a standard listed issuer this would normally require an announcement via a Regulatory Information Service giving at least 20 business days’ notice of the intended cancellation (LR5.2.8R).

However, LR5.2.12R allows a cancellation to be requested on a more expedited basis in certain circumstances – including an administration or liquidation of the issuer (LR5.2.12R (2)). Where such a request is made, providing the conditions in the rules are met, the FCA would process this. A request could be made by administrators on behalf of the issuer.

Where no request is made, in certain circumstances the FCA may also cancel listing unilaterally. Clearly, given the significance of the removal of listing, we are very careful regarding using these routes to ensure that removal only occurs where the grounds are entirely appropriate. LR5.2.2G includes guidance on the types of situation in which the FCA may seek to cancel the listing of securities.

Unilateral cancellation of listing may also occur in the form of a removal of the security from the Official List under administrative procedures (see DEPP2.5.11G) which can be used if there is evidence the security has ceased to exist. Otherwise, the decision regarding the discontinuance of listing, where the FCA decides to pursue this, must be made by the Regulatory Decisions Committee (or RDC see DEPP 2.5.10G).


Well there is evidence that the security no longer exists. Companies House has filings showing Worthington is in liquidation. And the FCA damn well knows about them. So why no action?

One may ask the same question of Companies House which took no action as it should have done to have Worthington struck off for its failure to file accounts for the years ending 30 September 2014 and 2015. Natch there are no 2016 numbers either.

At Companies House it was hinted to me that they were being leaned on by "other regulatory agencies" to take no action. Might the same thing be happening at the FCA? We know that the SFO has a keen interest in a number of the players involved in this saga starting with Kevin Sykes who is a close pal of????.

I would not be taking the lack of action by the FCA as good news if I was part of the Worthington gang. Once again, sorry if this has ruined any Christmases...

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