By Tom Winnifrith | Monday 1 April 2019
76 year old Fleet Street Legend Brian Basham is one of the rogue bloggers walking for Woodlarks this year. At his age that is impressive and is something you should sponsor here. Basham was also an ace spin doctor in his time (notably for Mo Al Fayed) and is enraged at the way Simon Hume Kendall has stolen cash from the victims of the LCF ponzi, mostly pensioners like Brian, and has donated £65,000 to Amber Rudd’s local party and to Tory central office. Basham has written to Ms Rudd and his letter follows:
Dear Amber Rudd
You will be aware of the collapse of London Capital & Finance (LC&F) which went into administration in January after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that its advertising had been misleading. The administrators, Smith & Williamson, have reported that the company had 11,605 bondholders who had invested £236 million into LC&F mini bonds.
LC&F appears to have been a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. The key figure Simon Hume Kendall has been described as a ‘chum’ of yours; certainly he donated £5,000 to your office and a further £60,000 to the Conservative Party. Another former Conservative colleague of yours, Charles Hendry, the former MP for Wealden and Energy Minister, is deeply implicated.
It is reported that Simon Hume Kendall and his colleagues, Elten Barker, Andy Thomson and Spencer Golding have now been arrested by the Serious Fraud Office.
It seems that many of the apparently defrauded investors were pensioners and people of limited means who were attracted by LC&F’s aggressive advertising and have now lost pretty well all their life’s savings. The administrators assess that they could receive just 20 percent of the money back.
LC&F advertised itself as a low-risk ISA, and promised to spread funds between hundreds of companies. In reality, the fund did not qualify as an ISA, and the money was only invested in 12 companies, 10 of which were described as 'not independent' from LC&F.
The administrators profess themselves sceptical that LC&F could ever have delivered its promised returns. As far as I can see, returns to old investors were paid out of the proceeds from new investors and that, as you will know, is the classic definition of a fraudulent Ponzi scheme.
In their report the administrators concluded ‘there are a number of highly suspicious transactions involving a small group of connected people which have led to a large number of bond holders’ money ending up in their personal possession or control'. They point out that funds were lent to one of those companies by LC&F to fund the purchase of a helicopter - a Eurocopter/France A55N twin star aircraft.
The company’s biggest borrower and the purchaser of the helicopter was London Oil & Gas (LOG) where Simon Hume Kendall was chief executive. LOG owes LCF £124m. Mr Hume Kendall was the founder of LC&F. Subsequent to setting it up he brought in Andy Thompson as ceo and then went off to chair LOG, there to receive the £124m of funds from LC&F.
Mr Hume Kendall appears to be the person around whom the whole merry-go-round pivots.
Some of the stranger transactions include loans to companies in relation to developing land in Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic, and Cornwall. The administrators say they are “are highly suspicious of this [the Cape Verde] transaction and currently can see no evidence that any of the c.£12m owed to LCF will be returned or recovered”
The administrators say that the two companies in Cape Verde did not have legal rights to any land, while four companies in the Dominican Republic only owned undeveloped land and owed nearly £50m.
The administrators comment: 'Our investigations indicate that some of LC&F’s Bondholders’ monies flowed through a variety of transactions, including with regard to deferred consideration, relating to the Waterside and Dominican Republic property companies which resulted in multi million pounds of those monies going into the personal possession or control of: Simon Hume-Kendall, Elten Barker, Andy Thomson and Spencer Golding related trusts or interests.’
In the press Mr Hume Kendall is described as a ‘chum’ of yours and another chum, this time from the Conservative Party, is Charles Hendry who preceded you when you were Energy Minister, and was a director of London Oil & Gas alongside Mr Hume Kendall.
London Oil & Gas is also now understood also to have appointed administrators from Smith & Williamson, the same company handling London Capital & Finance’s collapse.
Mr Hendry was also the promoter of the £1.5 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. You will recall that the project was included in the Conservative’s 2015 Manifesto and that, as Energy Minister, you granted the project planning permission that same year.
Your own career in the City has been well documented in the pages of Private Eye and it might be that you came across Simon Hume Kendall in the City. However, he is also to some extent a local man having been based in Tunbridge Wells and having been named as Kent Entrepreneur of the Year.
Of Hume Kendall’s associates, Elten Barker, is a racehorse owner who has a company in Eastbourne and Spencer Golding, who is disqualified from serving as a director and received £12.6million from LC&F, also lives in Kent and has his own helicopter.
Golding introduced LC&F to the online marketing company Surge Financial, apparently a Brighton based company, which received £58m from LC&F for the marketing that attracted the FCA investigation in the first place.
I call upon you to:
Press the Conservative Party, of which you have been named as a potential leader, to return the £60,000 donated by Mr. Hume Kendall to Smith and Williamson for the benefit of bondholders.
Return the £5,000 donated to your office.
Reveal whether you have any other association with any of that apparent bunch of chums, Hume Kendall, Barker, Golding and Hendry.
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