Thirteen businessmen including a former energy minister are being sued for £178m to recover cash lost by victims in a major savings scandal.
Almost 12,000 investors lost £237m when London Capital & Finance (LCF) went bust in January 2019.
LCF sold savers mini-bonds and promised their money would be invested in low-risk loans to small companies that would deliver steady returns.
Allegations: Simon Hume-Kendall and his wife, Helen (pictured), who is also named in the lawsuit
But instead it is claimed that up to 60 per cent was funnelled into ventures such as holiday developments in Cape Verde, helicopters and lifetime memberships to the Mayfair private members’ club Annabel’s.
Now the administrators of LCF have targeted individuals connected to the collapsed investment firm and are suing them in a lawsuit that will claim thee company’s purpose was to defraud bondholders. It alleges ten of the 13 defendants ‘misappropriated’ investors’ money.
The businessmen targeted include Simon Hume-Kendall, a former chairman of the Tunbridge Wells Conservative party, who set up LCF in 2012.
And it will also include former Tory MP Charles Hendry, who was a director of London Oil & Gas, a connected company that borrowed £129m from LCF. Hendry, 61, was energy and climate change minister between 2010 and 2012 and in 2011 bought a Scottish castle that is thought to be worth around £2.5m.
Hume-Kendall, 67, and his wife, Helen, who is also named in the lawsuit, are said to have received at least £24m of savers’ cash. Sources close to the case told the Financial Times the pair spent £250,000 on lifetime memberships to Annabel’s with their takings. Also named are former police officer Paul Careless, who founded a Brighton-based firm called Surge Group which marketed the mini-bonds to retail investors.
Named: Conservative MP Charles Hendry
Andy Thomson, the chief executive of LCF, is said to have received £5.3m of funds, while Spencer Golding, a large shareholder in several businesses linked to the investment firm, is thought to have received £42.8m, according to the lawsuit.
The legal case claims Elten Barker, a director of connected company London Oil & Gas, received at least £5m. The Mail understands a number of other people targeted by the suit were also directors there.
Mark Hastings, partner at Grosvenor Law, who is representing the Hume-Kendalls, said: ‘Both strongly deny any wrongdoing and will be vigorously defending the proceedings.’ Hendry said: ‘This legal action against me is totally without merit.’ A spokesman for Barker said he denied the allegations.