Special Fraud Squad targets failed Axiom legal financing fund chief executive

Published:  3 Sep at 6 PM
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The news that the CEO of the failed Axiom litigation fund is finally being investigated by the UK’s Special Fraud Squad may come as encouraging to victims, many of whom are also caught up in the LMIM Ponzi scheme.

Nowadays, awareness of the risks of investing with rogue salesmen is at its highest level ever in the worldwide expat community, along with the inescapable fact that home country regulators and enforcers rarely, if ever ,do anything to help defrauded expat investors. Axiom’s suspension in 2012 took with it £120 million of its investors’ cash when it called in the receivers in December 2013.

A good proportion of the lost money had been invested by expats fooled by sharp-talking salesmen working illegally in favourite overseas locations. The receiver’s report revealed that 75 per cent of the entire fund had been lent to just three ‘panel law firms’, with the now bankrupt Tandem and Ashton Fox receiving 62 per cent of the total amount.

A further revelation showed that one of Axiom’s top management team was also a director of two legal firms which were given loans. The result of the Special Fraud Squad’s investigation remains to be seen, but the message to expat investors overseas is clear - avoid local, commission-hungry salesmen like the plague, wherever you live.

Many investors trapped into Axiom were also sold LM funds and the insurance-wrapped, high-cost bonds touted by Isle of Man insurers such as Friends Provident, Zurich and others of that ilk. According to lawyers, it’s not clear whether the investigation will result in good news for victims of the scam.

Forcing reparation for the massive losses sustained by LMIM investors may be even more complicated as there is no official investigation at the present time. Reports that the Australian regulatory body is less than enthusiastic about tackling what is now clearly recognised as a deliberate Ponzi scheme have already damaged the country’s reputation as an investor hotspot.
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