SFO charges three men over Axiom fund collapse

SFO: Six-year investigation

Two former solicitors and a former independent financial adviser have been charged with multiple offences in connection with the collapse of the Axiom Legal Financing Fund.

The Cayman Islands-based fund – which lent money to several law firms to pay for disbursements, mainly for personal injury cases – closed in October 2012 in the wake of allegations of fraud, and went into receivership in February 2013 owing investors around £120m.

The Serious Fraud Office announced on Friday that it has charged Timothy Schools, Richard Emmett and David Kennedy with carrying out a fraudulent scheme to divert money from the fund for their own benefit.

The SFO began its investigation in 2014, although it only went public in 2017.

Mr Schools, 59, is seen as the main figure behind the fund and was struck off in 2014.

He has been charged with three counts of fraudulent trading, one count of fraud and one count of transferring criminal property.

Mr Emmett, 47, was struck off in 2018. He has been charged with one count of fraudulent trading and one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by another.

David Kennedy, 67, a former independent financial adviser, has been charged with one count of fraudulent trading.

Their case will be listed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 September.

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