Eight men have been charged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law between August 2008 and November 2011 and criminal offences relating to the carrying out of a regulated activity without authorisation or exemption contrary to s.19 FSMA 2000.
The charges arise out of Operation Cotton, an on going FCA investigation into the activities of three land banking companies: Plott UK Limited (Plott), European Property Investments (UK) Limited (EPI) and Stirling Alexander Limited. These companies are believed to have taken over £5 million from UK investors between 2008 and 2011. The FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), had previously successfully brought civil proceedings against Plott and EPI which resulted in the compulsory winding up of these companies in June 2011 and December 2012 respectively.
Scott Crawley, Daniel Forsyth, Ross Peters, Aaron Petrou, Ricky Mitchie, Dale Walker, Adam Hawkins and Brendan Daley have been bailed to attend City of London Magistrates Court on 10 May 2013.
Dale Walker, a solicitor with Dale R Walker Solicitors, has also been charged with Money Laundering contrary to s329(1)(c) Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Additionally, Daniel Forsyth has been charged with providing false information to the FSA contrary to s177 FSMA 2000.
The FCA cannot provide any further comment or information at this time.
Land banking companies divide land into smaller plots to sell it to investors on the basis that once it is available for development it will soar in value. However, the land is often in areas of natural beauty or historical interest, with little chance of it being built on.
Notes for editors
- In June 2011 the FSA secured a High Court winding up order against Plott and a world-wide freezing and restraint order against EPI.
- More information on land banking can be found on the FCA website.
- On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
- The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers
- You can find more information about the FCA, as well as how it is different to the PRA, on our website.