Serious Fraud Office
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SFO secures conviction of investment manager for £100 million no-win-no-fee fraud

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently (03 May 2024) secured the conviction of former investment manager David Kennedy for his part in a £100 million investment fraud in which hundreds of people lost their savings, following a re-trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Kennedy and his business partner Timothy Schools managed the Cayman Island registered company Axiom Legal Finance Fund for over two years. They promised investors a secure return, by offering loans to UK law firms that were pursuing no-win-no-fee cases and where there was purportedly a high chance of success.

An SFO investigation – that has already resulted in Schools being sentenced to 14 years in prison for fraud – uncovered that Kennedy used investor money to fund thousands of high risk cases, that were not independently vetted and often failed at court. Few investors ever received any return.

The SFO also found that Kennedy diverted over £5.8m from Axiom to pay for items for his own benefit including a Swiss ski resort chalet, a Tenerife villa and renovations to his home in Hull. These funds were hidden in offshore bank accounts and complex trusts.

Kennedy will be sentenced on Wednesday 8th of May.

Nick Ephgrave QPM, Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), recently said:

“This individual’s criminal actions flooded the legal system with unwinnable cases affecting hundreds of people who suffered financial loss and significant anxiety as a result. This criminality also served to undermine trust and confidence in the legal profession more widely.

“Our specialist team used their expertise to unpick a complex trail of payments, including into Kennedy’s personal accounts, to secure justice for victims today.”

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