In Spring of 2015, claimant personal injury law firm, Slater and Gordon, completed its acquisition of Quindell PLC’s (now Watchstone PLC) Professional Services Division.[i]
Subsequent to the deal being struck, controversy arose over Quindell’s 2014-published accounts. According to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), these contained substantial restatements of prior year (as at 31 December 2013) revenues, post-tax profits (should have been a £68 million loss rather than £83 million profit) and net assets (these were overestimated by £222 million).[ii]
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was initially involved in investigations,[iii] but authority was later deferred to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), in August 2015, when it opened a criminal investigation into Quindell's business and accounting practices[iv] ─ we reported this back in edition 106 of BC Disease News (here).
Earlier this month, the SFO announced that its probe into Quindell’s affairs had been dropped,[v] though its overarching investigation remains active. Information regarding specific individuals, who presumably remain under scrutiny, is still classified.
[i] ‘Slater and Gordon to Acquire Professional Services of Quindell’ (30 March 2015 S&G) <https://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2015/03/slater-and-gordon-set-to-acquire-law-firm/> accessed 27 May 2020.
[ii] James Phillips, ‘Quindell posts £238m loss and faces SFO criminal investigation’ (5 August 2015 City Wire) <https://www.bc-legal.co.uk/images/pdf/106%20BC%20Disease%20News%20-%2007.08.2015%20Edition%20106.pdf> accessed 27 May 2020.
[iii] Neil Rose, ‘Company “no longer a suspect” in SFO Quindell probe’ (18 May 2020 Legal Futures) <https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/company-no-longer-a-suspect-in-sfo-quindell-probe> accessed 27 May 2020.
[iv] ‘SFO opens Quindell PLC investigation’ (5 August 2015 SFO) <https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2015/08/05/sfo-opens-quindell-plc-investigation/> accessed 27 May 2020.