Serious Fraud Office is called in to investigate consultancy firm Arck
THE Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it is investigating the activities of a Notts company.
As previously reported in the Post, Notts Police arrested the owners of Arck Limited Liability Partnership, Kathryn Clark and Richard Clay, following allegations in March.
It was claimed that up to £20 million of investors' cash had gone missing.
The Serious Fraud Office, an independent Government department that investigates claims of serious or complex fraud, has now confirmed it is involved.
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It says it has given the investigation the code name Project Bijou.
Arck, which was based at the Triangle, Enterprise Way, on the NG2 business park in Nottingham, traded as a management consultancy firm and an administrator of development projects.
It is now in liquidation.
In an update on its website, the Serious Fraud Office said: "We are investigating the activities of Arck Limited Liability Partnership and associated companies in connection with various investment products.
"Notts Police is assisting in the investigation."
Industry regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) previously said Arck was facing legal action by investors alleging they have lost £20 million.
Following the arrest of Mrs Clark the FSA also suspended some of the activities of another firm, HD Administrators LLP, an operator of a self-invested personal pension which was based at the same address as Arck and which had Mrs Clark as a director.
It too is now in liquidation.
In a further development, the FSA has publicly censured Michele King, a partner at HD Administrators, and withdrawn her permission to be a partner at the firm.
It said King, 39, would have also been fined £20,000 were it not for evidence that the penalty would had caused her "serious financial hardship".
King became a partner at HD Administrators in August 2008. She had previously been employed as an accounts administrator and, before becoming a partner, had performed some minor administrative tasks at the firm.
An FSA investigation revealed King "took no steps to understand or fulfil her regulatory responsibilities".
The authority said she did not keep herself involved in, or informed about, the management decisions at the firm.
Bill Sillett, the FSA's head of retail enforcement, said: "While we have not imposed a fine because it would place her into serious financial hardship, Michele King should be under no illusion about the seriousness of her wrongdoing.
"What we have found shows King was totally out of her depth in her role as partner at HD Administrators and failed to take her responsibilities seriously.
"Further, her lack of involvement in the decision making at the firm meant she was a bystander while events at the operator got out of hand."
Ms King could not be reached for comment.
Mrs Clark, 50, who according to Companies House records, is of Village Street, Edwalton, declined to comment.
The Post was unable to reach Mr Clay, 47, who according to the same records, lives at Station Road, Bottesford.
Mr Clay and Mrs Clark remain on bail in relation to the investigation into Arck.