News Business Crime & Financial Services 14th Oct 2021

Martin Hicks QC, Chris Foulkes and Gavin Irwin acted for two former Quindell directors investigated by the SFO and which has now concluded without criminal charges

In Spring 2015, claimant personal injury law firm, Slater and Gordon, completed its acquisition of Quindell PLC’s (now Watchstone PLC) Professional Services Division, for a reported £637 million.

The purchase was later described by the Law Society Gazette as one of the most “contentious acquisition deals in legal history … the most expensive ever by a business in the legal sector of England and Wales”.

In August 2015, the SFO announced it was conducting a criminal investigation into the business and accounting practices at Quindell.

In June 2017, S&G commenced proceedings against Watchstone for breach of warranty and/or fraudulent misrepresentation.  The FT reported that S&G said, “The value of the claim exceeds the net assets of Watchstone … by several hundred million pounds” while Watchstone said the accusations were “groundless” and it would “defend the claim robustly”.

In June 2018, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) fined and reprimanded the audit firm KPMG LLP and the Audit Engagement Partner William Smith following their admission of misconduct in relation to the audit of the financial statements of Quindell for the period ended 31 December 2013.

In Autumn 2019, S&G’s claims were withdrawn in a settlement announced hours before the civil trial was due to commence.

On 13 October 2021, the SFO announced that it has closed its investigation into the business and accounting practices at Quindell, its subsidiaries and a number of associated persons.

Working together with Siobhain Egan at Lewis Nedas Law:

No criminal charges will be brought in relation to either of their clients.


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