The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) has issued a statement confirming that it has commenced proceedings in the High Court against London Property Investments (U.K) Limited (“LPI“), NPI Holdings Limited (“NPI“), Daniel Stevens (the sole director and shareholder of both companies) and his father Anthony Kafetzis. LPI provides services to financially distressed individuals who face eviction or who have recently been evicted.
FCA has secured an interim injunction stopping these activities from continuing and a restraint order freezing 17 residential properties worth approximately £3.9m and other of the defendants’ assets. FCA says it believes that the defendants’ activities have affected dozens of individuals, some of whom are highly vulnerable and who may have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds to the defendants.
Specifically, FCA alleges that:
- LPI and NPI carried out regulated activities in the UK without FCA authorisation or exemption, and LPI communicated financial promotions without the required authorisation or approval.
- Daniel Stevens and Anthony Kafetzis were knowingly concerned in LPI and NPI’s contraventions.
FCA alleges the firms would deal with possession proceedings by helping to arrange replacement loans, which would not be explained to the individuals, but would typically lead to even greater indebtedness. LPI would also get the individuals to sign a consent for it to register a restriction, again without explanation, and then demand a large fee to remove the restriction if the customer wanted to sell the property. LPI would also introduce customers to NPI, a sale and rent back firm. Neither entity was authorised.
FCA is asking the court to return the ownership of properties to the affected individuals, restitution for individuals who suffered losses as a result of the defendants’ actions, declarations from the court stating that the defendants acted illegally and injunctions to prevent further breaches in the future.
The court proceedings are at an early stage and no date for trial has yet been set.