Bribery claims by the liquidator against the former investment managers and promoters of Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Co Ltd and various parties connected to the fund were upheld in a UK court ruling on 19 May. 

In a statement, law firm Kingsley Napley, adviser to the liquidator of the company, said the decision will assist in the recovery of assets unlawfully misappropriated from British pensioners. 

The decision in Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Co. Ltd (In Liquidation) vs James Hadley & Others [case number BL-2020-000294] was handed down on Friday 19 May, building on a 2022 Court of Appeal decision in liquidator DM Financial's favour which recognised bribery claims against James Hadley the former promoter of the fund, as well as Bentley Thwaite and Platinum Pyramid Limited who were connected to transactions involving the fund.

Kingsley Napley also advised on that earlier claim at first instance and in the Court of Appeal.

In the case, it is alleged that money was diverted from Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Company Limited between 2014 and 2016.

The UK recovery action is part of a wider effort internationally to recover funds for British pensioners.

Kingsley Napley said it has worked with lawyers in Gibraltar, Germany, Malta, Spain and Panama, for example, to trace funds and recover assets.

The claims brought (and settled confidentially) in these jurisdictions have so far enabled the liquidator to make significant recoveries to date, the law firm said. 
The SFO has also been investigating Trafalgar as part of a wider £120m fraud here

The latest decision means judgments were obtained against Stuart Chapman-Clark (also known as Stuart Grehan), Mark Lloyd, Pinnacle Brokers Limited and CGrowth Capital Bond Limited in relation to dishonest assistance, unconscionable receipt and conspiracy to injure by unlawful means and against James Hadley in breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy.

There was also a finding of vicarious liability for bribery against CGrowth Capital Bond Limited. Mr Nicholas Thompsell, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court commented in the judgment that the arrangements between the parties who established Trafalgar were "so rife with illegality and other types of unlawfulness, that one hardly knows where to begin."

Trafalgar Multi Asset Trading Co. Ltd was a Cayman Islands based fund with around £21m assets under management before it went into liquidation in early 2017. 

Stephen Doran of DM Financial said: "We have been pursuing legal action against the former asset manager and recipients of Trafalgar's funds since 2018 alleging that some £19m of pension fund investments were diverted by them under an unlawful and elaborate scheme.

"We were successful in the majority of causes of action in our latest claim and will continue our efforts on an international basis to maximise recovery for the fund and its ultimate UK pensioner beneficiaries."

In the 19 May judgment Deputy Judge Mr Nicholas Thompsell expressed his sympathy for the pensioners who had suffered loss as a result of their investment in Trafalgar and his hope that there would be swift settlement from the Defendants.  

Kingsley Napley Dispute Resolution partners Sue Thackeray and Mary Young advised DM Financial.

Justin Higgo KC of Serle Court was their lead counsel and Belinda McRae was junior counsel.