Investments  

SFO launches probe into car leasing investment scheme

SFO launches probe into car leasing investment scheme

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating suspected fraud in relation to a car leasing investment scheme which had restrictions imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority in February.

The SFO announced today (April 9) that it is investigating suspected fraud in relation to the activities of the Raedex Consortium, a motor finance provider, including the companies Buy 2 Let Cars, PayGo Cars, Raedex trading as Wheels 4 Sure and Rent 2 Own Cars.

Yesterday (April 8) the SFO, with the assistance of the National Crime Agency and City of London Police, conducted searches on two residential premises in connection with this investigation. 

The SFO also arrested and interviewed one individual, who has been released pending further investigation, and conducted an interview with a further individual.

This comes after the FCA imposed a number of restrictions on the motor finance provider in February, requiring the firm to cease conducting regulated activities because of concerns about its finances.

Raedex Consortium is part of an investment scheme where consumers can invest in car leases through Buy 2 Let Cars and Rent 2 Own Cars. 

This investment scheme is conducted through Buy 2 Let Cars, which is not FCA authorised. 

The FCA’s restrictions stopped the company from entering into any new car leases, however all existing leases will remain in place and any customers of Raedex Consortium who leased a car, need to continue to make payments. 

Buy 2 Let Cars also stated it is not currently accepting any new investment.

The FCA said that as Buy 2 Let Cars is not FCA authorised it is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service will also not consider complaints.

Individuals must therefore raise any complaints directly with Buy 2 Let Cars.

The regulator also stated that as these investments are loan agreements (as opposed to a liquid investment in marketable securities, for example) it is unlikely that investors will be able to exit. 

It said: “However, as investors have entered into unregulated fixed term loan agreements with differing terms, they should speak to Buy 2 Let Cars Ltd for further information.”

amy.austin@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on FTAletters@ft.com to let us know