Brothers charged with fraud over collapsed peer-to-peer lender

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Two brothers who ran a multi-million pound peer-to-peer lending company face criminal charges for allegedly lying to investors about the safety of their savings. 

The Financial Conduct Authority has brought charges of fraud and benefiting from the proceeds of crime against Peter and Andrew Currie, who ran an unregulated peer-to-peer loans firm called Collateral until it collapsed into administration in 2018. 

The regulator has alleged that the pair “dishonestly represented to investors that Collateral was authorised and regulated by the FCA to operate as a peer-to-peer lender knowing this was untrue”.

The City watchdog further claims that the brothers, who are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Jan 26, knowingly siphoned off money they had accepted from duped customers into another company and a personal account, just after they were ordered to cease trading for their alleged misconduct and fold the firm. 

Individuals used the Collateral platform to invest in property schemes and other projects. The firm advertised returns of up to 12pc a year on properties from terrace houses near the Blackpool seafront to flats in Chelsea.

It is thought that a security flaw that allowed third parties to manipulate the information displayed to consumers on the FCA’s online list of regulated firms gave savers the reassurance to invest thousands of pounds. 

BDO, an administration firm, was appointed to recover the debts from borrowers to return to investors. However, it has managed to recover only a fraction of the £14.8m that had been secured against property and a further £1.7m invested in jewellery and precious stones, according to its latest update. 

It said it had also found a discrepancy between the money held in client accounts and the firm’s records, which so far the directors have been unable to explain. 

Collateral is now insolvent and in liquidation. Peter and Andrew Currie could not be reached for comment. 

They have yet to submit a plea. 

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