Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Our new evidence suggests Sugru and Crowdcube knew more than they told investors.

We can reveal, exclusively, that Sugru hired a Finance Director who had moved from a previous role where a £350k fraud had taken place under his watch. Even though this information was in the public domain, Crowdcube failed to notify their investors who have now lost the £5.5m they invested in Sugru.

Information we have, shows that the accountant, an accredited Financial Director with the FD Centre, was in the FD role at Idio Ltd when Natalie Saul, an accountant, stole £350,000 off the company in broad daylight. Following this, he moved from Idio in 2016 - the theft took place between 2015 and 2016. Natalie Saul used over 400 fake invoices and the crime was only uncovered when she went on maternity leave and a new accountant found it. For obvious reasons we are not revealing the name of the FD. We tried to contact him but he wasn't answering.

We also reached out to the FD Centre and Sugru but they haven't commented. The FD Centre stated that as this wasnt in the public domain, they couldt comment. They clearly hadnt read the newspapers.

This FD was an early investor in Sugru and later became the company FD. To be clear there has never been any accusation made against him linking him to the fraud. Bit like Loris Karius, he just missed it when it was his job to stop it.  

The FD makes no mention of his time at Idio Ltd on his extensive list of experiences on Linkedin. However we have evidence that he is the same person who worked at Sugru. Natalie Saul was accused and admitted the fraud at the end of 2016, well before the second Sugru raise on Crowdcube. 

So you have to ask, firstly why did Sugru employ this man to run their finances, did they know about the Idio evidence? Did Crowdcube check this man's background - did they hide this from investors or were they simply ignorant of the facts. Would you invest in a company with such aggressive financial targets if you knew the FD had missed such a colossal fraud in a recent job? How is it possible he is considered competent with that record? Why is he still registered with the FD Centre as a Financial Director?

Did this have any bearing on the mess Sugru are now in re their bank covenants? After all, it was this financial failure that forced the sale of the company for a fraction of its quoted worth, leaving Crowdcube investors with empty pockets. 

All of this reflects poorly on Sugru - but then we know the management were poor. What does it say about Crowdube? Well pretty well everything we have been saying for 6 years. This comes on the same day that the platform are advertising for a new Head of PR at £80k plus perks. Haven't they worked it out yet? They do not need to be spinning more fairy tales and paying £80,000 to some spiv; they need to be presenting good quality, honest, SMEs and start ups with careful DD. Wake up guys. 

1 comment:

  1. Great investigation work, but amounting to only circumstantial evidence of negligence surely.