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A LEADING commercial investigator has launched an appeal to the nation's lawyers to help track down fraudulent investment companies.
Martin Urch, head of chartered accountants Haines Watts' commercial investigations and litigation support department, adds that lawyers will benefit from information he can provide on various firms.
He says securities companies operating out of Ireland, which is not subject to an equivalent of the UK Financial Services Act, are enticing UK firms to make bad investments through the use of spurious information.
He says: "Ireland has become a Mecca for securities companies ostensibly operating as an intermediary between investors wishing to purchase shares and stockbroking firms.
"It is of great concern to us that some dishonest investment intermediaries have deliberately set up in Ireland, carrying on business with UK investors outside the protection afforded by the self-regulatory organisations."
He points out that clients of such unauthorised companies are ineligible for compensation from the investors compensation fund which is available to investors in the UK.
He adds: "Investigations have revealed that clients' funds have not been used exclusively in accordance with their instructions.
"Such bad investments are now beginning to come to light, with UK investors visiting their solicitor for advice on recovery of their assets.
"Solicitors will have valuable information which will help us to fight these people. And information we could provide to them may be of interest to clients thinking of making investments through an Irish securities company."