Linklaters usurps Wragges for Torex SFO probe

Torex Retail has appointed magic circle firm Linklaters ahead of usual go-to firm Wragge & Co to act on its behalf in an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The investigation comes two days after the SFO conducted searches relating to an investigation into potential false accounting of up to £6.5m of cash in the AIM-listed company’s interim results.

A Wragge & Co spokeswoman said: “Yes, Linklaters is advising Torex on the current inquiries. We are still acting (on other matters) but with the company in a state of
flux, that position could change anytime.”

Wragges have been main advisers for the Oxfordshire-based company since August 2006 but the company needed independent advice on the investigation.

The fraud investigation was launched after Torex Retail’s chief executive Neil Mitchell made allegations of false accounting, fraudulent transactions and money laundering.

Three of the men at the centre of the SFO investigation have all resigned, including Chris Moore, the Torex founder who was previously chairman of Ascribe.

Last week, Torex’s former chairman Rob Loosemore stepped down from the board of London Capital Group, with Mark Woodridge resigning from two boardroom positions three days later.

In addition to the SFO investigation, the London Stock Exchange’s Aim team is investigating the situation, as well as the Financial Services Authority.