Published: 19th October 2011

Two related Final Notices have been published which are interesting in the miscellany of wrong-doings committed.

Mercurius International was a Cayman based hedge fund with investment management undertaken by Mercurius Capital Management Ltd based in EC2. The subjects of the Notices are Mr Fagbulu (Compliance Officer and CFO) and Mr Visser (Director and CEO).

Between them the Notices advise us of a frequent breach of investment restrictions (‘a systematic concealment of the Fund’s true position’); market manipulation (‘cannot have thought … that the best way for a purchaser to make a bargain is to offer more than the seller is willing to accept’) which boosted NAV; detrimental transactions (‘decided to enter into them out of a sense of desperation’) to raise short-term and expensive funds; fictitious transactions (‘failed to offer any real, let alone plausible, explanation of these transactions’) at a time when there were no funds available, the effect of which was to overstate the value of the Fund’s assets; and misleading investor communications (‘concealing facts from investors’).

Both were prohibited from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity. In addition Mr Fagbulu had a penalty of £100,000 imposed on him whilst Mr Visser’s penalty was £2 million. With regard to the latter the Tribunal is quoted as saying ‘Mr Visser’s conduct … was so bad that even £2 million is too little’.

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