Police are investigating the collapse of foreign exchange company, Premier FX, after the company went bust when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) discovered that it was not acting without full authorisation.
Premier FX was licensed only to transfer client funds but, in some cases, the company encouraged clients to leave their cash with them in the expectation that they would benefit from an increase in the foreign exchange rate.
Customers have been told by Administrators that Premier FX had no authority to hold onto client funds and, therefore, they would receive no compensation.
In a statement, the FCA said: “We are very concerned that there was criminal activity taking place at Premier FX in relation to missing funds.
“We are investigating the business undertaken by Premier FX and will take action against any individuals we find to have broken the law in order to return money to customers of the firm.”
Premier FX was used by many clients to buy property in Spain and Portugal.
Civil servants Bryn and Trish Paling, from Bristol, had retired early. They were in the process of buying a new home in the Algarve and transferred £272,000 into Premier FX in order to purchase their new home just before the company went into administration.
Trish Paling, 53, said: “I feel they didn’t just steal our money, they stole our future and our dreams. I found it very depressing and upsetting. I’ve cried and cried and just when I think I have no tears left, I find more.”
The crash of Premier FX was triggered by the sudden death of founder and sole director Peter Rexstrew who died while having heart surgery in a Lisbon hospital in June. His son Charlie Rexstrew and daughter, Katy Grogan, were appointed directors two days later, but stopped trading in July when they were unable to reconcile the company accounts.