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Home REIT and former fund managers could be investigated by SFO - report

Published 20/03/2024, 11:25
© Reuters.  Home REIT and former fund managers could be investigated by SFO - report
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Proactive Investors - Home REIT (LON:HOMEH) is reportedly being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, adding to probes by the City watchdog and a legal action from shareholders.

As part of a wider inquiry, officials at the SFO have been talking to several former employees of former fund manager Alvarium but have not yet opened a formal investigation, City AM reported.

Shares in the real estate investment trust have been suspended since January 2023, having plunged 99% after a 27-page report was published by US-based short-seller Viceroy Research, a run by former social worker Fraser Perring.

The SFO is understood to be examining whether former fund manager Alvarium was aware that certain property developers it bought housing from were supplying false information and whether the firm then misled the market and investors over the trust's and its tenants' financial stability.

Last year Home REIT saw several of its tenants go under and a review it commissioned by forensic accountants Alvarez & Marsal uncovered “certain undisclosed potential outside business interests and undeclared potential conflicts of interest as between certain persons associated with [Alvarium] and third parties”.

In December a law firm representing investors in legal action against the trust and Alvarium said the value of the portfolio was worth less than half of what was spent on acquisitions.

Last month the Financial Conduct Authority and the government's charities regulator both launched their investigations, with the SFO working with the FCA, according to City AM.

The SFO said it does not confirm or deny any potential investigations.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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