The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announces that it has decided to make an order, pursuant to section 56 of the Act, prohibiting Paul Seakens from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity carried on by any authorised person, exempt person or exempt professional firm.
Mr Seakens committed offences of converting criminal property (i.e. money laundering) and fraudulent trading.
Given the nature and circumstances of the offending, the Authority considers that Mr Seakens is not a fit and proper person to perform any function in relation to any regulated activity carried on by any authorised or exempt persons or exempt professional persons. This is because he lacks the necessary honesty, integrity and reputation.
The regulator finds that Mr Seakens poses a serious threat to consumers and to confidence in the financial system.
Mr Seakens has been the director of Opus Capital Limited (now in liquidation) since 19 November 2010. He was approved by the Authority to perform the CF1 (Director), CF10 (Compliance Oversight), CF11 (Money Laundering Reporting) and CF30 (Customer) functions at OCL from 8 November 2010 to 15 March 2017.
On 12 May 2021, at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Seakens was tried and convicted of one count of fraudulent trading and four counts of converting criminal property. On 28 May 2021, Mr Seakens was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment and was disqualified as a director for 12 years under section 2 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
Between 2011 and 2014, Mr Seakens used OCL (trading as Carbon Neutral Investments Ltd) as a vehicle to create and operate a fraudulent clearing business.
His business cleared approximately £36 million of investor monies, of which over £600,000 comprised expenses put through the business, a large part of which was of benefit to Mr Seakens. Mr Seakens also sent £3.2 million of investor monies to unknown overseas accounts and has failed to disclose the beneficiaries of those accounts.
The sentencing judge stated that the total amount involved in the overall fraud was approximately £36 million. The investors included elderly people who suffered a negative impact on their health and retirement, and others had to re-mortgage or sell their homes.
The Authority therefore makes an order prohibiting Mr Seakens from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity carried on by an authorised person, exempt person or exempt professional firm.