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SFO abandons search for £103m missing Keydata funds

The Serious Fraud Office has abandoned its investigation into the whereabouts of £103m of missing Keydata assets linked to David Elias.

The SFO began investigating Keydata in July 2009, one month after the company was placed into administration.

The investigation attempted to locate £103m invested in secure income bonds and sold to Keydata investors. This money was invested in bonds issued by a Luxembourg-based company called SLS Capital SA.

After PricewaterhouseCoopers had been appointed as administrators of Keydata, it was discovered that SLS had not paid income and fees due to Keydata and the assets it was responsible for had been misappropriated. SLS itself was subsequently wound up and a liquidator appointed in Luxembourg.

SLS had four corporate director companies, three based in Labuan and Malaysia, and BWT Capital which was based in Luxembourg.

BWT Capital was controlled by Elias, a controversial business figure who was declared dead in May 2009 after reportedly suffering pneumonia while he was living in Singapore.

However, the timing of his death – just a month before the FSA investigation into Keydata began – led to reports the SFO believed Elias may still be alive.

In a statement issued last week, the SFO said: “Substantial efforts have been made to trace the assets of SLS Capital SA and David Elias in overseas jurisdictions since September 2010.

“These efforts have not met with any success and it is considered unlikely that the situation will change. Accordingly, the SFO is closing this case and will not be pursuing any further enquiries in relation to this matter.”

Plan Money director Pete Chadborn says: “This is clearly disappointing for the Keydata investors who have lost out, although many advisers will be relieved this fiasco now appears to be drawing to a close.”

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