London-based fund firm Beaufort Securities has been charged with money laundering and securities fraud by the US Department of Justice, the FCA has revealed.
In a statement this afternoon, the FCA said that it had been cooperating with the US agency over its investigations into six separate individuals.
The indictment from the DOJ alleges that Beaufort “engaged in an elaborate multi-year scheme to defraud the investing public of millions of dollars through deceit and manipulative stock trading, and then worked to launder the fraudulent proceeds through off-shore bank accounts and the art world”.
It includes allegations the firm told an undercover agent to purchase a Pablo Picasso painting as part of a laundering scheme.
The regulator also said that it had now imposed restrictions on Beaufort to cease all regulated activity, and to tell its clients that they can no longer accept any business.
Earlier on Friday, the FCA had announced that it had been successful in a court order to declare Beaufort insolvent and freeze its assets.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme also updated its website to say that it was aware of the situation with regard to the firms, was working with the administrators, and will provide further updates in due course.