Sipp provider boss released from arrest

Sipp provider STM Group has announced its boss Alan Kentish has been released from arrest by the Royal Gibraltar Police “without any charge” following an ongoing tax investigation.

The chief executive of the group, which owns the likes of London & Colonial, has been involved in a tax dispute with the country’s authority’s over dealings between 2008 and 2013.

In October, Kentish was arrested on an allegation of failure to disclose under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2015. STM says that it had filed two relevant suspicious activity reports two years previously.

Trading in STM shares on AIM was suspended for around a day before the announcement of the release of Kentish on 14 November.

The firm says it submitted an application for judicial review against the Royal Gibraltar Police to the Supreme Court in Gibraltar on 9 November, but no date for this hearing has yet been set.

STM says Kentish continues to “cooperate fully” with the RGP during the ongoing investigation. Separately, STM says Kentish has voluntarily resigned from two Gibraltar regulated subsidiaries to avoid any potential reputational damages.

The move will allow Kentish to “fully focus on furthering the strategic objectives” of the firm, it said, including starting the process of the relocation of the group’s head office out of Gibraltar as previously announced.

In a separate announcement, STM said it has appealed against the Gibraltar financial regulator as it looked to appoint inspectors to investigate compliance and governance concerns at the Sipp provider.

STM says the regulator had visited its subsidiaries between September and October 2016, and once single in March to review the centralised compliance function in Gibraltar. Following these visits, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission stated they have “some concerns” on certain aspects of compliance, governance and controls and the provision of professional and trustee services.

However, the GFSC has told the Gibraltar-based STM subsidiaries that its case is not connected to Kentish’s arrest.

STM says: “The GFSC advised the subsidiaries at the time of issuing the notices of appointment that the appointments are not connected to the recent allegations against Alan Kentish disclosed in the company’s announcement of 30 October 2017.”

The appointments of an inspector have been stayed until a further hearing on 20 November.