Woodford hires ex-FBI agent to investigate £16m paper loss

Woodford-Neil-2014.jpgNeil Woodford has hired a former FBI agent to investigate an American drugs developer after claims of financial irregularities pushed him to a $24m (£16m) paper loss.

The Times reports that Woodford Investment Management has written to the board of Northwest Biotherapeutics calling on the company to appoint the ex-FBI agent as a non-executive director.

Elliot Leary is said to have met the board after the company agreed in principle to his appointment.

The appointment comes after a report by equities research group Phase Five alleged financial irregularities between Northwest and companies related to its chairman and chief executive Linda Powers.

Woodford is the second biggest shareholder in Northwest with a 28 per cent. Woodford Investment Management invested $95m, which is now worth about $71m after the share price fell by 62 per cent since a peak in July.

Shareholders have filed a complaint objecting to “certain transactions”. Northwest has dismissed the allegations and plans to defend the complaint against it.