Three further charges brought against Lumiere Wealth’s Byrne

Christopher Paul Byrne, the founder and managing director of Lumiere Wealth Ltd, a Jersey advisory firm, has appeared once again in Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court, on three fresh allegations, including making false promises to persuade a pensioner to invest £200,000 (US$248,616). 

As reported, Byrne was arrested last month “in connection with” ongoing investigations into the firm and its ties to Guernsey-registered Providence Funds.

According to BBC Radio Jersey,  Byrne, 48, an Irish national who lives in St Helier, is charged with making false promises to persuade someone to invest £200,000 (US$248,616), providing regulators with misleading information, and failing to provide regulators with documents they had asked for.

Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court heard yesterday that these charges all relate to the multimillion-pound investment scheme with links to Jersey, Guernsey, Brazil and the United States.

Byrne first appeared in court in October charged with falsely obtaining money from a pensioner for his own use.

Further three charges

Yesterday, he faced a further three charges. The allegations are that in 2014 he made a statement, promise or forecast which he knew to be misleading, false or dishonest in order to persuade a woman in her 60s to invest £200,000 (US$248,616).

The other two new charges relate to this summer, when Mr Byrne is accused of knowingly or recklessly providing the Jersey Financial Services Commission with false or misleading information and failing to provide the commission with information requested.

Flight risk

Byrne was once again refused bail as he has been deemed a potential flight risk during his first court appearance having reportedly purchased a one-way ticket to Luton, the BBC Radio Jersey report said.

He was remanded in custody and will appear again on 5 December.

As reported previously, according to a statement on its website, the Jersey Financial Services Commission said it was “aware of the arrest on Friday 7 October, 2016 of Mr Christopher Paul Byrne in connection with the current investigation regarding Lumiere Wealth Ltd, and in this respect has been working closely with the Joint Financial Crimes Unit”.

JFSC investigation

“The JFSC’s investigation is on-going, and so no further statement will nor can be made at this stage, although the JFSC will keep this under review in light of any future developments,” the statement added.

As reported, Lumiere was officially wound up by the Jersey Royal Court. In making the winding-up application, advocate Elena Moran told the Jersey court that investors had wrongly believed that their money was being placed with Providence’s two Brazilian companies. Some investors had been ‘promised’ returns of 14%, according to a report in Jersey local newspaper the Jersey Evening Post.

Providence connection

Although the JFSC’s statement didn’t mention it, Byrne’s arrest is thought to be in connection with an ongoing investigation into Lumiere’s role in recommending a Guernsey fund known as Providence Investment Funds PCC Ltd.

As reported here in August, Guernsey-based Brazilian debt fund Providence Investment Funds and its manager Providence Investment Management International Ltd were placed into administration, after the directors of both companies resigned.

Guernsey and Jersey

According to local press reports earlier this year, Lumiere Wealth had originally been set up in Guernsey in 2014, and moved to Jersey the following year, where it occupied offices at Castle Quay on the St Helier waterfront.

An advertisement for Lumiere Wealth in 2015 notes that Byrne “worked for more than 15 years as a wealth manager at RBS International and Natwest Offshore in Jersey”.

Lumiere Wealth was majority-owned by Providence Global, and its advertising featured a stylised lighthouse image as part of its logo, which was identical to that used in Providence Global’s marketing materials.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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