Ex-Lumiere boss found guilty of £2.7m fraud by Jersey court

Pedro Gonçalves
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The former boss of Jersey-based Lumiere Wealth has been found guilty of misleading a group of elderly, vulnerable and financially inexperienced clients in order to obtain £2.7m of their money, which he then invested in a high-risk fund and lost.

Christopher Paul Byrne (50), the former chief executive of Lumiere Wealth Limited,was found guilty of 15 charges brought against him and will now face prison for the serious fraud. He will remain in custody before being sentenced.

The month-long trial involved evidence from the Jersey Financial Services Commission and his former clients, which included an elderly French couple, a pensioner and a partially-blind 79-year-old.

Over a four-week Jurat trial in the Royal Court he told the court he had advised clients to buy into Providence funds because he believed so strongly in it.

But investors who collectively lost over £3 million said he told them the fund was low-risk and failed to disclose that it was the majority shareholder in Lumiere.

The Court found that Byrne persuaded his clients into investing in Providence even if it wasn’t suitable for them by concealing information as to the risks involved as well as his own vested interest in the fund.

His pay deal with Providence had him on track to earn £1.5m in 2016, the year both Lumiere and Providence collapsed.

Lumiere Wealth was closed down in 2016. However,  police in Guernsey are continuing to investigate Lumiere’s sister company there.