Two London newspapers, business news oriented CityAM and the London Evening Standard, have named retail forex broker CWM FX as being the mystery financial institution associated with a police raid last week at Heron Tower in London’s financial district.
CityAM first reported the incident last Tuesday, reporting that an unnamed financial services firm based in the Heron Tower at 110 Bishopsgate in London had its offices raided by the London police fraud squad, resulting in the arrest of 13 employees – 10 men and three women. The arrests were related to suspicion of money laundering, as well as fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud. Although a police operation, the raid was supported by the UK’s financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Two days later, CityAM reported that retail forex broker CWM FX – which lists the Heron Tower (see at right) in its contact details – wrote on its official Twitter account: “CWM FX is operating as normal. Merely an AML [anti-money laundering] enquiry & had no correspondence to us.” The tweet was apparently deleted later in the day. CWM FX later denied to CityAM that it has been raided by the police or that it has been implicated in any investigation at all.
The following day (Friday March 6), CityAM ran an article entitled Heron Tower police raid: The colorful world of Chelsea FC’s forex partner CWM FX, giving more background on the company and its colorful CEO Anthony Constantinou. The article mentioned that CWM FX had engaged high-profile lawyer Charlotte Harris of Kingsley Napley LLP (best known for her role in a phone-hacking inquiry) – through Harris CWM FX denied that it has been raided by the police or that it has been implicated in any investigation at all.
We would note that LeapRate reporters also were informed that the raid occurred at CWM FX. After calling CWM FX’s offices, LeapRate was contacted by Ms. Harris, who offered ‘our best to assist’. After writing back to Ms. Harris that we were informed that the raid had occurred at CWM FX, no further correspondence was received.
The London Evening Standard also issued an article entitled When 13 are arrested in the City, clients deserve more answers, stating that the ‘raids [were] believed to have been at the offices of the financial group CWM.’
So who exactly is CWM FX?
Well on its website the company states that it is operated by Leverate Financial Services Limited – a Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF). We believe that to be untrue. First, there is no ownership link between forex platform provider Leverate and CWM FX. And, to the best of our knowledge, Leverate does not ‘operate’ CWM FX. CWM FX is just a client using a Leverate software platform to run its forex business, also taking advantage of Leverate’s regulated status for liquidity.
Anthony Constantinou meets Princess Anne at the London boat show.
As we stated above, CWM FX is owned and operated by entrepreneur Anthony Constantinou as part of his CWM World empire. CWM has made a splash recently with some large (mainly sports) sponsorships, including Chelsea FC. CWM reports being the ‘Official Online FX Trading Partner’ of Chelsea, in a deal running until 2018. CWM also sponsors the London Boat Show, LCR Honda MotoGP, and Wigan Warriors Rugby. As the London Evening Standard stated, ‘If you’re into Chelsea FC, sailing or boxing, you may have heard of CWM, which sprinkles sponsorship around like confetti.’
LeapRate will continue to follow this story as it develops.