In the first criminal prosecution of its kind by the FSA, a mortgage broker has been fined £6,000 for failing to notify the regulator about a change in control at a regulated firm.
Vijay Kumar Sharma, director at mortgage borker Exetra(UK) Limited, pleaded guilty yesterday at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court to charges of acquiring a controlling interest in the firm without giving the FSA prior notice. He was also charged with making false or misleading statements to the regulator.
He was fined £3,000 for acquiring a controlling interest in a regulated firm without giving the FSA prior notice and another £3,000 for making false and misleading statements to the FSA. Sharma was also ordered to make a contribution towards the FSA's costs.
Delivering the verdict, district judge Purdy says Sharma chose to circumvent the process by not notifying the FSA because he must have known it would mean his application would be refused.
He adds: "These provisions are designed to protect the public from those individuals who are not fit and proper. This sentence will act as deterrence to others."
Margaret Cole, director of enforcement at the FSA, says the regulator must be notified of any changes in control at a firm so it can assess the suitability of the individuals taking over.
She adds: "Sharma's failure to notify us of his acquisition of control at the firm was serious enough in itself. This was made worse by the false and misleading statements he made in his applications to the FSA about the control change and his former employment in the financial services industry."
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