Fund chief under scrutiny

Money manager featuring in Morgan Grenfell affair also invested in troubled AIM firm

A top fund manager under scrutiny following the Deutsche Morgan Grenfell/Peter Young affair has emerged as a key backer of a public company that features in one of Britain's biggest ever insider-dealing inquiries.

Stephen Bamford, the former head of US insurer Metropolitan Life's international investment arm, invested in Alpha Omikron, an Alternative Investment Market company under review by the Stock Exchange in the insider inquiry.

He also brokered a deal which left Alpha with one of MetLife's loss-making investments, Medical Underwriting Services Ltd (MUSL), a medical information company, in January last year.

MUSL was closed on Valentine's Day after abortive sale attempts and the sacking of its chief executive and staff without statutory severance pay.

Just four days earlier, Alpha's nominated advisers, Henderson Crosthwaite, also resigned and last week chairman Emmanuel Mastorakis was still trying to sign up new brokers to avoid losing its AIM quotation.

"We are in negotiations at the moment. I am not in a position to say anything more right now because of the sensitivity of the issue," he said on Friday.

Until they resigned without explanation in December, Alpha shared two directors, Brian Copsey and Anthony Alderton, in common with Greenhills, an AIM-quoted restaurant group which is in receivership.

Dealings in Greenhills are also being reviewed by the Department of Trade and Industry in a major inquiry into an alleged insider dealing ring operating in the City and offshore.

There is no suggestion that Mr Bamford, any of Alpha or Greenhills' senior management or advisers are implicated in the affair.

Mr Bamford's investments have been scrutinised by investigators probing disgraced fund manager Peter Young's investments, which left a pounds 180m "black hole" in DMG's funds last September.

MetLife's UK-based GFM International Investments, with $1.3bn of funds under management, pumped money into many of the speculative firms that attracted Mr Young.

These included Xavier, an oil firm prospecting in Russia; Princess Resources, a Canadian mining company; Optical Care, a Bermuda-based spectacles seller; Ashurst Technology, another AIM-quoted company advised by Henderson Cros- thwaite; and Isleinvest, an Alberta listed shell.

Mr Bamford, 46, left GFM last April to set up a 50/50 joint venture, Isleinvest Development Capital Corp, with Isleinvest.

Mr Young's losses, which are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, have prompted MetLife to call in accountants Price Waterhouse to review all of his investments.

Isleinvest is headed by Canadian financier Jacob Joseph Elkin, who until last November also headed Ashurst.

So far, DMG's investigators have focused on the role of two brokers, Fiba Nordic and Carnegie, in introducing deals to Mr Young. They are, however, intrigued by Mr Young's apparent links with Henderson, which also included another Russian oil prospecting client, JKX, in which DMG took an 18 per cent stake.

Henderson introduced Mr Bamford to Alpha, Mr Mastorakis said.

The broker has had an unsettled time of late. It has been criticised privately by the exchange over Alpha and last November Guinness Mahon, its merchant bank owner, merged its operations into its own. That led to the departure of chairman Peter Ross. Neither Mr Bamford nor Nigel Tofe, Alpha's contact at Henderson, could be reached yesterday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor