'Evil Knievil' owed £150,000 by collapsed WorldSpreads

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The Independent Online

Simon Cawkwell, the iconoclastic investor who goes by the nickname "Evil Knievil", is owed £150,000 by collapsed spread betting firm WorldSpreads.

That such a well-known figure is on the list of creditors will raise interest in the City about which other names are caught up in the scandal surrounding the firm.

WorldSpreads, an AIM-listed outfit based in Minster Court in the heart of the Square Mile, fell into disgrace last week when the firm admitted "a review of the firm's financial position" had uncovered "possible financial irregularities".

The chief executive and finance director both immediately left.

WorldSpreads has since uncovered a £13m shortfall in clients' money. The suggestion is the firm was not properly separating its money from that of clients, though this has yet to be confirmed.

This has left thousands of investors out of pocket, although the first £50,000 of individual losses are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Nearly 70 staff have been laid off.

Mr Cawkwell said he had been due to meet with chief executive Conor Foley and Old Etonian chairman Lindsay McNeile – whom he has known for more than 20 years – over an account dispute before the collapse.

He said: "My total losses from failed stockbrokers and spread-betting firms over the past four years is around £1m."

He expects to see around £25,000 of the cash he is owed by WorldSpreads.

On Friday, a receiver was appointed to oversee the next stage of the firm's wind-up. KPMG are the special administrators.

Several parties have expressed an interest in buying parts of WorldSpreads. ETX Capital is seen as the most likely to secure a deal.

WorldSpreads says that the total amount owed to clients is £29.7m. It has cash balances of £16.6m, a figure that may be dipped into in order pay KPMG.