On 9th August 2022, at the conclusion of a trial at Southwark Crown Court which had lasted over 4 months, Mr Schools was convicted on all five counts, including charges of “fraudulent trading”, “fraud by abuse of position” and “money laundering”.
On 11th August, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The Axiom Fund was set up in 2009 by Mr Schools to provide loans to law firms pursuing no-win-no-fee cases. It secured over £100 million from approximately 500 investors, from which Mr Schools dishonestly appropriated over £19.6 million. The monies were hidden in offshore bank accounts held within complex overseas trusts, and were used to finance a lavish lifestyle that included the purchase of shares in a luxury ski hotel in France, a motorboat, luxury cars and a £5 million estate in the Lake District.
Paul Raudnitz QC appeared together with Miranda Moore QC and Aparna Rao.
He has been instructed in the case since shortly after the inception of the SFO investigation, advising and appearing at every stage in the proceedings.
The convictions represent the successful culmination of an extremely complex investigation stretching back over eight years.
The case has been widely reported:-
SFO press release
The Evening Standard
Law Society Gazette
The Daily Mail