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Purplebricks bonus bonanza despite anti-money laundering blunder

If anyone thought the days of Purplebricks bosses making millions were in the past,  think again.

The chief executive and chief finance officer have been awarded shares worth more than £3m as part of a rewards scheme - and this is despite a reported breach of anti-money laundering legislation by the company.

Vic Darvey was yesterday granted 2.5m shares while Andy Botha - the finance head who joined just months ago - received 1.7m shares.

Purplebricks’ share price closed on Friday at 73p, making the awards worth £1.8m and £1.24m respectively.

The bonuses have been made despite an alleged breach in AML regulations by the company.

Purplebricks' 2020 annual report says: "Regrettably, the Group incurred a fine from HMRC for historical breaches of certain aspects of the UK’s anti-money laundering legislation. We have since improved our anti-money laundering controls.” The fine was just under £267,000.

HM Revenue & Customs says the agency had been guilty of “failures in having the correct policies, controls and procedures, conducting due diligence and timing of verification”. It cannot appeal against the verdict or fine.

Last year Countrywide was fined £215,000 by HMRC, again for breaching AML legislation.

Only yesterday Estate Agent Today reported that the Swiss bank UBS advised its clients to consider buying Purplebricks shares, anticipating that a new fees structure to be announced soon might boost the company.

UBS was also optimistic that the agency would at last become more successful in the UK following the disposal of all international activities - most recently the Canadian operation, sold for some £35m.

The executives' windfalls may be difficult to square with the agency’s more recent trading performance, as well as the AML breach. 

Instructions fell 23 per cent in the year to the end of April, most of which was well before the Coronavirus lockdown.

And in March of this year the agency’s share price - which launched at 100p five years ago - hit an all-time low of 22p. It has rallied since but remains well below that launch price. 

In its last financial year the agency’s revenues fell two per cent to £111.1m while the firm’s total loss for the year was £19.2m.

  • icon

    Pay a pathetic support fund during Covid, take making that decision to the last minute causing stress and anxiety amongst its workforce, then after a month decide to withdraw that fund. But pay yourselves yeh?! I also hear you've 'done over' TO's of their shares, who helped create the business and been loyal throughout. Shameful.

  • icon

    One wonders about the sanity of the board approving such large grants so early in tenure....what are they based on?

  • icon

    The interesting thing, they screwed over the majority of the TO that built the business, stole the businesses back without buying them back, lied continually. blamed everyone else. stole money back from their loyal experts.

    This shameful company is run by a shameful board who laughs at hard-working people that they brake each day.

    Trying to hide behind the lies the Bruce Brothers told isn't good enough either.


  • Samantha Sullivan

    Is this a joke?


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