Crypto firm tied to UK politics disappeared with investor cash

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A UK crypto firm that disappeared, leaving 8,000 investors, including a Premier League footballer, locked out of their investments, has ignited fierce debate around the issue of corporate lobbying in UK politics.

Phoenix Community Capital was at one point rumored to be worth $800 million and offered its customers investments that would supposedly make them their money back in 45 days. 

Customers could purchase ten of the company’s own Fire tokens. With these tokens, they could then buy one ‘nest,’ and each nest owned would return 0.225 Fire tokens every day. This, in theory, would result in 45-day investment returns. 

However, as The Guardian reports, the firm vanished in 2022, locking an estimated 8,000 investors out of their funds. Investors included former Premier League footballer, Alan Rogers, who lost close to $50,000, while others lost sums ranging from $6,000 to $100,000.

The company’s assets have since been sold to a company run by someone opaquely known as ‘Dan,’ and it’s told investors that it has no obligation towards them, but would still try to make them some returns.

Disappearing firm sparks lobbying debate 

The firm’s CEO and co-founder, Luke Sullivan, started the company in 2021. Barely a year later, he was invited to sit in on an All-Party Political Group (APPG) on cryptocurrency.

An APPG is a collective comprising members of different political parties, brought together to focus on a particular topic. Typically, APPGs are run by MPs, but can also be organized and funded by private entities, raising concerns about lobbyists being able to influence government policy. 

Crypto policy is a high priority in the UK as the country grapples with the fallout from FTX’s collapse and legislators are looking to shape the law on crypto in a largely unregulated sector. 

Read more: FOI reveals 32 UK crypto traders lost over $2M to FTX

Phoenix Community Capital gave $6,000 to a blockchain-focused APPG and also appeared on the group’s website as a corporate partner. Sullivan also claims to be a founding member and advisor for an APPG focused on the metaverse and web 3.0.

In response, the secretariat for the APPG on blockchain said Phoenix Community Capital, “didn’t participate in the APPG blockchain evidence sessions to my knowledge.”

Speaking for the APPG on the metaverse, the group’s chair said: “Mr Sullivan has not been involved in our APPG at any time or capacity and certainly did not seek permission or inform us prior to making any reference to the APPG on metaverse and web 3.0.”

Sullivan told the Guardian it had made “a number of factual errors” and that he’s not being allowed to “clarify the real facts,” before refusing to respond to further requests for comment.

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