Investors scramble to sell shares in Quindell as trading resumes

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Scandal-hit insurance claims handler Quindell saw its shares tumble as trading in the stock resumed after being suspended in June amid a series of investigations.

The Hampshire-based firm’s shares fell as much as 40 per cent as investors rushed to sell after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed on Wednesday it was investigating Quindell just hours after the company revealed a £238m loss for 2014 in long-delayed accounts.

Trading in the stock, listed on London’s junior Aim market, was suspended in June after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it was probing statements made about Quindell accounts.

Quindell has been rocked by a series of scandals over the past year.

Shares were worth 660p at their height last February – valuing the group at around £2.7bn – but the stock plunged last year after a US hedge fund publicly questioned the firm’s business model.

And last November, founder Rob Terry was ousted after allegations over share sales by himself and two other directors.

Richard Rose took over as chairman with aims to restore its reputation, but an independent review by PricewaterhouseCoopers – commissioned by Quindell – found some of Quindell’s accounting policies in the past had been “aggressive”.

Quindell was forced to restate 2013 results and apply the same more conservative accounting to its 2014 figures, which on Wednesday revealed pre-tax losses widened significantly to £238m for 2014, up from £8.6m the year before.

The firm also said it took a £157m hit on the write down of assets.