Three arrested in SFO investigation

Three men have been arrested as part of an investigation into Luis Michael Training, a company which used to deliver football-based apprenticeships.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says the individuals were arrested as part of a search operation on four homes and a business property early this morning.

Two of the men who were arrested have been interviewed and released without charge on unconditional bail.

The SFO says the third man is still being interviewed, but will also be released under similar circumstances.

The search operation involved 52 SFO investigators and 20 police officers from the Gwent, South Wales, Greater Manchester and Merseyside police forces.

Luis Michael Training was a training provider, funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), which enrolled, assessed and verified apprenticeships and NVQ programmes for young people through football clubs.

A press release issued by the SFO reads: “It is suspected that LMT produced false documentation, including registration papers, progress reviews and coaching examination certificates to falsely show to further education colleges and examining boards that training and apprenticeship placements had been successfully achieved and completed.”

It later adds: “It is believed that LMT fraudulently overstated the number of students and apprenticeships that they had placed.

“The suspected offences include fraudulent trading, false accounting and forgery.”

(A full report will be in the next edition of FE Week)