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Home REIT “under investigation for bribery” according to reports

Home REIT is being investigated for bribery by the National Crime Agency, according to reports.

According to the reports in City AM and Investment Week, several documents have been handed over to the NCA, which is considering passing them on to the Financial Conduct Authority and the National Investigation Service (NATIS), which investigates serious organised crime relating to the public sector, the reports state.

Home REIT’s board has begun an internal investigation into payments made to a previously undisclosed third party as part of deals where the company “appears to have significantly overpaid for rundown housing stock”, the reports add.

Home REIT has said that the NCA has not yet been in contact.

It is the latest, but potentially most damaging, allegation levelled at the company since a short seller report was published in November 2022.

It has come under intense scrutiny over the fragility of its business model and the quality of housing it provided to charities and community interest companies.

A number of its charity tenants have stopped paying rent to the company due the state of the housing it provides or because promised upgrade works have not materialised.

Home REIT’s shares were temporarily suspended at the beginning of January after it failed to publish its annual financial report for its year end August 31 within the regulatory timeline.

Its board has faced calls to stand down, while the company faces legal action from shareholders.

The company’s AGM is due to take place on 20 February, where it will update shareholders on its plan to move forward.

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