Peer-to-peer lender Zopa tells court it entered into an illegal deal over its investment funding

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa has told a court it made an illegal deal over its investment finance, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The bank made the startling claim in a bitter legal dispute with an adviser claiming £4million in unpaid fees.

Court documents reveal that Zopa is seeking to fend off Kinled Investments’ claims by arguing that the intermediary broke financial rules while performing work for the bank.

Confession: Zopa made the surprising request amid a bitter legal dispute with an adviser claiming £4million in unpaid fees

Zopa’s lawyers described the bank’s own deal with Kinled as “unlawful and unenforceable”, meaning the adviser is not entitled to a commission.

Kinled director Rupert Novis met Zopa boss Jaidev Janardana in 2018, according to the papers, when the lender was seeking investment for a retail banking license.

A subsequent agreement between the two companies is now the subject of the dispute.

Zopa is seeking reimbursement of £345,000 paid to Kinled. Kinled claims it owes £4.2m in commission after introducing Zopa to US investment firm IAG Silverstripe Partners, which then invested £140m in Zopa.

Legal documents show that Kinled denies any criminality. Zopa said Silverstripe’s decision to invest was “not based on any relationship with Kinled”. A trial will take place next month.

FCA and Zopa have both been contacted for comment.