Jacob Rees-Mogg’s firm accused of profiteering from coronavirus crisis

Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, arrives for a cabinet meeting in Downing Street. Ph

Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, arrives for a cabinet meeting in Downing Street. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg's investment firm has been accused of profiteering from the coronavirus by exploiting the worldwide market volatility.

The Tory Brexiteer MP previously founded Somerset Capital Management, which is investing in businesses that have been hit hard by the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19.

He retains a 15% stake in the business despite stepping down last year to become the leader of the House of Commons last year.

According to the Sunday Mirror the firm's executives have told clients the crisis is a 'once in a generation' chance to earn 'super normal returns'.

Management at the firm are said to be swallowing up those businesses it expects to 'bounce back' when the global economies recover.

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It is predicted that if the strategy works there could be gains of up to 500% akin to the profits made after the 2008 economic crisis.

Comments made by one of the bosses said: 'History has shown us that super normal returns can be made during this type of environment.

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'Market dislocations of this magnitude happen rarely, perhaps once or twice in a generation, and have historically provided excellent entry points for investors.'

The reports come as more than 700 people have died in the UK - including a boy aged just five.

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Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said: 'Nobody should be seeking to take advantage of this crisis. We should all be asking ourselves what we can do for our country and each other.'

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell added: 'This is about as sick as it comes. Profit seeking from suffering is nearly as low as you can get. When we come through this we need a tax on profiteers.'

Rees-Mogg's office declined to comment but Oliver Crawley, a partner at the firm, said: 'The human cost of the virus is devastating and we take it very seriously, but our job as investment managers is to remain rational during periods of extreme volatility, in order to carefully invest our clients' savings and pensions for their long-term security.'

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