Until sometime back no one imagined that a millionaire who ran what seemed to be an investment firm is actually a fraudster who ran a Â£70 million Ponzi-style investment scam. Anthony Constantinou, who is absconding, has been convicted by the UK's South Walk Crown court for one count of fraud, two counts of fraudulent trading and four counts of money laundering.
Constantinou did not attend the last few hearings of his trail and an international arrest warrant has been issued to trace him. He ran Capital World Markets (CWM) which offered investors returns of 60% per year on what he claimed were risk-free foreign exchange (FX) markets.
Who is Anthony Constantinou?
Constantinou is the son of Aristos, a business czar from a fashion domain, who was murdered in London locality Billionaire's Row. His murder mystery remained unsolved. For three decades no one knew much about Anthony Constantinou. He started fast growing company on the 21st floor of a skyscraper in London. He first came into limelight in 2014 when he got married in Santorini Island, flying guests over in a private jet. He even met princess Anne when his company organized a boat show in London in 2015.
How he Managed the Fraud
His company CWM was in operation from late 2013 to early 2015, and Constantinou promised investors 5 percent monthly returns in exchange for introducing them to CWM. The initial minimum investment was Â£50,000 in the early stages of the scam, but this was increased to Â£100,000 in the later stages.Those who signed up were taken in by CMW's high-end City of London offices and high-profile sports sponsorship deals, including one with Premier League club Chelsea.
According to City of London Police, despite significant funds from more than 250 known victims, the money was not invested in foreign exchange and the alleged returns were paid back to the investors from their own and others' invested capital.Investors were told similar stories about what would happen to their money and how the scheme worked: only 10% of capital was at risk, while the other 90% was safely held in a "segregated account" in Germany.
Investors were reassured the risk was further reduced, with the 10% being protected by matching funds in CWM and a guarantee from Constantinou himself. Although many people were involved in all this, but Constantinou was the only person who knew everything. The company lent potential customers an air of legitimacy that vanished instantly after police raided Constantinou's office in Salesforce Tower for a lead in 2015.
Investigation related to his fraud started in 2014. Throughout the lengthy investigations Constantinou has denied any wrongdoing or involvement. He stopped attending trail mid-way. He ran away to Bulgaria, where he was arrested briefly for carrying fake documents, but later he was let-off, and he still remains on the run.