ECONOMY

Fraud scheme extended to many countries

The owners of a fraudulent investment scheme, which milked hundreds of millions of euros from unsuspecting Greek investors, have international activity that extends to Latin America. Data provident by the USA's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that Hedley Finance, the owners of Goldsmith, the offshore company operating in Glyfada, had been sentenced to pay a fine of $6.2 million two years ago. SEC had imposed fines upon Hedley Manager Christian Dante, Antonis Zioudas of Greek firm Z-Finance and the Metropolitan of Limassol, Chrysanthos Chrysostomou.

A search by Greece's financial crimes squad (SDOE) points the finger to two brothers, as well as a «well-known businessman» as the masterminds of the defrauding scheme, which promised investors returns of 20 to 100 percent within 10 working days. SDOE has further revealed that Hedley Finance had collaborators in almost every Greek prefecture. A short time before the company closed its offices, its agent in Pieria prefecture had deposited 300 million euros with the firm.

A SDOE search of one of the company's managers has found that he is the owner of several companies registered abroad. SDOE has only interviewed eight of the fraudulent scheme's victims, while there have been over 300 instances of people denouncing the scheme to SDOE. The exact amount of money defrauded in the operation may never be known. What it is known is that most victims not only received not only none of the promised «risk-free» interest but not even their principal. Hedley Finance's offices in Glyfada were part of the trap. Sumptuously laid out, with computer equipment worth millions of euros, they lured investors into believing that this was a serious operation, not something fly-by-night.

The two managers of the company were also participants in investment company Talantian, which, according to our information, still operates. Another company, Deal FX went bankrupt a few months ago.

The aforementioned managers had attempted to use listed firm Alisida as a vehicle to list Deal FX on the Athens Stock Exchange.