Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Five Britons in court in UK for Mallorca pyramid fraud

08:29 |


Five British citizens are in court in the United Kingdom shortly for having allegedly set up a pyramid selling fraud which resulted in 70 residents of Calvià on Mallorca being defrauded out of 12 million €. They are alleged to have captured 150 investors in several countries, promising enormous profits on the stock market from a company called Gilher Inc. The accused are charged with massive fraud, money laundering in Panama and the Seychelles, although they are all claiming innocence. The Serious Fraud Office says the operation started in 2001 and has named the main accused as 60 year old John Hirst, from Brighouse, and Richard John Pollet from Poole, both of whom had luxury villas in Calvià with an active social life. They were members of Mallorca Cricket Club and the Rotary Club, and they offered interest of up to 18%. It was 1.5% return per month, making 18% per annum, and a 2% bonus was paid if invested for a year. Police say that they managed to capture as many as 70 British residents of Mallorca, mostly retired people who often handed over their life savings and sums of between 11,000 and 223,000 €. Similar numbers of victims were seen in France and the United States, who paid over some 12 million € in total under the promise of large profits. Problems started at the end of 2009 when the first complaints about fraud were seen. Hirst and Pollet have both denied the charges when they appeared at Bradford Crown Court in a plea and case-management hearing. Hirst pleaded not guilty to money laundering linked to a 33,000 pound transfer from the Bank of Cyprus to Gilher Inc, and a 428,000 pound investment in Last Second Tickets Limited. His wife Linda, pleaded not guilty to various money laundering charges including one related to the purchase of a 552,000 pound house with her daughter Zoe in Send, Surrey in 2008. All five defendants were granted bail until the pre-trial hearing which is expected on April 20, and Judge Durham Hall has confirmed the trial date has been set for June 18. It’s expected to last eight weeks.

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