With the news that hundreds of wealthy investors from South Africa and other parts of the world have been defrauded of more than one billion rand in an audacious Ponzi fraud, ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) have warned investors to be on the lookout for more scams of this type.
“Ever since the financial turmoil last year which caused the Madoff and Stanford incidents to come to light we have been telling our members that there were still far too many deals in the marketplace where investors are being offered unrealistic returns” said Pottengal Mukundan the Chief Executive of CCS. “We are constantly being asked to check suspicious transactions and are often able to detect malpractice and prevent potential victims losing money” he added.
The recent South African case involves a South African businessman now living in Australia, who allegedly lured investors with the prospect of 200% returns linked to pharmaceutical imports. Some of these were connected to fake AIDS drug orders. More than 400 wealthy investors from South Africa, Germany, USA and Australia are believed to have been caught up in the fraud.
One of the key questions is how so many smart and wealthy businessmen got caught up in this fraud which promised exceptional returns. The answer appears, like the Madoff affair, to lie in the apparent credibility of the promoter and the failure of investors to ask whether it was all too good to be true.
A number of lawyers have already been instructed by some of the victims and a welter of litigation is expected to follow as assets are tracked down and secured by creditors. Lawyers from the ICC CCS FraudNet network are expected to be involved in the asset recovery process.
FraudNet was created in 2004 and comprises 50 law firms in 43 jurisdictions throughout the world who specialise in fraud litigation, asset tracing and recovery.
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