I had an animated discussion yesterday with David Marchant, editor of OffshoreAlert.com. David specialises in uncovering fraud perpetrated through international financial centres and two years ago blasted open the massive Belvedere Ponzi scheme masterminded by South Africans Cobus Kellermann and David Cosgrove.
Fractions of the money will trickle back because the occasional scheme was put together legally (for appearances perhaps?) but for most of those who trusted the marketing blurb, as Marchant says below, having been cheated means staying cheated.
He was responding to a heartbreaking request from a Biznews community member who invested their money into Kellermann’s Kijani Commodity Fund, the original Ponzi whose “performance record” of uninterrupted growth first tipped off Marchant that something dodgy was going on. The lesson is clear: When dealing with investment advisors, be very careful. – Alec Hogg
A Biznews community member writes:
Please could you help me.
I am desperately trying to get details about claiming against Kijani, AMI England.
I am ill and had to be in Ireland in order to get onto cell donor list. So in order to protect my 90-year-old mother and our grandson we formed a trust – the monies from the trust were to be carefully invested.
I feel so responsible for this. We were introduced to a investment advisor by our accountant who at the time was the Consul to the Netherlands in KZN. Monies were invested via a firm AMI in England and we can get no replies about our investment. Every bit has gone wrong.
We have contacted PWC about Kijani but no one will tell us how to start our claim.
We were also supposed to be invested in HSBC through the investment advisor (Andrew) but for 6 months he has been supplying excuses.
I am still in Ireland and still receiving treatment and we don’t have much money left to fight legal cases
Please can you tell me who I should be contacting to claim some of our monies
We put all our life savings into AMI and even the very staid investment have been pulled out by them and they won’t supply instructions – they are still charging us fees
We would be grateful for any help/information.
David Marchant of OffshoreAlert.com responds:
I know this isn’t what you want to hear but investors will receive nothing back in the liquidation. All of the money has been embezzled by insiders.
I don’t say this lightly. I’ve done a tremendous amount of research into Kijani, Brighton SPC, into which Kijani Commodity Fund was transferred, and other members of the group. The Kijani part of the group is being liquidated by Simon Conway and David Walker, of PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Cayman Islands.
As a formality, you should register your claim with them, if you haven’t already done so. I believe the first point of contact is Ben Henshilwood, who can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at +1 (345) 914-8743.
They will send you liquidators’ reports, as and when they are produced, and other general communications to investors and creditors. I wouldn’t spend any significant amount of time sending questions to PwC.
Your money has been stolen, it will not be recovered … your time is better spent on other things. I’ve seen many victims of financial crime waste a lot of time, money and stress chasing after a lost cause. It’s simply not worth it, in my opinion.
If you’re not prepared to write-off your investment, you might want to explore a legal claim against the people who introduced you to, and recommended, Kijani, e.g. your investment advisor and the “accountant” to whom you referred in your email. You would need to consult an attorney before determining whether this is a viable course of action for you.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the general rule of thumb in the world of investing is that once investors have been cheated, they stay cheated.