Cypriot FX boss Anthony Constantinou found guilty in absentia of £70M forex fraud
City of London police have announced that a man who ran a ponzi-style investment scam worth in excess of £70 million in the City of London has been found guilty following a seven week-long trial.
Anthony Constantinou, 41, a Cypriot and UK citizen, ran Capital World Markets (CWM) which offered investors remarkable returns of 60% per year on allegedly risk-free foreign exchange (FX) markets.
Constantinou was found guilty of seven counts of fraud by false representation, fraudulent trading and money laundering at Southwark Crown Court on Monday 22nd May 2023.
Detective Inspector Nichola Meghji, from the City of London Police, said:
“This has been a long-running and complex investigation. Anthony Constantinou is a career criminal who is out to make as much money for himself as possible, with no regard for anyone else.
“Throughout this lengthy investigation, Constantinou has continued to try to deceive officers and deny any wrongdoing. In a further move to deny any involvement in this case, he decided to stop attending his trial.
“We are glad that the jury has seen through his lies and unanimously found him guilty.”
CWM operated from late 2013 to early 2015 and investors were introduced to the scheme by word of mouth, often at investment seminars.
Constantinou told investors they would receive returns of five per cent per month and those who introduced investors to CWM also received a cut.
In the early stages of the scam, investors were told there was an initial minimum investment of £50,000, but this rose to £100,000 in the later stages.
Despite significant funds from in excess of 250 known victims, the money was not being invested in foreign exchange and the purported returns were being 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 per cent of capital was risked and the remaining 90 per cent was held safely in a ‘segregated account’ in Germany. Investors were reassured that the risk was further reduced, with the 10 per cent being protected by matching funds in CWM and a guarantee from Constantinou himself.
Evidence suggested that despite others having key roles in the scam, Constantinou was the only person who knew was what really going on with the company. Others in the business were led to believe that the scheme was unregulated, returns were from genuine investment and that Constantinou was a very wealthy man.
The investigation into Constantinou and CWM began in 2014. After an initial investigation, officers at the City of London Police made the decision to stop the scheme before it collapsed to preserve as much money as possible from investors and to stop further people falling victim to the scam. Officers searched the Heron Tower officers of CWM in March 2015 and made a number of arrests, including that of Constantinou.
Following the search, a detailed investigation of CWM’s finances showed extravagant spending from clients’ funds, including £3 million spent by Constantinou on lifestyle events, including his wedding and a CWM launch party.
During his police interview Constantinou used a prepared statement denying knowledge of fraud and replied no comment to all further questions by officers.
Constantinou did not attend the later stages of his trial after skipping bail in April 2023, and an international arrest warrant was issued to locate him. The court was told during the proceedings that Constantinou was recently arrested in Bulgaria with fake identity documents, but was later released and remains at large. He is due to be sentenced in his absence on 9 June 2023.
May 23, 2023 @ 3:37 pm
Your title is a bit misleading, Cypriot FX boss will make people assume that the company was registered and operated in Cyprus… which is not the case
May 23, 2023 @ 6:42 pm
yes but realistically he operated out of Cyprus …so one has to be practical
May 23, 2023 @ 8:25 pm
Thanks for your comment George. And for your reply Steve. To clarify, CWM and Constantinou very much operated out of Cyprus. The company operated as a white label of Leverate utilizing their platform and thus their CySEC license, using MiFID to passport the license to the UK when that was possible pre-Brexit (the company was not licensed directly by the FCA).