Fraud scheme could involve €20m

Fraud scheme could involve €20m

Fraud scheme could involve €20m

An alleged fraudulent investment scheme which is being investigated by gardai and the Revenue could involve between €10million and €20million.

The business man at the centre of the Donegal-based investment scheme is believed to have fled the county.

Gardai investigating the investment scheme are working with colleagues in police forces across Europe. Up to three investigations into the legitimacy of the scheme are underway following raids on business premises in the county in November in which documents and computer files were removed. It is understood two Garda probes have been launched - one by the Bureau of Fraud Investigation and one by the Criminal Assets Bureau. The Revenue Commissioners are also carrying out their own investigation.

A spokesman in the Garda press office confirmed that the Bureau of Fraud Investigation is liasing with local garda and other police forces within Europe in the investigation. No arrests have been made to date, he said.

The scheme involved at least 100 hundred investors, many of them from Donegal, but also involving people from neighbouring counties including Derry and Tyrone. The sophisticated scheme was run by the operator who used agents to sell the investments in liquidated stock.

Sources say at least €10m has been emptied from one bank account linked to the scheme, but there are fears the losses could be up to €20m.

The investigation could prove problematic for investors who invested money that had not been declared to the Revenue. The scheme was sold by word of mouth and involved a number of well-known men in the county who sold the investment to dozens of investors.

The investors were promised a quick return of up to 40 per cent for investing in liquidated stock which included luxury cars and goods and property in Eastern Europe.

Some of the investors invested six-figure sums in the scheme.