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, of no fixed address, ran Capital World Markets (CWM) which offered investors remarkable returns of 60 per cent 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.
Anthony Constantinou was just three-years-old when his father, millionaire fashion tycoon Aristos Constantinou, was murdered in his mansion in The Bishops Avenue in 1985 – a killing dubbed the “silver bullets murder”.
In 2016, Constantinou, formerly of Hampstead, was jailed for 12 months after he was convicted of three counts of sexual assault.
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 and an international arrest warrant has been issued to locate him. He is due to be sentenced in his absence on 9 June 2023.