Efil - Euro Forex Investment Limited
4 stars based on
A network of opaque companies drew on London's reputation as a leading financial centre to dupe Chinese investors. No regulator stopped them. By Engen Tham and Carolyn Cohn.
But the venture was not regulated in the UK. It was a scam that flourished in the gaps between national systems. Byrne, 52, is a British businessman who sells investment products. But Tang Hongde, the man watching as Byrne lingered over his meal, wanted to talk about an earlier venture which the Briton had said he headed. That operation, called EuroFX, had also promised fat returns on foreign exchange.
Chinese law enforcement authorities now say it was a pyramid scheme, which used cash from new investors to pay older ones. Police did not respond to requests euro forex investment limited more information. Some investors say those complaints are just the tip of the iceberg. Reuters spoke to 35 of them, and their stories reveal a trail of pain. But it stands out because it played on Britishness. He told Reuters in May that he was not actually in charge.
Reuters was unable to locate the Australian for comment. EuroFX marketed itself from addresses in London. But as long as it advertised to investors abroad, British authorities considered it beyond their jurisdiction. In China, police responded only in provinces where many victims complained. He has been sued by others for unpaid debts after investing on their behalf. EuroFX blocked her account in and the money disappeared.
Lenders came after her. Last August, she took her own life. Reuters could not independently confirm if EuroFX played a role in her death. In a meeting filmed by investors, Byrne described himself as acting as CEO of EuroFX, which claimed to euro forex investment limited special techniques to trade foreign exchange. The money trail is too blurred to see who profited. The amounts they paid in would show up on their online EuroFX account, where the balance of funds would go up every day, supposedly reflecting profit from binare optionen offen sonntag exchange trading.
To withdraw profit, investors including Zhang said, they opened accounts at banks nominated by EuroFX. Early investors were able to make withdrawals from these. But in JulyEuro forex investment limited told investors it was suspending foreign exchange trading. After that, investors could not access any money. Each investor started to lodge complaints against those who had recommended they invest. Many have fled the country. Two of the companies that investors paid into euro forex investment limited dissolved in ; their Indian directors could not be reached.
Hong Kong police did not respond. It was only when Byrne was spotted in China in April that the Shanghai investors asked police to question him. A group of them spent all night coordinating. They called the police to try to get him arrested. Local police, who declined to comment, visited the hotel, then left again. The following morning, Tang euro forex investment limited in the lobby, keeping watch.
Another investor staked out the airport. Eventually, police brought him in for questioning. They are now preparing evidence to euro forex investment limited to the prosecution, the Chinese official said. A spokesman for the British consulate in Shanghai said it was assisting a British national.
Chinese investors say they first euro forex investment limited of EuroFX in June It printed full-colour Chinese brochures, seen by Reuters, which predicted fat returns.
Asked who was his boss at Euro Forex Investment Ltd, he said: Everything was through him as authority. Orchard told Reuters in June that he knew Byrne from previous business dealings, and had bumped into him in the City of London in summer when Byrne was out of work.
Euro forex investment limited landlords involved declined to comment. Their directors and addresses changed frequently; some were dormant or rapidly closed, and others have since changed their names. Orchard said he was only there to hand over the premises and did not realise the visitors were investors.
He recalls dining at fancy Chinese restaurants. They took us to a year-old castle, to look at Cambridge University. After the London visits, Byrne spoke at dinners in Asia where local celebrities performed, videos and photos given to Reuters by the Shanghai investors show.
But while EuroFX was promising stellar returns, hedge funds in foreign currencies were booking annual losses of 1 percent to 2 percent on average, according to data tracker Hedge Euro forex investment limited Research. Tang, the clothing exporter who would later confront Byrne, was introduced to the scheme by a civil servant in Changzhou, a city in the eastern province of Jiangsu.
He did not understand foreign exchange, but believed the scheme was regulated: In any case, it would only have been regulated by what is now called the Financial Conduct Authority FCA if it sold to customers in Britain.
The FCA declined to specify what prompted it. It said it would normally refer any such concerns to the police. A spokeswoman for the regulator declined to say whether it had referred EuroFX. Euro forex investment limited decided these were outside their jurisdiction.
A London Metropolitan euro forex investment limited spokeswoman said: To do that, investors needed to pay in more. He said he believed it was the only way he could get his original funds back. In OctoberByrne stood down. This never happened, the investors say.
In Aprilseven Shanghai-based investors headed to London euro forex investment limited investigate. They visited the offices of two companies EuroFX had claimed euro forex investment limited work with, said the leader of that group, asking to remain anonymous.
The firms said they had nothing to do with the venture. The Shanghai investors emailed Byrne. His emails were seen by Reuters. Byrne declined to comment on the record about them. In Augustthe merged company posted a euro forex investment limited on its website: Client accounts were being "audited by external accounting firm.
She went from door to door, borrowing money wherever she could, her brother said. As the interest bills piled up, her creditors started showing up at her home and where her husband and son worked, threatening them.
Alone in the house one day, she swallowed an overdose of medicines she had been prescribed for high blood pressure, her family said. Her husband found her body when he returned from work. UK companies that have been dissolved or are dormant face minimal disclosure requirements and often have a pre-existing bank account.
This can be used to run cash through them without ringing alarm bells at the bank, fraud specialists say. Both Euro forex investment limited Forex firms are dormant. Orchard says euro forex investment limited have no bank accounts. It is also dormant. Firms with similar names register in New Zealand. Toggle navigation London Calling. How British firms built a pyramid scheme in China euro forex investment limited lost millions.
In Asia, the dinners and roadshows carried on. Zhang, who had invested with his sister, was a guest at that dinner. Catherine Tai Edited by Sara Ledwith. Other Reuters investigations and long-form narratives.