BUSINESSMAN IN FRAUD PROBE
He ‘totally and utterly’ denies all allegations after expats lost on investments:
ABUSINESSMAN from North Wales is being investigated for alleged money laundering and fraud offences after expats living in Spain lost millions of pounds in failed investments.
Rhys Williams, from Anglesey, has been spoken to by police in the UK as part of a probe into money laundering.
The 36-year-old yesterday “totally and utterly” denied all allegations against him and added that he had acted in good faith in helping people with their investments.
Our sister paper, the Daily Post, has spoken to two people who allege Mr Williams persuaded them or family members to invest in Dubai-based ventures – with the offer of a lucrative 2% a month return on the investment.
One investor, Adrian Parsons, said he lost close to £500,000 in the failed projects after Mr Williams befriended him in Marbella and even went to his Las Vegas wedding.
Building firm boss Paul Livesey says his father Brian, an 84-year-old decorated war hero, lost almost £1.5m.
Investors claimed that, after months of attempting to claw back investment money, they confronted Mr Williams in Spain earlier this year.
Mr Williams is now living back on Anglesey with his wife and three children.
Mr Parsons, 53, from Birmingham, said he first met Mr Williams in 2014.
He said: “We met through our childrens’ school as we both had kids there. We became friends over 10 months. He introduced me to this investment opportunity in Dubai.”
Mr Parsons said Mr Williams persuaded his family to invest in a recycling project in Dubai called Impact General Trading, and he even toured the facilities.
They initially invested £300,000 with a promise of a 2% return on the investment each month.
Mr Parsons said: “For eight months, it went well. We received the 2% returns and at that point we invested another £200,000.” The next payment did not arrive. He said: “His explanation was that the account had been frozen due to an illegal trade with Iran.”
There were no more payments over an 18-month period.
Mr Parsons said: “It then came to a head. We had a meeting and we challenged him and he eventually admitted the money was gone. Two days after that meeting, he left Spain with his family.”
Police in the UK first contacted Mr Parsons in January this year and he arranged to come to Britain to meet officers.
They have since told him they are preparing a case to be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.
He added: “It has had a dramatic effect on my family’s life at a time we need the money to care for my parents, who have cancer. “Losing the money is hard but the emotional side is the hardest. I encouraged other friends to invest and they have lost money, hard-earned money. “It hurts as well that I thought we were friends. He came to my wedding in Las Vegas. That is a hard hit.” Decorated war hero and former building company boss Brian Livesey invested £1.4m into the scheme. He borrowed money against the value of his home in Spain where he had retired.
He lost everything and is now supported by his family.
Son Paul, 45, who runs a construction firm in Manchester, said: “This has destroyed him. He is embarrassed that he has lost this money and feels he has let down his family and become a burden.
“He was such a proud man and this has changed him. He has suffered a stroke and we think this is down to all the stress.”
North Yorkshire Police said: “Police have interviewed a 36-year-old man from North Wales in connection with an ongoing investigation into money laundering offences.”
Mr Williams said: “I wish to totally and utterly deny any allegations against me.”
A further email forwarded by Mr Williams from someone he said was a business associate said that, while Mr Williams had assisted with raising funds, he was not responsible for the failure of the ventures or liable for the debts.
According to the Daily Mail, a Guardia Civil spokesman said: “We can confirm we are investigating Briton Rhys Williams for alleged fraud, following two reports filed by British expats on the Costa del Sol.
“We cannot comment further as we are still gathering evidence before taking anything we find to a judge.”