‘My wife looks af­ter our stocks’

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The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Money -

co-work­ing spa­ces. Mrs Richards said: “We thought it was help­ful for peo­ple.” A year later this in­vest­ment had lost them £57,728, join­ing 50 other Bri­tons who to­gether lost al­most £2m. Hun­dreds of over­seas in­vestors were also drawn in by prom­ises of re­turns of up to 15pc.

Based in New York, Bar Works was not reg­u­lated by the FCA to deal with Bri­tish in­vestors. In­stead it used a web of agent com­pa­nies who in­structed in­vestors to trans­fer money to Cen­tralfx (CFX), a reg­u­lated Lon­don-based cur­rency ex­change firm. CFX sent the money in dol­lars to Bar Works.

Mrs Richards said: “Ev­ery­thing is un­clear and they keep it that way so you don’t know what is go­ing on.

“There were no sig­na­tures on any pa­per­work, no named in­di­vid­u­als.”

Bar Works col­lapsed in April af­ter the FBI ex­tra­dited from Morocco its Bri­tish founder, Ren­wick Had­dow, 49, alias Jonathan Black, amid al­le­ga­tions Bar Works was part of a Ponzi scheme used to de­fraud in­vestors of more than £28m.

Mr Had­dow was charged by a New York court in June 2017 with fraud re­lat­ing to Bar Works, and could face 40 years in prison. He is ac­cused of cre­at­ing fic­ti­tious se­nior ex­ec­u­tives, ly­ing about the per­for­mance of his investments, and di­vert­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from Bar Works’ ac­counts to his own in Mau­ri­tius and Morocco.

Five years ear­lier, in July 2013, Mr Had­dow was mired in a sim­i­lar le­gal case in Bri­tain brought by the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity, over two other un­reg­u­lated in­vest­ment schemes. This March the High Court ruled Mr Had­dow and oth­ers must pay £16.9m resti­tu­tion for un­law­fully and de­cep­tively pro­mot­ing the schemes to in­vestors.

Be­fore the end of that pro­tracted le­gal bat­tle, how­ever, Mr Had­dow left Bri­tain for Amer­ica, where he set up Bar Works.

Michael Cot­ter of law firm Set­fords, who acts for the 50 Bri­tish in­vestors who lost out when Bar Works col­lapsed, ar­gues ba­sic cor­po­rate re­search by CFX into the man they were do­ing busi­ness with would have dis­cov­ered the link. He Con­tin­ued on page 11

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