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London: The Greek "Wolf of Wall Street" convicted of a Ponzi scheme

Featured London: The Greek "Wolf of Wall Street" convicted of a Ponzi scheme

He had been attracting investors since late 2013. He promised them returns of 5% per month with risk-free trading and a minimum investment of £100,000. He himself with his personal property – he told them – would guarantee their money.

This concrns 41-year-old Anthony Constantinou, a Greek-born tycoon who was recently convicted after being found guilty of 7 counts of fraud and money laundering after a trial that lasted almost two months.

At the offices of Capital World Markets

According to Bloomberg, as it turned out the reality was very different: In the offices of the trading company he ran (Capital World Markets) on the 21st floor of a skyscraper in the City of London, the charts on his traders' computer screens were fake, as were the claims surrounding his wealth. The police raid took place on March 3, 2015, following a message from a former employee who alerted authorities to the risk of the "pyramid" collapsing.

Constantinou's defiantly lavish lifestyle (he had married his wife in a $3.1 million ceremony in Santorini, with guests flown in by private jet) was financed by money put into his company by small investors. The amount of the "pyramid" fraud is estimated at 70 million British pounds.

He disappeared during his trial. Weeks later he was arrested in Bulgaria carrying forged documents, but was released and is still on the lamb.

The myth

Constantinou's company sought out clients at conferences and among acquaintances, to whom he "sold" investments they did not understand.

Constantinou made them believe that his company's investment strategy was too complex for them to understand. “You think money comes out by chance!?? It's a whole algorithmic strategy!!” he wrote in a message to a colleague. "I just don't analyze it because it's long and boring!"

To build a legend around its name, Capital World Markets financed sporting events, in the context of which Constantinoueven met members of the royal family of England. The money for all this was supposed to come from an inheritance left to him by his father, Aristo, a fashion tycoon, who was shot dead in central London – in a murder that has never been solved.

The Wolf of Wall Street

In the office, as Bloomberg writes, Constantinou behaved like the Wolf of Wall Street – in fact, what happened in the company's offices was the focus of a separate criminal proceeding that "ran" in 2016. Constantinou was convicted of two separate charges of sexual assault against two women in the offices in 2014 and 2015 to 12 months in prison. The City of London Police said in a statement that it was believed that his "humiliating, intimidating behavior was acceptable".

Former employees described Constantinou's image as that of an aggressive bully who fostered a toxic work environment, firing people on the spot. Constantinou was often drunk at work, with a stash of champagne and vodka in the office. He was once seen shoving a bottle of alcohol down a shopkeeper's throat, a witness said.

During the trial, his lawyer described him as a "selfish, spoiled man-child", who was "not a good man to work for or do business with". But he emphasized that he was not a criminal.

His sentence will be announced on June 9.