Business Irish

Monday 18 December 2017

Sinn Fein link to Northern Trust rogue trader's scam

Gardai investigate scheme as investors burnt

Nick Webb and Shane Ross

A SENIOR Sinn Fein figure is thought to have helped uncover a rogue scheme operated out of US financial services firm Northern Trust's Irish office, which saw over €200,000 vanish.

"Northern Trust can confirm that An Garda Siochana is investigating an alleged fraudulent action. The action affects a small number of individuals and, based on our understanding, at present amounts to approximately €200,000," a spokesman told the Sunday independent.

"It is important to note that no Northern Trust clients were involved or impacted in any way. The alleged action does not relate to any business activity undertaken or offered by Northern Trust in Ireland," according to a Northern Trust statement. "Northern Trust is cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation."

Sources have told the Sunday Independent that the money was invested by a number of individuals and that Sinn Fein-connected businessmen have also been approached by the "lone wolf" dealer.

Files obtained by the Sunday Independent show that the Northern Trust employee persuaded a number of businessmen to invest in an unsanctioned scheme.

This scheme was marketed as a basket of different shares, funds and index trackers. Projections for the scheme forecast returns of up to 180 per cent over a year. It is understood that at least one of the investors paid over large sums in cash to the rogue trader.

The paperwork for the scheme was laced with charts and projections and financial mumbo jumbo. The fund's strategy was to "actively avail of market movements such as global timing, index futures tracking and index constituent additions and removal".

Investors in the scheme were kept updated on its performance via emails from an official Northern Trust account and through correspondence sent out through the Northern Trust postroom. The monthly investor updates showed enormous returns with the most recent note from April 30, 2013, detailing how a €50,000 investment was worth €69,351.58, up 38.7 per cent in less than a year.

The email files obtained by the Sunday Independent also provide contact details for a number of high-ranking Northern Trust officials which were listed in the trader's out-of-office email messages.

The revelations will cause excruciating embarrassment at Northern Trust, one of the blue chip financial services companies brought to Ireland by the IDA in recent years. Northern Trust is a financial holding company founded in Chicago back in 1888.

The company has offices in 16 countries as well as Ireland, where Northern Trust employs staff in Dublin and Limerick.

Last year Northern Trust announced plans to take on 400 new staff at its fund administration business in Limerick, which represented the biggest job creation move since the closure of Dell.

Northern has €3.5trillion in assets under custody and about €540bn in assets under investment management.

Irish Independent

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