A currency trader has vanished along with more than €166m in investors’ cash in an alleged fraud that could be one of the biggest in recent British history.
Joe Lewis (59), is being investigated by police over almost €163m, which he claimed was in clients’ accounts but now no longer exists. It is rumoured that professional footballers and golfers have lost money in his investment scheme.
In an email sent to clients a fortnight ago, Mr Lewis admitted that his company, JL Trading, had stopped operating in 2009 after suffering heavy losses on disastrous foreign exchange deals.
He confessed in the email that he had continued taking people’s money for the next five years in an attempt to turn his fortunes around, but that all those attempts had failed.
In an email sent a month earlier – in response to growing concern from investors trying to get their money out – he claimed that his company was having “a stressful time” releasing €161m from American brokers because of US red tape.
Police have taken statements from a number of victims and begun an investigation into Mr Lewis.
A civil action to freeze his accounts and seize any assets has also been started. The businessman, who traded from a smart residential address in Istanbul is understood to have left Turkey some weeks ago. His adult son said he had no idea where his father was.
One investment broker, who did not wish to be named, said he had 25 clients involved who had invested a total of £3.2 million and not had a penny back.