The High Court has come to the aid of a company which invested Euros 100 million after being taken in by fraudsters who promised ‘fabulous’ returns and even invoked the Vatican in their successful attempt to ‘dazzle’ experienced business people.
The company was told that its investment was entirely risk free and would yield a return of more than 1,000 per cent in little more than a year. The fraudsters said that the ‘secret’ scheme was only open to ‘special people’ and that the investment would benefit from a trading platform operated by the Vatican.
The company viewed the scheme as a ‘wonderful opportunity’ and parted with its money after becoming ‘well and truly ensnared’. The cash promptly disappeared; however, attempts to disperse it had failed and it had been traced to the client account of a firm of solicitors.
The Court observed that such frauds were regrettably commonplace, particularly in a climate of low interest rates, and that those with large sums of money to invest were particularly vulnerable to attack. Noting that similar scams were to be ‘found all over the Internet’, the Court ruled that those involved in the scam had set out ‘simply to steal’ the company’s money.
The company had launched proceedings against a number of parties said to have been involved in the fraud, but the case ultimately focused on one individual. Ordering him to pay damages, the Court found that he was fully complicit in the operation and that there could be no question as to his fraudulent intent. The company was also entitled to the return of its money, with interest.