Latest Information
aaa Reply to Linns Lawyer
aa SUNDAY MAIL TONY HETHERINGTON
Aberdeen Global
ALEXANDER ROTHKO
Allied International
Andrew Linn's Fraudulent Companies
Andrew Linn Charterhouse 12 per annum
ANDREW LINN EXPOSED BY UK PRESS
Andrew Linn in Criminal Court
ARROW INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES LIMITED
Arte y Naturaleza
A ANDREW LINN BANNED
A PUBLIC WARNINGS
A WARNING
Banco de España
Banx
Barclays Bank
Baring Ireland
Blacktower Financial Management Int Ltd
Blevins Franks
Brewin and Dolphin
Brite prey on Brits HAMILTONS
BRITISH EMBASSY
Brooks Macdonald Asset Management
Bulgarian Embassy
Case Histories
CASHMAN CONTINUES FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
Castle in the Sun
Caution
Charterhouse 12 percent plus
Churchills Investments
Close International
CNMV
CNMV Complaint
Corruption Real Estate
Costa Del SCAM
Court Action
CTCU Property Fund Ltd. in compulsory liquidation
CURRENT REGULATIONS
David Vance
Debt Collection Agency
Donald Nott
Equity Release in Spain
Equity Warnings
Estepona Golf
False Adverts
Fidecs
Financial Management Direct
First Class Investments
Forsyth
FSA Advice Equity Release
FSA UK
Fund Insurance Management Corporation
Gibraltar
Gibraltar FSC
Gibraltar FSC - 2
Governor of Gibraltar
Guardian Trust Company
Guernsey FSC
Hamiltons Financial Services SL
Hansards MISS SELLING
Henry Woods
Henry Woods Failed Investments
INLAND REVENUE WARNING
Invesco
Investment Program Management Inc
Ireland FS
Isle of Man FS
Jersey FS
John Doust
John Findlater OBE
Kevin Neal International
Kevin White
Knights Insurance
KSi Costa Consulting Group
Labrow Gibraltar
Landesbanki
Landesbanki in Crisis!
Land Grab
Langtons Guide
LATEST INFORMATION
Law Could Save Homes
Leonard Berney - John Findlater OBE
Leonard Berney
Letters to the Action Group
Luxembourg FS
Mail on Sunday
Misleading Adverts
Money Penny Financial Management SL
Mutual Benefits (Viatical)
MUTUAL BENEFITS LASTES
Names of Unlicenced Advisers
Names of Unlicenced Advisors
Need an Advisor
NORMAN EDWIN STEELE
Offshore Money Managers
Offshore Protection
Offshore World SL
OFTA
Orange Finance
Paul Prew Smith
Pension and Investment Shop
Perils of Equity Release Schemes
Premier Life Henry Woods
Premier Low Risk Fund
Press Articles
Property RIP OFF
Protection
PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION
Remington Growth Fund Andrew Linn
Retiring in Spain
RIP OFF COMMISSIONS
Rock Financial Services
Rothschilds
Savignon Financial Services
Scandals
Scottish Widows
Sensible Options
Sheperds and MBC
Sheperds and MBC latest
Spanish Financial Services
Spanish Regulations
Spanish Stamp Fraud
Stamp Scam
Unlicenced Companies
Unlicenced Financial Advisors
Westhill Investments
Who Are We
Your Future Financial Services SL
Andrew Linn Remington Growth Fund

Stamp Scam

Congress has called for an urgent report on the stamp trading companies Afinsa and Fórum Filatelica. The request comes after deputies have been sent hundreds of letters from people who have been affected by the collapse of the two companies and who have as a consequence in many cases lost their life savings.

It comes as the National Court judge, Baltasar Garzón, has charged a lawyer, Domingo Cuadra, and the businessmen José Manuel Carlos Llorca for an alleged connection between the fraud in the Fórum Filatélico company and the Ballena Blanca Marbella money laundering case.

9th October 2006

 
LATEST
Investors who have been affected by the collapse of the Afinsa stamp trading
company now have the period of a month from about 18th September to show to
the administrators the details of their investments and losses. This follows
the publication of the period in the official state bulletin. Those who need
further information are invited to call a National Court hotline on 91 523
33 43. Meanwhile the recently created Federation of Associations of those
affected by the collapse has called a protest in Madrid for October 21.
 
 
News and Views for July/August 2006
      Stamping out sham salesmen
 
Afinsa & Forum Filatelico
 
      Financial investigator Tony Hetherington reports on how the world of collectibles can be a lucrative area for fraudsters.
 
Whenever stock markets look shaky, banks are hit by scandal, or life companies fail to offer any profits on their with-profits policies, Joe Public and his wife search for an alternative investment scheme that offers safety and a decent return. Diamonds have always been popular. Antiques, classic cars and fine wines have also been offered as investments and each in their day has attracted a fortune from people who know absolutely nothing about antiques, classic cars or fine wines but trusted the salesman!

All of which brings me to rare postage stamps and Afinsa, the world's 'Number Three' collectibles company (after Sotheby's and Christie's) which is at the heart of an alleged £3.4 billion fraud with an amazing 350,000 victims.

Afinsa, and a separate company called Forum Filatelico, offered investors guaranteed returns of up to 10 per cent by putting their money into rare stamps. This was no hole-in-the-corner operation. Afinsa was the major shareholder in Escala Group, a Nasdaq-listed business with branches in London, Asia and the US, and it had been operating, mainly in Spain, for about 25 years.

But in recent months warning signs started to appear. Spain's CNMV investment watchdog issued a statement saying that since tangible items fall outside investor protection laws, the public should beware of unrealistic promises. And the first asset it listed as an example was stamps.

Then questions started to be asked about the real value of the stamps held in storage by Afinsa. Had the firm over-inflated valuations to keep up with their guaranteed returns, even though philatelists around the world knew that stamps had not risen in value by anything like 10 per cent?

By April, we had become aware that Lloyds of London was about to refuse to renew the policy insuring Afinsa's over-valued stamps against theft, fire or similar risks.

And then on May 9 the balloon really went up. Armed Spanish police raided both Afinsa and Forum Filatelico, arresting nine directors on suspicion of operating a 'Ponzi scam' - a fraud in which investors' profits are found by dipping into money subscribed by people just joining the scheme, rather than by any genuine - business dealings.

When the Madrid mansion of Afinsa boss Francisco Guijarro was searched, police tore down part of a wall that showed signs of recent work. Inside they found a parcel containing £6.8 million in euros. Guijarro and the eight others arrested have now appeared in court, where they filed not guilty pleas to charges of fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and tax evasion. Meanwhile, 350,000 investors living in Spain, Portugal and elsewhere have been left wondering whether they will ever see a penny of their savings again.

Of course, it is easy to be wise after the event. But a useful rule to live by is not to invest in anything that trades in an unregulated market.

 Make sure that if everything turns sour, there is a watchdog body that will listen to your complaint.

And unless you are, yourself, an expert who would instantly recognise overpriced stamps, antiques, classic cars or fine wines, steer clear of tangible assets offered with mouth-watering returns that could evaporate like the froth on a cup of capuccino.

Investors  are invited to contact Tony Hetherington via the editor at hannah.beecham@ipgonline.cc Tony Hetherington cannot enter into any personal correspondence, but all letters will be read and, where appropriate, subjects may be followed up for inclusion in this column.




 

© 2006 - International Publishing Group | Disclaimer Statement | Privacy Policy Statement

© COSTA DEL SOL ACTION GROUP
Against Unlicenced Financial Advisers & Product Providers that support them.