It is a small victory for the victims of Sydney Lemos and his Exential Group forex scam. The verdict on the $300 million Ponzi scheme run by Sydney Lemos may have gained him life imprisonment. But his victims want to know where their money is. There does not seem to be an answer yet.
Exential Group costs thousands of UAE residents their life savings
For the 7000-odd UAE residents that invested in Exential’s less-than-stellar-get-rich-quick scheme, the probability of getting back any of the money invested is almost nil. If people have managed to save anything, the amounts are a pittance in comparison to whatever was invested.
Most of the investors were people in the aviation and oil and gas sectors. They are likely to face an uphill battle for the next few years at least before they recover any money. The investigators are searching for the Exential Group’s assets. Those owned by the company’s flashy CEO, Lemos. So far they have managed to locate property worth only US$15 million (Dh55 million).
According to the Gulf News e-paper, investigations by XPRESS show that the money invested, amounting to millions, was moved to an Australia-based brokerage firm. This firm is allegedly owned by Lemos’ wife Valany Cardozo Lemos, now holed up in Goa.
Chances of recovering the investors’ money don’t look good
There are major challenges in retrieving money from abroad.And while a copy of the Dubai Court order is awaited, after duping so many people with this Ponzi scheme, Sydney Lemos has been sentenced to over 500 years in jail. According to legal sources, the court has given him a year for each case registered in the forex scam run by his Exential Group.
These sources further say that investors shelled out a minimum of $25,000 (Dh91,500) per forex account after being promised annual profits of up to 120 percent by Exential.
“The court verdict is very good news for my clients but this is just the beginning,” said Hany Elsaid of Abdul Rahman Naseeb Advocates and Legal Consultants, who represented the investors.
While the victims are happy about the verdict, they are still concerned over the recovery of their money.