Manchester media agency Roland Dransfield has been appointed to raise awareness of a suspected £50 million fraud.
Hundreds of people – including almost 300 Gurkhas, high profile private investors and a lorry driver – poured money into the investment scheme with CWM Limited (Capital World Markets), which said it guaranteed a five per cent return each month.
More than £50m invested by unsuspecting people was deposited in a Cayman Islands bank and set to be traded on the foreign exchange market. However, following an investigation by law firm Fieldfisher, it appears that very little of the investors’ funds were actually traded by CWM.
London-based CWM sponsored sports outfits including Chelsea Football Club, Wigan Warriors Rugby Club, Barry McGuigan Boxing, Monaco-based Honda Motorcycle, as well as the 2015 ‘CWM FX London Boat Show’. All have since dropped their association with the company.
Police raided CWM’s premises in London on March 15 last year, arresting 15 people on suspicion of fraud related offences. They were all later released on bail.
Following appointment by Manchester-based Fieldfisher, Roland Dransfield will carry out both media relations and social media content activity in a bid to raise awareness of the alleged fraud.
The overriding aim is for Fieldfisher to recover losses incurred in the scheme through a class action.
Fieldfisher partner in Manchester, Ian Austin, said more than 600 people invested with CWM and it appears that all that is left from the £50m of deposits, is around £1.3m.
He also said the company has gathered 250 claimants so far, who invested a combined £18m in the scheme.
He said: “Fieldfisher appointed Roland Dransfield to raise awareness of this scheme because of the company’s PR and digital expertise, and strong contacts it has in the media world.
“The claimants we currently represent have invested more than £18m and while some of the individuals have deep pockets, a number do not,” he added.
“CWM published daily videos to investors reporting on the FX markets. And although CWM appeared to have trading desks at its offices, which were shown to potential investors to encourage them to invest, it appears little trading took place and the trading screens ran only demonstration software.”
City of London Police have been probing CWM since October 2014.
Following last year’s raid of CWM’s office in Heron Tower in central London, detectives, supported by the Financial Conduct Authority, seized computers and documents.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manley said: “The harm this has caused families, their pension pots and life savings – at the moment is not being represented within the case. The story of how this has impacted and affected people needs to be told in the judicial process.
“It would be a shame for us to get to the next stage, and the level of harm that’s been caused to the community is not measured or part of the case.”
DCI Manley also said City of London Police are keen to hear from members of the Ghurkha and Nepalese community who put money into CWM’s managed fund.
He said those who get in contact will be dealt with sensitively and any information shared will be handled confidentially.
Head of Media at Roland Dransfield, Alex Bell, said: “We are talking to a lot of investors at the moment who sadly lost money in the scheme.
“By raising the profile of this case across the wider media, we hope more investors will come forward and join the class action, which will raise the chances of losses incurred in the scheme being recovered.”