British Virgin Islands court gives Exential Ponzi scam victims to file claims of lost funds

Investors who lost millions of dollars in foreign exchange currency scam in Dubai have until August 14 to submit a claim to recover lost cash.

A court in the British Virgin Islands appointed liquidators from international auditors KPMG to take over Exential Investments Inc, once based in Dubai Media City.

Filipino churchgoers and cabin crew were among thousands conned out of large sums of cash by a network of Indian tricksters who offered management of fake forex trading accounts.

Investigations culminated in the arrest in 2018 of two men heavily involved in selling fake accounts to hundreds of Dubai residents.

Sydney Lemos and Ryan Fernandez have served two years of a 513-year conviction for their role in the elaborate swindle.

So far, they are the only convictions in what is known by investigators to be a complex global network of fraudsters.

On July 27, a BVI court heard evidence from creditors and Bill Ferguson of UK-based Carlton Huxley Ltd, one of the lead investigators tasked with locating company assets.

“Our extensive and painstaking global investigations uncovered a conspiracy by the Exential Group to defraud investors via a sham forex investment platform,” said Mr Ferguson.

“We believe it to be an international Ponzi scheme which operated for at least five years until it was shut down by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.

“We have a number of ongoing live inquires which can now be pursued vigorously by the liquidators.”

A judge said investors have until August 14 to submit a claim with the appointed liquidators.

More than 250 investors, most from the UAE, contacted Carlton Huxley with victim testimonies.

Investigation spreads worldwide
Since then investigators have travelled to India, Australia, the BVI and UAE to conduct interviews and locate assets owned by the company.

I encourage all investors to register their claims

That information has now been passed on to liquidators who aim to redistribute company assets to investors.

Barney Almazar, a Dubai-based lawyer who represented victims in civil claims against Exential, said it could be some time before cases are resolved.

“I encourage all investors, especially those who have already secured a court ruling and pending execution orders, to register their claims,” he said.

“Before any repayment is made for their investments, they will need to give the liquidator sufficient information to prove their claim.

“They should attach copies of their investment agreement, court decision, execution order and relevant supporting documents as claims may be rejected if there is insufficient evidence to support it.”

The liquidator will notify victims if there are likely to be funds available for distribution.

Claims will be paid on a pari passu basis, which means they are equal in right of payment.

“Investors will all share equally any available assets or any proceeds from the sale of any Exential assets, in proportion to the debts due to each investor,” said Mr Almazar, a director at Gulf Law in the Middle East and Philippines.

“If they do not file their claims, they will be barred from commencing or continuing their legal action against Exential.

“They have fought hard to recover their money and are in the final stages and should not give up.

“In the end, justice will be served.”

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