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Investors hit as £80m ‘Ponzi scheme’ is uncovered

Up to 600 investors have been tricked into what the City of London Police believe is one of the biggest Ponzi schemes ever found in Britain.

Both sportsmen and celebrities are set to lose out after investing in Knightsbridge-based Business Consulting International (BCI), which is believed to have been running a Ponzi scheme.

Police have now frozen the assets of the firm which offered investors a return of 6 to 13 per cent a month on their investment for up to four years.

The scheme itself had been running since 2007, however concerns were raised when payments began to be missed. The scheme is unregulated meaning that investors, some of which have already lost their homes, are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The FSA is understood to have been examining regulatory breaches before passing the case on to the police.

Two men from Surrey and another from London have already been questioned on conspiracy to defraud.

The City of London Police have already seized assets worth £1m, including jewellery and £250,000 cash. A range of prestige cars worth £800,000 were also seized from a dealership, which are believed to be linked to the case.

Ponzi schemes were made famous in recent months following the fraud committed by Wall Street broker Bernard Madoff, who has since been sentenced to 150 years in prison.

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