Yorkshire police praised as £5m is recovered during Ponzi scheme investigation

Detectives in Spain have praised West Yorkshire Police for helping them recover almost £5.15m (€6m) lost during a Ponzi scheme.

An investigation was launched after more than 200 people claimed they had fallen victim to a scam run by a Spanish man in West Yorkshire
An investigation was launched after more than 200 people claimed they had fallen victim to a scam run by a Spanish man in West Yorkshire

An investigation was launched after more than 200 people claimed they had fallen victim to a scam run by a Spanish man living in Leeds and around €15m was lost.

According to police, he was claiming to be an investment banker working for Barclays who could help friends, relatives and others make large amounts of money by investing in the stock market.

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He handed himself in at a police station in Girona in April 2019, after he was contacted by police when he returned to Spain, and the Catalonia police force Mossos d’Esquadra began working with Europol and West Yorkshire Police to recover some of the money.

They confiscated more than £640,000 from a UK bank account and recovered money which had been transferred to online gambling accounts and invested in luxury cars, jewellery and IT equipment.

West Yorkshire Police transferred €6m to Spanish authorities in April 2019 and the courts are due to decide whether that money will be used to compensate the victims.

Sergeant Pau Escola Valls, of Mossos d’Esquadra, told the Yorkshire Post: “We are very proud to have worked with police in West Yorkshire, as well as Europol.

”In this type of investigation, with this kind of scam, it is quite difficult to get money back and repay the victims.

“The victims will not be able to recover all the money, but will get some. This is all thanks to the British authorities, the Gambling Commission and West Yorkshire Police, who have been working together excellently for two years.”

A suspect, who has been named as Iban Juvanteny Gómez, has been remanded in custody by the Court of Gerona since 2019 and he is currently awaiting trial.