Trader famous for £200,000 bar bill found guilty of £5m fraud

Champagne

Alex Hope, the former Wembley stadium catering manager who reinvented himself as a day-trading currency markets expert, has been found guilty of defrauding investors out of £5m to help fund a lavish lifestyle.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) prosecuted Hopeafter he ran a scam in which he claimed to be making large returns for investors from the profits of his foreign exchange trading. He had presented himself as a talented trader who could double his investors’ money in a few months, the City regulator said on Friday as it welcomed the guilty verdict at Southwark crown court.

The FCA highlighted the conviction as a lesson for potential investors.

“He promised fantastic returns but, as is so often the case with unauthorised investment schemes, those who invested ended up with significant losses and the main beneficiary of the scheme was Hope himself. There is a reminder for consumers here that unauthorised investment schemes are often incredibly risky and if the promised investment returns seem too good to be true they most probably are,” said Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

Between March 2011 and April 2012 Hope, 25, took more £5m from investors, of which more than £2m went on personal expenses. He briefly became a minor celebrity after reputedly spending more than £200,000 on a round of drinks at a Liverpool nightclub. He is said to have spent £125,000 on a double nebuchadnezzar bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne as well as further bottles of champagne and vodka.

Before Hope’s trial his co-defendant Raj Von Badlo had pleaded guilty to an offence of recklessly making false representations to investors and a further offence of promoting a collective investment scheme without authorisation. Hope and Von Badlo will be sentenced on 16 January and the FCA said it will instigate confiscation proceedings against both defendants.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Katie Allen, for The Guardian on Friday 9th January 2015 19.12 Europe/London

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