Billion-euro “Spanish swindle” now being investigated in Portugal

The massive swindle involving Portuguese former truckie Rui Salvador – believed to have scooped over a billion euros from nearly two million investors worldwide – is now being investigated in Portugal, where a number of people are counting their losses.

DECO consumer watchdog has confirmed that it has received “tens of complaints” from customers claiming to have been caught out in the pyramid scheme that promised a 350% return on investments.

The PJ is investigating, although a source has told Lusa news agency that for the time being “it is not possible to make any other kind of statement”.

Since Spain’s El País broke the story, news of smooth-talking Salvador has swept the world.

But he did not work alone. He was helped by three other “faces of fraud” – as dubbed by national tabloid Correio da Manhã. One was Portuguese Cristina Vieira, the director of operations of the firm LibertaGia, which opened in Lisbon’s Parque das Nações in October 2013 with its official base listed as the Bahamas.

The others were Edson Silva (who describes Portugal as his second home on the LibertaGia website) and Jordan Pinheiro de Carvalho, both believed to be Brazilians.

But as LibertaGia’s offices in Lisbon remain permanently closed, ionline affirms that no-one really knows where the faces of fraud have gone.

“The business has vanished. It does not answer telephone calls, and there is no one in the Lisbon offices. It is simply impossible to contact them,” Spanish lawyer García Cabrera, acting for hundreds of unhappy customers in Spain, explained.

Meantime, ludicrous descriptions of how Salvador conducted business have emerged, with photographs in today’s CM showing how “swimming pools” in luxury hotels were his “offices”.

“The objective”, explains CM, beside a photograph of overweight hairy men standing around in a pool of water, against a backdrop of skyscrapers, “was to captivate new members with an apparent lifestyle, convincing them they could aspire to it”.

Other enticements came in the form of fast cars, promised to the highest investors, said the paper.

As CM points out, “according to those who lost money, not one of the fast cars was ever delivered”.

A website dedicated to all those conned in the scandal has now been set up by Spanish lawyers who are asking everyone who comes on board to pay €51 “to cover legal costs”.

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