Missing Claremont funds top five million

INVESTORS ARE still keen to discover the whereabouts of Mark Hodgson (33), who operated as an investment consultant under the name “Claremont Consultants” in Albufeira until June this year when his office mysteriously and suddenly closed down – Hodgson allegedly disappearing with clients’ funds.

So far, 40 investors have come forward and between them calculate to have lost at least five million euros. The group of investors includes British, Dutch, American, South African, Swedish, Canadian and Portuguese citizens. According to Jacob Dijkstra, a relative of two of the investors who is spearheading the campaign to find Hodgson and the missing money, 40 complaints have been lodged with Faro Polícia Judiciária, but investors are still awaiting the issue of an international warrant for Hodgson’s arrest.

One of the investors affected said angrily: “Here we are, three months down the line, and still we haven’t managed to move the Portuguese authorities to issue the necessary arrest warrant.” On the other hand, Algarve based private investigator Roy Whitehouse, himself an ex-policeman and a certified fraud investigator, has warned that it is unlikely that results would have been any quicker in any other European country. “Very good evidence of criminal activity needs to be put before the court in any European jurisdiction in order for that court to issue an international arrest warrant.” He continued: “Fraud is a comparatively easy crime to commit, but it is notoriously difficult to prosecute and even if the police are successful in getting a case to court, it is very difficult to get a conviction and, more often than not, the missing funds are never found.”

Meanwhile, Jacob Dijkstra has written to Portuguese Ambassador to the US, Mr Pedro Catarino, on behalf of US investors who have been affected, he has also sent a copy of the letter to Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates. In the letter, Mr Dijkstra complains of “delay upon delay” and states that “strikes, slowdown actions, vacations … and more strikes seem to be the priority in Portugal”.

The SFO in England have now opened an “unofficial file” on Mark Hodgson, but, according to an investor who wished to remain anonymous, “without the international arrest warrant, Hodgson cannot be arrested in any country except Portugal”.

But, at the moment, there are too many unknowns – investors are even unsure as to whether an international arrest warrant will be issued for “fraud” or for “running an illegal business” – two entirely different things.

As speculation grows by the day and conspiracy theories spiral out of control, Roy Whitehouse warns: “People have to remember that the justice system does not run very quickly in any country.” A source has informed The Resident that the Portuguese police are indeed onto the case, but the word for now seems to be that people will have to be patient, just as they would have to be in any other European jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Jacob Dijkstra is anxious for anyone who may have any information leading to the whereabouts of Mark Hodgson or the missing money to telephone him on 00-1-352-207-1740 or email him at [email protected]

Mr Dijkstra has also stated that a reward is being considered calculated as a percentage of the retrieved funds up to 10 per cent or up to 400,000 euros for information leading to the hidden funds and Mark Hodgson – a sum to be adjusted “on a proportional basis relating to the importance of the information received”. Mr Dijkstra also said: “We have instituted a 10 year plan if necessary to find this man, hunt him down and bring him to justice wherever in the world he might be hiding.”