A Portuguese former truck driver is being investigated in Granada, Spain, for a billion-euro swindle that has left 1.8 million people out of pocket in 26 countries, reports El País newspaper this week. Rui Miguel Pires Salvador, 36, is suspected of having “diverted” €1.079 billion through a pyramid scheme that promised people a 350% return on their investments. The fraud is believed to have begun in 2013.
El País claims 250,000 Spaniards are thought to have been taken in by Salvador’s promises – some of them investing as much as €8,000.
Salvador managed to advertise his scheme on the internet, using publicity that popped up every five minutes.
According to Observador website, he even managed to con a “group of foreign investors at Parque das Nações, Lisbon” over the “solidity” of his project, presented as the firm LibertaGia, which is still in operation today – although with accumulated debts of over €134 million.
A quick look at LibertaGia’s Facebook page will see conversations stopped rapidly last year, with a statement from one of LibertaGia’s front men attesting to the “uncertain and difficult moment” that the company was going through.
Observador adds that Spain’s Guarda Civil police force doubts it has “sufficient means” to investigate a fraud of this dimension.
Many reading Observador’s story online suggest Salvador’s con is more in line with the activity of a politician, or a banker.