It is a case of scam which afflicts an entire people. In Jamaica, the legend Usain Bolt, 36, is making headlines but this time there is no question of an athletics record. And for good reason, “La Foudre” would have been stolen from 12 million dollars. A sum initially placed in an investment company.
The affair broke out in mid-January and has since caused a lot of talk, even in the highest circles of the country, who confirm that they have taken the problem seriously. “Every effort will be made to uncover the extent of fraudulent activity and bring perpetrators to justice,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said. Since then, the sprinter, who has communicated very little, has fired his “business manager”, reports the Associated Press. If he assures not to be “ruined”, Bolt said he was considerably “cooled”. Decryption.
What do we know about Stocks and Securities Limited, the company where Usain Bolt placed his money?
Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) is a Jamaican investment company, based in Kingston, the capital of the island of Jamaica. According to the Jamaica Observer, a local daily, it is the second largest stockbroker in the country.
Born in the early 1970s, it specializes in brokerage and stock market investments. On its website, the company explains that it focuses “on managing money and creating financial security and independence for Jamaicans and their families by understanding their income, expenses, risks and goals. financial”.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) took over the interim management of the company, appointing a special auditor. Each transaction is monitored and scrutinized. In a press release published on January 17, it also announced that it had appointed a new temporary director. This is Kenneth Tomlinson, of the company Business Recovery Services Limited, which specializes in advice and missions related to the solvency of companies.
How was the fraud organised?
Usain Bolt’s lawyers indicate that the sum invested has gone from 12.8 million to… 12,000 dollars. Almost all of this money has therefore “disappeared” from the funds owned by the Jamaican. The investigation is still ongoing, but the preferred track is that of the embezzlement of the money by one or more former employees. Among the suspects, we find in particular Jean-Ann Panton, whose home was inspected by the police on January 20.
In a document, relayed by the American media CBS Sports, this employee in charge of customer relations says that it all started in 2010: her father was then ill with cancer. “He had to go abroad for treatment. That’s when I thought about borrowing from accounts receivable to cover my father’s expenses (…) I had no idea how I would pay him back but that was my solution at the time . About three years later, he died and I also had to participate in the funeral costs, ”she explains.
In her statement, she slips a list of the forty clients whose funds she allegedly embezzled, but the name of Usain Bolt does not appear there. It is this point in particular that the investigators wish to clarify.
From January 10, three days after these “confessions” written by Jean-Ann Panton, the investment company alerted the country’s financial authorities. Documents and computer equipment were seized from her home but so far no one has been charged. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has joined local investigators.
Why are the Jamaican authorities criticized?
The case seriously damages public confidence in Jamaican financial institutions. “It was for my future,” Usain Bolt told The Associated Press. Everyone knows that I have three children. I always watch over my parents and I want to continue to live well”. It led to the forced resignation of Everton McFarlane, executive director of the Jamaica Financial Services Commission, who will leave office on Tuesday.
Part of the population expresses its distrust of the authorities, whom it accuses of not having acted soon enough. Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister, himself had to justify himself. In a press release published on January 25, he assures that he does not have any funds currently held by the company. “I also want to make it clear that neither I nor any of my family members have ever borrowed from SSL or received any form of credit facility from SSL,” he wrote.
With this affair, the population also fears that investors will leave the country’s financial markets, when the sprinter had precisely chosen to invest his money in Jamaica. On Google, the many opinions left by locals about the company evoke it. “Usain kept his money locally to help the Jamaican financial markets…it could have been in Grand Cayman or Switzerland…. Sad and shameful!!! “, writes one of them.
Let them be reassured, for the time being, the 100m and 200m world record holder does not plan to leave his native island: “No matter what is happening at the moment, Jamaica is my country, I love it and that will never change. I will always do everything in my power to make it grow”.
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