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Investment Fraud sentenced

On 12th July 2006 the Monegasque Tribunal found William Fogwell guilty of the charges against him in relation to the collapse of Hobbs Melville in 2000 and sentenced to 5 years prison. He was also fined €500,000. Fogwell was not in court for the sentencing and an international arrest warrant was issued against him. He is now a fugitive from justice. Shelley Fogwell, the 45-year-old daughter, was also convicted of fraud charges against her. She was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and fined €300,000.
Guillaume Losada, Shelley Fogwell's former boyfriend, and Jean-Christophe Moroni, a broker, were found guilty and jailed and fined €100,000. Patrick Grasset, another broker, was discharged and released.

The criminal trial of Bill and Shelley Fogwell had started on 28 March 2006 in the Palais de Justice with a stop after concerns were raised over the impartiality and independence from Monegasque authorities of court President Gérard Launoy who was replaced after three weeks.

The Hobbs-Melville brokerage folded in 2000 leaving a EUR140 million hole in its accounts, according to Reuters
Wealthy investors had invested sums of up to EUR8 million each in the company, lured by the promise of returns of between 30% and 60%. While things appeared to be running smoothly for investors in the five years prior to the collapse of Hobbs-Melville, many suspected that things were amiss when the company began to make late payments and failed to honour other obligations to its stakeholders.
Citing one investor in the firm, Reuters reported that Hobbs-Melville made risky bets in the short-term money markets.
It is thought that around 500 investors have lost money, and 300 of them have hired 50 lawyers to press their case
Mr Hobbs was not present at the court hearing, although his daughter, Shelley, 45, was on the stand in connectionwith the collapse of the brokerage.

Monaco has renewed its determination to rid itself of the image as a haven for financial criminals and money launderers : Prince Albert II, who assumed the throne following the death in April of his father, Prince Ranier, stated in his inaugural speech last July that: “I intend that ethics always be the basis of the behaviour of the Monegasque authorities". The case illustrates the time when English author Somerset Maugham called Monaco "a sunny place for shady people" (quoted by The Times , April 07, 2005).

Lawyers representing several plaintiffs declared they will file proceedings against the Monegasque authorities.

All the steps of the trial were reported by the local media.

Know more

Articles in English :

Investment Fraud Trial Commences In Monaco
Hobbs-Melville - the final verdict

Articles in French

See L'Observateur de Monaco
See the news on TV : France 3 (in French)

17:30 Posted in Monaco | Permalink | Comments (0)

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