An international ring of fraudsters has been laundering its illegal income through 39 luxury villas in Ano Mera, Mykonos, and enormous apartments on the Athens Riviera.

The laundering operation involves around €300 million in cryptocurrencies and dodgy investment products. T

hese figures—as revealed by TO BHMA on Sunday—were brought to light by a months-long investigation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Greek global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog led by former Supreme Court prosecutor Mr. Charalambos Vourliotis, in collaboration with Britain’s Scotland Yard and other Greek institutions.

The ring, which also collaborated with a Greek brokerage company that is also currently under investigation for its activities, defrauded at least 5,500 victims internationally, including well-known figures in the business community. In fact, it even appears to have sponsored several… international sporting events.

The lead role in the laundering of the money investors lost through the properties on the Athenian Riviera and Mykonos appears to have been played by the Greek-born wife of one of the ringleaders, a woman who appears to own a host of private equity companies through which she invested in real estate in Greece.

How It All Started 

The fraud under investigation, by both international and Greek authorities, allegedly began in March 2019 with the establishment in the Cayman Islands of the Aubit International group by British citizens living on Malta.

The group’s flagship company, Freeway, was incorporated in the Seychelles in January 2021 and subsequently founded the online digital token trading platform known as “Superchargers”.

Both regular and digital currencies were traded on the platform, including dollars, euros and bitcoin; investors were promised annual returns in the region of 43%.

The profitable transactions were supposedly made possible by a trading algorithm involving the values of national currencies, their exchange rates, and other factors. By the fall of 2022, Freeway had around 5,650 active users in 159 countries worldwide and revenues approaching €300 million.

Meanwhile, in Downtown Athens

As it turns out, Aubit had transferred a large part of its funds to a Greek brokerage company with headquarters in Syntagma Square, Athens. The company in question is considered the successor of another Stock Exchange Investment Services Company founded by the same individuals, which was repeatedly fined for illegal activities between 2007 and 2017.

The Aubit group opted for a Greek brokerage firm, because of the contacts and connections of the 42-year-old British businessman of Greek origin, referred to as ‘A.C.’, who has already been found guilty of defrauding investors to the tune of 86 million dollars plus and who is considered one of the key players in the scheme.

It is allegedly A.C. who created the aforementioned currency exchange rate algorithm, through a software development company, which was supposed to ensure investors profits.

With the algorithm apparently working its magic, the fraudsters assured their victims that their investments were completely safe, that the online platform was under the supervision of the Bank of Greece, and that they were insured against any risk.

However, these assurances do not seem to have had any basis in fact.

The End of the…Dream

In October 2022, it became impossible to cash-in investments on the Freeway platform. The company’s representatives cited the fall in the price of bitcoin, the rapid rise in the value of the dollar, and the malfunction of the algorithm in question.

At the end of August 2023, the representatives of Aubit-Freeway declared the company insolvent to the Cayman Islands judicial authorities and requested a restructuring with the appointment of trustees of their choice.

However, the court ordered the liquidation of the company, leaving more than 5,500 investors out of money.

The judicial authorities were also left wondering what had happened to the hundreds of millions of euros invested by the victims of the fraud.

Subsequently, in October 2023, the Greek Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily suspended the license of the brokerage company based in Syntagma Square, which had been linked to the international fraud ring.

A few months later, it would also impose fines totaling €420,000 “for organizational infringements and money laundering”.

However, victims of the fraud have also turned against the managers of the Greek brokerage company, with the hearing of one of the cases brought against it scheduled to take place in the next few days, according to documents in TO BHMA’s possession.

A.C. under the microscope

A.C., the Greek-born businessman, and people in his immediate family environment quickly became the primary focus in the hunt for the ring’s ill-gotten gains.

According to a British-police press release from June 2023, A.C. is wanted for defrauding at least 250 investors, for which he has already been sentenced by a British court to 14 years in prison. The relevant briefing goes so far as to state that “part of the proceeds from his fraudulent scheme were spent on his lavish wedding and other lifestyle choices”.

The businessman in question, described by the British as a “career fraudster” and the “Greek wolf of Wall Street”, attended the first few days of the trial before absconding.

According to reports from the British authorities, he was arrested a few days later by the Bulgarian authorities for using false travel documents. He was subsequently released, however, and is believed to currently be in Dubai or Turkey.

The Greek authorities’ investigation into the “missing proceeds from the multinational fraud” then closed in on the wanted businessman’s Greek wife, ‘P.M.’

She appears to be a resident of both Palaio Faliro and Keratsini, while she also declared herself a temporary resident of the United Arab Emirates a few years ago.

P.M. became the primary target of the Greek Financial Action Task Force, which issued a request on 12 July 2023 for assets belonging to her and others to be frozen. She also appears to be involved in real estate companies and other activities.

In addition, eight other Greek companies created by the same woman with a combined share capital of €12.6 million are also under investigation.

To date, the main findings of the competent Authority are the luxury villas worth in excess of 70 million euros which appear to have been built or purchased by companies belonging to P.M in Ano Mera, Mykonos, and on the Athens Riviera.