Buttonwood fraud illustrates pitfalls of international finance

Buttonwood fraud illustrates pitfalls of international finance

The collapse of a fraudulent litigation funding group known as Buttonwood Legal Capital, Argentum Litigation and Centaur Litigation illustrates that you can't rely on anyone but yourself to protect your interests.

Investors were swindled out of £97 million by Briton Brendan Terrill, New Zealander Christopher Keats and others using an array of companies that were domiciled in various countries, including Australia, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Jersey, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

Investors would no doubt have been impressed by the involvement of several well-known individuals and companies who were identified in various documents as providing services to the group. These included retired London High Court Judge 'The Rt. Hon. Sir' David Keene, auditing firms BDO and Ernst and Young, insurance broker AON, banker Standard Chartered Bank, law firms such as Bristows and Carey Olsen, and 'professional' directors and corporate service providers such as John Wetherall, Peter Rioda, and Andrew Pollard, the latter two of whom help to manage the Sanne Group, which claims to be "one of the leading independent fiduciary services companies operating in Europe, Asia and the Middle East".

Assuming they're all honest, why couldn't they spot a fraud that took OffshoreAlert seconds to detect?

"It's baffling," said OffshoreAlert's owner and editor, David Marchant. "This group was littered with red flags, including the offer of double-digit annual returns 'guaranteed' by insurers that, in some cases, did not even exist, yet it still managed to take in tens of millions of pounds from investors and had no shortage of well-known companies providing services to it."

OffshoreAlert exposed the fraud on February 18th, quickly leading to its collapse all around the world. Six days after our article, the Channel Islands Securities Exchange de-listed one of the group's investment funds, and, within three weeks, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong had raided the offices of both the group and its independent administrator, The Hong Kong Trust Company. By June, three of the group's investment funds in the Cayman Islands had applied for liquidation.

Marchant will discuss OffshoreAlert's investigation into the Buttonwood/Argentum/Centaur Group and show attendees how to identify investment frauds at The 3rd Annual OffshoreAlert Conference Europe, which will be held at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London on November 10-11, 2014.

The theme of the conference is "Financial Intelligence and Investigations", with an emphasis on offshore finance. There will be 18 sessions for providers, clients and investigators of financial products and services. All with a view to helping them reduce their risk of becoming a victim of fraud and, if that has already happened, providing a road-map to recovering assets.

To register or to learn more about The 3rd Annual OffshoreAlert Conference Europe, please visit www.OffshoreAlertConference.com or call +1 (305) 372-6296.

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The OffshoreAlert Conference covers the full spectrum of issues in offshore finance and is a neutral forum to discuss and analyze all material aspects that affect individuals and corporations conducting business in or through OFCs.

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Gain access to some of the most influential players in offshore finance including leading judges, lawyers, regulators, investigators, and service providers from major onshore and offshore jurisdictions in different geographical regions.

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The OffshoreAlert Conference London
10-11 November 2014, The Bloomsbury Hotel