FORMER ATHLETE – Usain Bolt was victim of millionaire scam in Jamaica
Lawyers for Usain Bolt, the eight-time Olympic sprint champion, revealed Wednesday that more than $12.7 million has disappeared from an account he held at a private investment firm in his native Jamaica and that authorities of the island are investigating.
Attorney Linton P. Gordon provided The Associated Press with a copy of the letter sent to Stocks & Securities Limited demanding the money back.
Gordon said Bolt’s account once had $12.8 million, but now reflects a balance of just $12,000.
“If this is correct, and we trust it is not the case, then this is a serious act of fraud and theft or a combination of the two perpetrated against our client,” Bolt’s lawyers said in the letter.
They threatened civil and criminal appeals if the money is not returned within 10 days.
Stocks & Securities Limited did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On its website, the company asks all customers to direct urgent inquiries to the Jamaica Utilities Commission, the entity that investigates the fund.
“We understand that customers are eager for more information, and we can assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation, that the necessary steps have been taken, and that we will alert our customers to a resolution as soon as the information is available,” the company said.
The firm said it discovered the fraud earlier this month and several of its clients could have lost millions of dollars.
Jamaica’s finance minister, Nigel Clarke, called the situation alarming but said it was unusual.
“It is tempting to cast doubt on our financial institutions, but I would pray that an entire hard-working industry is not stained like this by what a few dishonest individuals have done,” he said.
Bolt’s lawyers sent the letter on Monday, the same day Jamaica’s Financial Services Commission announced it had appointed a special auditor to investigate allegations of fraud at Kingston-based Stocks & Securities Limited.
On Tuesday, financial authorities said they had taken provisional control of the investment firm. You will be allowed to operate, but you will need to receive government endorsement to complete any type of transaction.
Bolt, who retired in 2017, is the owner of the world records in the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 4×100 relay.