Amsterdam Ponzi scheme suspect drew bank scrutiny in 2019; Accused of €26 million theft
Several Dutch banks were suspicious of “miracle investor” Max R., who was arrested last month on suspicion of stealing 26 million euros from at least 80 customers in a Ponzi scheme, as early as 2019 and reported their suspicions to the Financial Intelligence Unit, Financieele Dagblad reports. How the 26-year-old Amsterdam man remained free to defraud people for four more years is unclear.
“Well-informed sources” told FD that ING closed R.’s bank account in 2019. Rabobank refused to open an account for him that same year. And online bank Bunq broke ties with him a year later.
Several bank employees told the newspaper that R. committed fraud with a relative’s credit card a few years ago, which is why the banks were suspicious of him. One of the banks advised the relative to press chargers. They also registered him as a fraud suspect in the External Reference Register to warn other banks about suspicious persons.
According to the bank employees, ING and Rabobank reported suspicious transactions by R. to the Financial Intelligence Unit in 2019, and Bunq filed a report later.
And yet, R. was free to scam at least 80 investors out of 26 million euros in the past years. According to FD, R. only invested some of this money, spending the rest on jewels from Gassan Diamonds, extravagant holidays, two Porsches, a Land Rover, and private chefs at his million-euro home on Lariessestraat in Amsterdam-Zuid. The police also found precious artworks by Josep Klibannsky hanging on almost every wall of R.’s home.
R. was remanded into custody for another 90 days last week. His girlfriend, 29-year-old Emma H., is also a suspect.
The man’s lawyer did not comment to FD about the newspaper’s findings but gave it a written statement emphasizing that R. is fully cooperating with the investigation. According to the lawyer, the investigators “definitely” established that R. invested “many millions of euros.” The lawyer also said that H. had “no knowledge whatsoever” about the crimes R. is suspected of.