Anthony Constantinou: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ City boss guilty of £70m investment fraud
A former City boss who ran a “Wolf of Wall Street” style trading floor has been convicted of a £70 million investment fraud.
Anthony Constantinou, 41, lured victims into handing over tens of thousands of pounds to his firm, Capital World Markets (CWM), with the promise of risk-free investments and sizeable profits.
CWM was based in Heron Tower, in the City of London, and outwardly built up a reputation for respectability with sponsorship deals for Chelsea FC and boxing tournaments. He was even once pictured meeting Princess Anne.
However Constantinou was at the head of a Ponzi-style scheme, not making the promised foreign exchange investments and splashing out on his own lavish lifestyle including a £2.5 million wedding, his child’s £70,000 first birthday party, and a luxury CWM launch party.
Money from new investors was recycled to pay dividends to other clients, with Constantinou using the scheme to bankroll his luxury lifestyle.
At Southwark crown court on Monday, Constantinou was found guilty by a jury of fraud by false representation, two counts of fraudulent trading and four charges of money laundering, and now faces a lengthy spell in prison.
The former City trader went missing midway through his criminal trial, and an international arrest warrant has now been issued to help track him down.
In 2016, Constantinou, formerly of Hampstead, was jailed for 12 months after he was convicted of three counts of sexual assault.
That trial at the Old Bailey heard lurid stories of a drinking culture at CWM, where big profits were toasted with lavish parties in the office.
One of his employees told of an incident when she was plied with vodka and orange by Constantinou and “felt obliged to drink it”.
“If you didn’t drink when he gave you a drink, he would take it offensively”, she said.
The woman recalled Constantinou “belittling” staff if they failed to wish him a good morning, slamming a door in her face and then laughing about it, and firing workers who made jokes he did not like.
She also described Constantinou coming into her office and handing out £2,000 in cash to her and two colleagues.
One of the women sexually assaulted by Constantinou described how she was force-fed wasabi in a business meeting and forcibly kissed by the City boss.
She likened the office atmosphere to the movie the Wolf of Wall Street, which documents the out-of-control behaviour of corrupt US trader Jordan Belfort.
Constantinou was just three-years-old when his father, millionaire fashion tycoon Aristos Constantinou, was murdered in his mansion in The Bishops Avenue in 1985 – a killing dubbed the “silver bullets murder”.
City of London Police said they started investigating CWM in 2014, and raided the offices the following year to try to preserve as much money as possible.
Between 2013 and 2015, at least 250 investors had been asked to hand over between £50,000 - £100,000 as a minimum stake.
They had received bogus promises that 90 per cent of their money would be put into a protected account and the 10 per cent invested was covered by a personal guarantee from Constantinou.
Detective Inspector Nichola Meghji, from the City of London Police, said: “Anthony Constantinou is a career criminal who is out to make as much money for himself as possible, with no regard for anyone else.
“Throughout this lengthy investigation, Constantinou has continued to try to deceive officers and deny any wrongdoing. In a further move to deny any involvement in this case, he decided to stop attending his trial.
“We are glad that the jury has seen through his lies and unanimously found him guilty.”
Emma Beazley of the CPS said: “This was a callous scam targeting members of the public. Many people lost their hard-earned money because of Constantinou’s greed and false promises in this fake investment scheme.
“We would like to thank the investigative work of the City of London Police in this case to help us bring this case to trial and the support of victims to help serve justice for them.”
Constantinou is set to be sentenced in his absence on June 9.