About 600 Turin investors swindled in Madoff-style scheme

Police arrest three people in 20-million euro market fraud

About 600 Turin investors swindled in Madoff-style scheme

Turin, December 11 - Italian police have arrested three people in a financial fraud that has cost about 600 small-scale investors 20 million euros. Authorities say they are searching for a fourth person in the fraud case that looks very similar to that of former United States broker and white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff. The Madoff case, which broke four years ago in the US, saw a wealth-management business turned into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. Essentially, such a scheme repays investors with their own money or that of others, rather than from profits earned by their investments. Authorities say the Turin case is similar. So far, they have arrested Antonio Castles, formerly of Switzerland but more recently operating in Turin, and Riccardo and Carlo Buti Gambini, who were working with an insurance company in Pontedera, in the Tuscan province of Pisa. Police are still looking for Mattia De Sassi, another former resident of Switzerland and insurance operator working in Piedmont. Six others face minor charges in the case where investors were promised healthy returns of between 6% and 7%, which were initially paid. However, they eventually lost everything, including their initial investment which investigators said has since been transferred to Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and China. Castles and De Sassi are already known to authorities in a case involving financial dealings of a wealthy resident of Qatar.

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