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Expats “conned” out of money in forex “scam” set to fight for justice

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A group of foreigners living abroad in a major European expatriate destination are increasing their attempts to retrieve cash lost in what they describe as a foreign exchange scam.

Premier FX, which operated for clients in Portugal, is alleged to have lost their cash to the tune of millions.

Many older expats who moved from countries like Britain to Portugal would use Premier FX to store their pensions and have them paid out in their own currencies.

For those expats who were still of working age, Premier FX was often used as a vehicle for managing monetary transactions between Portugal and their home location.

Premier FX appeared on the face of it to have a number of security systems in place, including a pledge to defend investor cash against losses.

However, these methods appeared to be nowhere near enough.

Standard industry deposit prevention techniques were allegedly not followed. Clients later discovered, for example, that the bank holding their deposits, Barclays, was never told to keep the cash in segregation, meaning that deposits were vulnerable.

As a result of the alleged scam, some of those concerned have set up a Facebook group entitled “Victims of Premier FX”.

At the time of writing, this group had almost 200 members.

“This group attempts to help the clients of PremierFX get their money back,” the group’s description states simply.

Some attempts to contact the staff at Premier FX appear to have been met with silence.

So far, the group has found itself unable to get support from some authorities.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, a British institution designed to support victims of financial product problems, told the group that it was unable to assist because Premier FX had not been within its jurisdiction.

According to industry media, the group is also worried about the idea of compensation payments more generally.

There is concern among the expats, for example, that any cash which is still located in the bank accounts used by Premier FX to store investor money may instead be used to pay administrative costs.

However, assistance has been secured from other sources.

The Safe Communities Algarve association, which was founded by a former law enforcement boss in the region, is assisting the group in its efforts to recover the cash.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Barclays is itself believed to have begun investigating on the grounds of fraud.

Administrators also held a question and answer session, and this was reported on the local news site Algarve Daily News. 

When asked why the business stopped trading, administrators answered: “We are conducting investigations into when the Company ceased trading. The directors have advised this was on 27 July 2018, however, this has not yet been independently verified.”

Since it ceased operating, Premier FX has been located at the headquarters of a firm of accountants in the town of Epsom in Southern England.

The company, which is now in administration, has a number of other directors – including Katy Grogan and Charlie Rexstrew. They are believed to be the children of Peter Rexstrew, who built the platform.