Families in final despair are appealing for justice following a £13m Ponzi scheme

Dozens of families left devastated by a conman have made a last-ditch plea for justice in what has been dubbed the north-east’s version of the Post Office scandal.

Alistair Greig was a respected financial adviser for decades before he went rogue and defrauded 184 victims from the North East out of £13million.

The scammer blew the money on a champagne lifestyle, taking friends on holiday and visiting VIP boxes at Royal Ascot.

His victims, meanwhile, suffered immensely.

Some died while others suffered from serious physical and mental illness and shame within their close-knit community.

In new accounts we can now reveal, one couple described how Greig even invited them to his wedding in a twisted attempt to gain their trust.

Missed check while on vacation

Another victim has revealed he missed out on a £40,000 refund because he was on holiday when Greig’s panicked colleagues sent checks when his plan failed.

Greig was eventually caught and sentenced to ten years in prison, but we discovered that regulators missed three golden opportunities to stop him earlier.

Alistair Greig
Alistair Greig. Image: DC Thomson

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has apologized to the victims but refused to refund their £2 million legal costs.

In a final bid for justice, Shetland and Orkney MP Alistair Carmichael hosted a campaign event at the House of Commons in London last Wednesday and invited the FCA to attend.

But the FCA dismissed the victims, telling organizers: “We have nothing to add.”

‘This is our Horizon scandal’

One victim, who did not want to be named, said: “People died because of this. Some had a stroke.

“Some lost life savings while receiving chemotherapy. It’s amazing that it still hasn’t been resolved.

“Both my close relative and I have lost a lot of money. And the regulator has let us down deeply.

“This is our Horizon scandal. If Rishi Sunak can stand up and solve that in one speech, why can’t the FCA change their turn too?”

Those in attendance included the P&J, campaigners, MPs from the North East – and even Greig’s now estranged wife Judi Greig, who he also cheated on.

Colin Stewart wants justice for the Midas victims: Image: DC Thomson.

Colin Stewart, whose parents were ordered to pay more than £250,000, said: “We have been told time and time again that the answer is ‘no’.

“But that’s exactly what happened with the Post Office Horizon scandal – until the answer became ‘yes’.

Money spent on traveling to the Monaco Grand Prix

“Convictions have been overturned and compensation has been promised.

“It shows that it is possible. It just needs the political will.”

Greig worked for a financial company called Park Row Associates for many years and was a legitimate businessman.

He then founded Midas in 2006, operating from an office on Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen.

The company would offer mortgages, pensions and other products.

Greig encouraged customers to invest savings in his own scheme, which he claimed was backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, when it was not.

The premises on Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, where Alistair Greig’s company was based. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

People would be persuaded to invest by their family and friends, who had known Greig for years, or by business partners they had trusted for decades.

Personal slush fund

Always good-looking and driving a nice car, Greig promised his clients large but plausible interest rates.

Customers kept the money in Greig’s plan for six months and then rolled it over.

Customers thought their money was earning interest, but the reality was much more sinister.

Greig put their money into a personal slush fund and spent it on holidays, classic cars and trips to the Monaco Grand Prix.

Three missed opportunities

Like any Ponzi scheme, it only failed when the new investors dried up, so Greig couldn’t keep paying the people back.

That was in 2014, but the FSA missed three chances to catch Greig before that.

The first of these was in 2008, when there was only one victim.

Shetland and Orkney MP Alistair Carmichael, who organized the campaign event on behalf of the victims. Image: Shutterstock

A company alerted the FSA to a serious allegation against Greig.

That should have forced the regulator to take action. But it didn’t do anything.

Mr Carmichael said: “It is crystal clear that if the FSA had carried out its duties then there would have been no further casualties.

“That would have saved 183 families in the North East a decade of misery, lost savings and devastation.”

‘Two significant errors’

The FSA ignored two more warning signs in 2012.

One occurred when whistleblower Richard Evans, of Banff-based Structured Financial Planning, sent an email warning of Greig’s activities.

The FSA sent the email to the wrong department and never followed up.
During his investigation, Financial Services Complaints Commissioner Antony Townsend described the FSA’s lost email as “a judgment that was not defensible.”

The Palace of Westminster, where the campaign event took place last Wednesday. Image: Shutterstock.

Mr Townsend added: “The FSA failed to intervene on three occasions: the first was as a result of its policy, and I cannot comment further on that.

“But the second and third were in one case a conscious choice not to conduct further investigation and in the other case an administrative error.

“There is no doubt that the two errors were significant.”

Ultimately, the 180 victims were partially compensated, receiving up to £85,000 each from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

But that didn’t happen because of the regulators.

Families are still £2m out of pocket

This only happened because 91 of the Midas victims took civil action and a judge classified Greig’s actions as ‘investment fraud’, making compensation possible.

However, these 91 families paid a total of £2 million in legal fees and are still out of pocket.

Richard Thomson
Gordon MP Richard Thomson, who attended Wednesday’s event on behalf of voters who had been defrauded by Alistair Greig. Image: supplied

Gordon MP Richard Thomson, who attended Wednesday’s event in Westminster, said: “Within the FCA’s predecessor, the FSA, the ball was completely dropped to stop Greig.

“There were at least three chances to stop him but that didn’t happen and it seems to me that the families involved have been terribly let down by the regulations that are in place to protect them.

“No one here was reckless or greedy. They were let down by one person and by the supervisor.”

Mr Thomson, Mr Carmichael and Angus MP David Doogan called on the FCA to do the right thing and compensate victims.

They said they would discuss future options for the campaign, including possible debates on Westminster and Holyrood.

‘It would not be appropriate to cover fees’

An FCA spokesperson said: “We understand the distress of those involved in Alistair Greig’s fraudulent actions.

“We have apologized to those affected by the fraud for our predecessor’s failure to act more quickly and we have worked to recover money for investors.

“The matter has been considered by the Financial Regulators’ Complaints Commissioner, who determined that it would not be appropriate for the FCA to pay any form of compensation and that it would not be appropriate for us to cover the legal costs of a case that we were not directly involved with. involved.

“We realize this can be frustrating for investors. We take our accountability to Parliament seriously, but in this case we have clearly set out our final position.”

Read King of the Swindlers – our full investigation into Greig’s crimes – here.