Gardai join investigation into Barcelona based currency trading scheme

Gardai are working with police in Spain and Slovakia to investigate a foreign currency investment scheme which has cost dozens of Irish clients millions of euro. The scheme had been promoted by a Letterkenny based financial advisor..

The scheme, run from an office in Barcelona, was portrayed as a "safe bet" which allowed people to speculate on the currency markets.

However, the online site through which it was being run -- fx-root.com -- suddenly ceased trading last November.

The Irish Independent reports this morning that investors have lost sums of up to €250,000 each, despite a guarantee that they would never lose more than 15pc of their investment.

The scheme was recommended to Irish clients by independent financial adviser Mark O'Sullivan, who runs O'Sullivan Financial in Letterkenny.

It was being run by British and Dutch nationals based in Barcelona, with cash deposited by investors going into a bank account in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The paper reports that after the scheme ceased trading, Mr O'Sullivan flew to Spain to confront the people running it. However, he found their offices empty.

Friends are quoted as saying that Mr O'Sullivan was "personally devastated" that a scheme he believed to be legitimate had closed down and taken millions of euros of his clients' money.  It's also understood he invested himself, and has lost his own money.

Gardai, police in Barcelona and crime investigators in Slovakia are working together to investigate the scheme.