Six Individuals And Four Corporate Defendants Indicted In $50 Million International Securities Fraud And Money Laundering Schemes
Defendants Proposed that Undercover Law Enforcement Agent Purchase a Pablo Picasso Painting to Launder Fraudulent Profits From Stock Manipulation Scheme
A multi-count indictment was unsealed yesterday, in federal court in Brooklyn, against Panayiotis Kyriacou, Arvinsingh Canaye, Adrian Baron, Linda Bullock, Matthew Green, and Aristos Aristodemou; Beaufort Securities Ltd (“Beaufort Securities”), a brokerage firm located in London, United Kingdom; Beaufort Management Services Ltd (“Beaufort Management”), an off-shore management company located in Mauritius; Loyal Bank Ltd (“Loyal Bank”), an off-shore bank with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Loyal Agency and Trust Corp. (“Loyal Agency”), an off-shore management company located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The charges include conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Canaye was arrested yesterday and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the charges.
“As alleged in the indictment, the defendants engaged in an elaborate multi-year scheme to defraud the investing public of millions of dollars through deceit and manipulative stock trading, and then worked to launder the fraudulent proceeds through off-shore bank accounts and the art world, including the proposed purchase of a Picasso painting,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The charges announced today reflect that this Office, together with our law enforcement partners, is committed to holding accountable those who defraud investors, regardless of the complex schemes they use to hide their ill-gotten gains.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), both the New York Regional Office and the Washington, D.C. Office, the City of London Police, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation for their significant cooperation and assistance during the investigation.
“As alleged, in a series of unscrupulous and illegal trading practices, the defendants contrived a scheme to defraud investors of U.S. publicly traded companies by manipulating stock prices and masking the true ownership of their clients’ financial interests,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “In order to discreetly receive their illegal proceeds, the defendants focused their efforts on laundering the money through a variety of means, including the art world, which they believed was a market free from direct regulation. Bringing to justice securities fraudsters and money laundering facilitators who engage in these types of schemes is and will remain a priority for the FBI and our law enforcement partners worldwide.”
“Since the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has been enacted, the financial expertise of our criminal investigators is needed now more than ever in this global economy,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Robnett. “These allegations outline an intricate scheme to obscure beneficial ownership and launder illicit proceeds. This behavior harms the financial world abroad and here at home.”
Securities Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
As alleged in the indictment, between March 2014 and February 2018, Beaufort Securities, Beaufort Management, and managers Kyriacou and Canaye, collectively the “Beaufort Defendants,” together with their co-conspirators, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in various U.S. publicly traded companies by concealing the true ownership of various U.S. publicly traded companies and manipulating the price and trading volume in the stocks of those companies.
Beginning in or about October 2016, an Undercover Agent contacted Kyriacou and stated that he was interested in opening brokerage accounts at Beaufort Securities from which he could execute trades in several multi-million dollar stock manipulation deals.
In furtherance of the scheme, the Beaufort Defendants opened brokerage accounts for their clients in the names of off-shore shell companies with nominee shareholders and directors, and then conducted manipulative trading of stocks of U.S. publicly traded companies listed on U.S. over-the-counter exchanges. Beaufort Securities facilitated at least ten “pump and dump” schemes involving U.S. publicly traded stocks, generating over $50 million in proceeds for its clients. Notably, Beaufort Securities had affirmed to the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) in the United Kingdom in July 2016 that it had taken remedial measures to correct deficiencies in the firm’s financial crime controls and anti-money laundering processes.
Additionally, between January 2011 and February 2018, the Beaufort Defendants; Loyal Bank; Loyal Agency; Baron, the Chief Business Officer of Loyal Bank and a Director of Loyal Agency; and Bullock, the Chief Executive Officer of Loyal Bank and a Director of Loyal Agency, together with their co-conspirators, devised and engaged in a scheme to launder securities fraud proceeds for their clients. To facilitate this scheme, Beaufort Securities transferred funds to corporate bank accounts at Loyal Bank opened in the names of off-shore shell companies that were controlled by the bank’s clients. Loyal Bank then provided debit cards to its clients to withdraw funds from those accounts in an untraceable manner to hide the source of the money and facilitate ongoing securities fraud.
Money Laundering Through Purchase and Sale of Art
Separately, between October 2017 and February 2018, Kyriacou; Aristodemou, the uncle of Kyriacou; and Green, the owner of an art gallery in London, United Kingdom, together with their co-conspirators, agreed to launder £6.7 million, the equivalent of over $9 million dollars, which the Undercover Agent represented to be the proceeds of securities fraud. After initially proposing the use of real estate investments to launder the funds, the co-conspirators devised a scheme to “clean up the money” through the purchase and subsequent sale of art. Aristodemou described the art business as the “only market that is unregulated,” and that art was a profitable investment because of “money laundering.” The defendants proposed the Undercover Agent could purchase from Green a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Personnages, Painted 11 April 1965,” and provided paperwork for the painting’s purchase. The money laundering scheme was halted prior to the transfer of ownership of the painting.
The FCA also took regulatory action yesterday against Beaufort Securities and a related clearing firm, including halting all regulated activities and initiating insolvency proceedings against both firms. The SEC filed a civil complaint today against Beaufort Securities and Kyriacou
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Michael T. Keilty and David Gopstein are in charge of the prosecution. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter.
PANAYIOTIS KYRIACOU, also known as “Peter Kyriacou”
Residence: London, England
ARVINSIGH CANAYE, also known as “Vinesh Canaye”
Residence: Budapest, Hungary
Residence: St. Vincent/Grenadines
Residence: London, England
Residence: London, England
BEAUFORT SECURITIES LTD
BEAUFORT MANAGEMENT SERVICES LTD
LOYAL BANK LTD
Budapest, Hungary and St. Vincent/Grenadines
LOYAL AGENCY AND TRUST CORP.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-102 (ENV)