The company has been accused of operating a Ponzi fraud scheme, using the money from new investors to pay the returns on previous investments. Many of the approximately 150,000 investors are pensioners for whom investing their savings in rare stamps appeared a more attractive option than placing them in a lower-return bank savings account.
Afinsa is not a financial institution, which means that it advises its customers on how to invest their money. As with equity investment, investment in tangible goods is not protected by a mandatory warranty fund under Spanish law (available only to registered financial institutions, which allowed the victims of the earlier Banesto and Gescartera scandals to recover a small part of their assets). Such investment is overseen by the Consumption departments of the regional governments instead of the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores. Customers of Afinsa affected by the situation have formed several associations, as have customers of Forum.
As the majority owner of NASDAQ traded company Escala Group, the scandal deeply affected Escala's share price, which plummeted more than 85% in the days after the arrests before recovering slightly.
Spectrum Group International Enters into Agreement to Purchase SGI and A-Mark Stock Owned by Its Majority Stockholder, Afinsa Bienes Tangibles, S.A. En Liquidacion.
Mar 20, 2012; Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SGI or the Company) (SPGZ.PK) announced that it has entered into a securities purchase...