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Tue 18 Jun 2019 10:48 AM

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Bitcoin fraudster who duped UAE investors admits to scam

Bar Works' founder Renwick Haddow is believed to have scammed 150 investors from the UAE

Bitcoin fraudster who duped UAE investors admits to scam

The fraudster behind a $50 million Bitcoin scam which duped hundreds of investors around the world - including 150 from the UAE who stand to lose $15 million in total - has confessed his role in the crime.

Renwick Haddow, who now faces up to 40 years in prison, was captured in Morocco in 2017 on an Interpol arrest warrant and extradited to the US over charges of selling non-existent office space under a scheme called Bar Works, and operating a fake Bitcoin trading platform

In a bid to reduce his sentence by co-operating with New York prosecutors, the 50-year-old admitted to two charges of wire fraud in both schemes, according to court documents.

The former British accountant has a history of running investment scams, and was banned as a director by British regulators in 2008 after scamming the publishers of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Last year, the regulators ordered Haddow and others to pay £16.9 million ($21.19 million) for their roles in four unauthorised investment schemes, including a Sierra Leone farming operation and three carbon credit projects.

In order to conceal his role as CEO of Bar Works, Haddow operated under the name ‘Jonathan Black’, and hosted events around the world in Hong Kong, India and Singapore to lure in investors, promising them 12-15 percent annual returns.

Haddow’s other business scams include a milk line, glow in the dark plastics, a hotel ownership plan and even an attempt to buy the world’s oldest newspaper, UK-based The Observer.

Haddow's sentencing date in the US court has yet to be scheduled.

Another accomplice, 58-year-old James Moore, was found guilty this month for conspiring in the scam, which gained him over $1.6 million in commissions, according to a statement from US prosecutors.

“James Moore was part of a ring of insiders who helped conceal that Bar Works was run by a known fraudster. Innocent and unaware investors lost millions of dollars thanks to his contributions to the scheme,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

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