Lawyers for eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt say their client has been defrauded of $12.7m from his account with a private investment firm in Jamaica that authorities are investigating.
Bolt was informed last week that his account balance at Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL) had inexplicably dwindled.
Linton P Gordon, a lawyer of Bolt, said on Friday the account which had $12.8m, is now left with only $12,000.
“We will be going to court with the matter” if the company does not return the funds, Gordon said.
“If this is correct, and we are hoping it is not, then a serious act of fraud larceny or a combination of both have been committed against our client,” he added.
They threaten civil and criminal action if the money is not returned within 10 days.
SSL, a private wealth management company based in the capital, Kingston, was placed under “enhanced oversight” while the Financial Services Commission (FSC) investigates the firm.
“We understand that clients are anxious to receive more information and assure you that we are closely monitoring the matter throughout all the required steps and will alert our clients of the resolution as soon as that information is available,” the company said.
SSL said it discovered the fraud earlier this month and that several of its clients may be missing millions of dollars.
Jamaica’s Finance Minister Nigel Clarke called the situation alarming but noted it was unusual.
“It is tempting to doubt our financial institutions, but I would ask that we don’t paint an entire hard-working industry with the brush of a few very dishonest individuals,” he said.
Ten years of investments
Bolt’s manager, Nugent Walker, earlier told The Gleaner newspaper that the retired sprinter has had investments with the company for more than a decade.
The athlete retired in 2017 after a career that, in addition to eight Olympic golds, included 11 World Championship titles.
He sprung to global fame at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when he won the 100 metres and 200m sprints, setting new world records in both races.
The Jamaican went on to win both races in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games.
Bolt’s 100m time of 9.57 seconds, set in Berlin in 2009, remains the world record and he also retains the fastest time in 200m.
He made his first appearance as a professional footballer in a pre-season friendly in Australia in 2018, when he played with Australia’s A-League club Central Coast Mariners.