Two Swiss fund directors, overseeing the liquidating Classic Car Fund and the Classic Investment Fund, both SVG-registered, misrepresented themselves to international investors as SVG-qualified lawyers.
Intel Suisse, investigating allegations of fraud on behalf of investors, noted the portrayal of Filippo Pignatti-Morano and co-director Michael Zuther as qualified SVG lawyers responsible for SVG legal advice to both funds and thus their investors.
In their annual accounts and offering memoranda, both legal documents, they hoodwinked investors by trying to legitimize their false status. However, the SVG Registrar of the High Court Office confirmed that they are not listed on the Roll of Barristers and Solicitors in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
This misrepresentation adds to the allegations of fraud, stolen investor monies, and stolen classic cars. Also exposed is the dubious role of Scarabaeus Wealth Management of Liechtenstein, which administers the funds through shell companies Fortuna in SVG and Liechtenstein but is actually based as Hawk Fund Management in Bulgaria, run by Zuther and his former Scarabeius CEO Patrick Demi.
Sham upon sham, Pignatti, Zuther, Demi, and Scarabeus have turned SVG fund regulations upside down and made a mockery of the regulatory financial framework, while investors have lost almost all of their classic car investments through the two FSA-regulated funds.
Pignatti, an Italian Count of Custoza based in Switzerland, used his brother’s status as Ferrari’s head of new business and director of the Ferrari museum to add respectability to his investment scam.
With no guilt, Fortuna even re-directed investors’ monies to Pignatti’s personal company in the UK in late 2018, as both funds collapsed.
It is believed that criminal complaints are now being filed in a number of jurisdictions. Presumably, Pignatti and Zuther will not be their own legal counsel in SVG, despite professing to be SVG-qualified lawyers.
Lee Yan is a journalist based in Cebu, Philippines. For the past 10 years, he has worked in the media and writes part-time for the St. Vincent Times.