12.08.2016 - Directors of Afinsa sentenced to jail terms of up to twelve years
(efe) On Wednesday 27 July Spain's National Court sentenced eleven former company directors of the Spanish firm Afinsa to jail terms of up to 12 years. They were convicted for running a multibillion euro pyramid scam, based on stamp collecting. The scam drained the savings of hundreds of thousands of small investors.
The court ruled that most of those who directed Afinsa must also pay compensation of some 2.6 billion euros to the more than 190,000 investors who lost money backing the pyramid scheme.
Afinsa was one of two postage stamp collecting companies raided in 2006 after debts of 2.6 billion euros were detected. The business, which according to the Spanish court was "never viable", was devised by supposed stamp collecting expert Albertino de Figueiredo and economist Juan Antonio Cano.
Judge Ramón Sáez said the stamps at the core of the scheme had been given auction prices that represented "an intolerable overvaluation of the goods".
The court handed down sentences of between two and twelve years to eleven of the company's thirteen directors. The charges were – amongst others - criminal bankruptcy, falsifying accounts and fraud.