Usain Bolt expressed shock over the disappearance of $12.7 million of his funds from a local private investment company that is currently being investigated as part of a major fraud case dating back over a decade. Bolt also stated that he terminated his business manager and that their separation was not cordial.
Broke After The Scam?
When asked if he was "broke," the retired star athlete laughed. "I'm not broke, but it's definitely put a damper on me," he said. "It was for my future. Everybody knows I have three kids. I'm still looking out for my parents, and I still want to live very well."
Bolt's attorneys have said the athlete's account with Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Limited dwindled from nearly USD 12.8 million to some USD 12,000. They had given the company until Friday to return the money or face civil and criminal action.
It wasn't immediately clear whether any action had been taken as of late Friday. Attorney Linton P Gordon did not return a message seeking comment. He told the Jamaica Observer newspaper that the public should anticipate the "expected and the unexpected" in the case. "There is nothing to say at this stage, given what is happening," he was quoted as saying.
"We have met with persons, and we are dealing with certain matters." Earlier this week, Jamaican Finance Minister Nigel Clarke announced that the director of the Financial Services Commission was stepping down and that the Bank of Jamaica would now be in charge of regulating the island's financial system.
He said several government agencies and elderly customers also were affected by the alleged fraud. "It's always a sad situation. Definitely disappointed," Bolt said of the elderly who were affected. "Everybody's confused. … I'm as confused as the public."
Jamaican authorities have requested help from the FBI and other unidentified international experts, adding that clients were given false statements regarding their balances as part of the alleged fraud. Officials have not yet said how many clients overall were affected and how much money in total is missing.
Earlier on Friday, Bolt spoke at a sponsored luncheon for an upcoming relay and referred to the alleged fraud. "As you all know. I've been going through a tough week, a few tough weeks," he said, adding that he would continue to do everything he can to uplift his island.
"No matter what's going on right now, Jamaica is my country. That will never change," he said. In an aside with reporters, he said: "I'm just trying to focus on my family and trying not to think too much about it because it's a difficult situation." Stocks and Securities Limited did not return a message seeking comment Friday. The company contacted authorities earlier this month to alert them that a manager had apparently committed fraud.
Earlier in the week, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared that the government will not provide financial assistance to the company. He said, "The government will not assume any debt and will not support the failure of our banks.