Gold scheme victims file complaint
Manama, November 23, 2011
Around 50 customers have lodged a formal police complaint against the owner of a jewellery firm in Gold City, Manama, after fears that they would lose the money that they invested in a gold scheme.
The Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, reported yesterday (November 22) that more than 200 customers feared losing their invested money to Atlanta Jewellers Company, which has not opened for the past three days.
They say the owner has returned to India and have been unable to be contact him.
Customers first visited the Indian Embassy in Manama yesterday to file a complaint against the owner. However, they were advised to raise the case with authorities in Bahrain.
They are among hundreds of customers who handed over cash to the company in exchange for vouchers, which they planned to redeem for gold at a later date.
"We went to Naim police station and lodged our complaint, submitted copies of CPRs and receipt vouchers from Atlanta," said customer Ammad Farooq. "There were around 30 to 50 people with different cases against the owner.
"A fraud case of BD9,000 ($23,936) was also reported by one, who paid him in advance for an order of gold jewellery sets."
The business is run by Baiju Paul, who did not inform the management of Gold City that he would be closing his shop there, according to sources.
"We joined the scheme of Atlanta Jewellers in February 2008," said Indian customer William Alphonso. "We used to pay for two vouchers for my son Melwin and daughter Melina every month. It has been 45 months now and we are shocked at hearing that the owner has closed the shop.”
"We have been to the Indian Embassy, but they refused to take the complaint. We don't know how we can recover the BD900 ($2,394) we are owed."
Bangladeshi customer Mohammed Nasser said he had been unaware that similar gold saving schemes at other shops had gone sour. "I came to Bahrain a year ago and no one mentioned about the previous gold schemes."
"We were attracted by the shop owner who talked so nicely. I invested BD150 and now I regret it. I wanted to turn my money into gold for my wife, but it looks like it's gone," he said.
More than 200 people stormed the Star Mark Jewellery shop in Gold City last year, after owners closed the shop without returning money invested in a similar scheme.
In 2009, thousands of Gold Link customers were affected after it was hit by a cash-flow crisis created by a rush of customers seeking to claim gold they had already paid for.
Customers were mostly those who had lost their jobs in the construction industry due to the global financial crisis.
They gathered outside the jewellery shop in Gold City, claiming they had lost thousands of dinars because the firm was unable to return their cash or hand over the gold they had saved for.
However, an official at the store said that customers would get their investments back. The embassy later intervened and appointed a law firm to follow up cases. – TradeArabia News Service