Prosecutor’s office demands 25-year jail sentences for Amber Gold founders

The Polish prosecutor's office is demanding 25 years' imprisonment for the founders of the Amber Gold pyramid scheme. It also requests high fines, an obligation to redress the damage and a 15-year ban on doing business related to finances for the couple.

Explainer: Amber Gold Affair

In the summer of 2012, thousands of Poles fell victim to a huge fraud which left them facing financial ruin. They had hoped for returns of more...

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According to the prosecutor's office, Marcin P. and his wife Katarzyna P. (names withheld due to Poland’s privacy laws) caused nearly 19,000 clients of the company to lose almost PLN 851 mln (~EUR 200 mln) over the years 2009-12.

The prosecutor's office stated that Amber Gold was a so-called financial pyramid scheme, and the accused were running a parabank business involving the collection of clients' money without permission from the authorities.

Investigators said that the couple acted to illegally achieve a financial gain and made Amber Gold their fixed income. In total, Marcin P. was charged with four crimes, while Katarzyna P. with ten.

Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. The promised returns compared well to the then 3-5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts.

Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) put it on a "blacklist" of institutions that operate like banks without authorisation. This did not stop the company from expanding and investing in other ventures.

In 2012, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its pyramid scheme collapsed. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money to thousands of its customers.