The district court in Gdańsk, northern Poland, found the couple, Marcin P. and Katarzyna P. (names withheld due to Poland’s privacy laws) guilty of the gigantic financial fraud, causing 19,000 customers of the Amber Gold shadow bank to lose over PLN 850 million (EUR 200 million) in total over the years 2009-2012.
The accused couple did not appear in court. The reading of the verdict is ongoing.
During the process that lasted over three years, obout 180 hearings took place, and around 730 witnesses and 10 experts were heard.
The Polish prosecutor's office demanded 25 years' imprisonment for the founders of the Amber Gold pyramid scheme. It also requested high fines, an obligation to redress the damage and a 15-year ban on doing business related to finances for the couple.
The so-called Amber Gold scandal involves the collapse of the Amber Gold shadow bank in 2012 which led more than 19,000 investors to lose over PLN 850 million (EUR 200 million) in total.
Amber Gold was offering interest rates to investors of up to 12 percent, more than twice the average for any bank. The company claimed it was investing in gold bullion, the price of which was rising sharply following the financial crash of 2008.
Following financial difficulty, the company’s branches closed in late 2012 and announced bankruptcy. Many of the people who had put their life savings in the company have still not received their money.