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Footballer leading a Ponzi investment scheme?


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Premiership  footballer Robbie Keane is among dozens of players who invested in a collapsed investment scheme associated with a former player.

The  ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool striker, who has built up a £13 million fortune and is on loan to Aston Villa from David Beckham’s US club LA Galpaxy, put £20,000 into the fund.

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed how former Coventry City player Michael McIndoe approached stars seeking investors.

He told them it was a ‘guaranteed-return investment scheme’ which promised to deliver 20 per cent a month on their capital.

But the scheme collapsed at the end of last year and there are fears the players were victims of a Ponzi-style scheme.

In such a fund, money from new investors is simply redistributed to existing members, rather than being invested to generate returns, with the result that the scheme eventually collapses.

Mr McIndoe, 32, and his girlfriend, glamour model Emma Frain, live in a £2.8 million apartment in Eaton Square, Belgravia, one of London’s most exclusive areas. Neighbours include Joan Collins and Roman Abramovich.

The couple moved into the second-floor luxury apartment several months ago.

A source said that before moving into the apartment, Mr McIndoe paid security consultants £3,000 to ‘sweep’ the property, checking for radio signals and to see if phone lines and furniture were bugged.

A neighbour said the couple have two French bulldogs which barked so loudly that the building’s management visited them 16 times.

Mr McIndoe has not been seen at his apartment since the end of last week. His Bentley Continental, which he recently had repainted, has also disappeared.

Before moving to the apartment, Mr McIndoe spent about three months living in the nearby five-star May Fair hotel. There he met a number of players seeking to make investments.

A top international at a leading Premiership club said: ‘One young player who invested tried to withdraw his money but found he couldn’t, and a senior professional helped him get it back.

This is what sparked the collapse, as lots of players got concerned and then tried to get their money out and couldn’t.

Those players who have invested smaller amounts they can afford – £10,000, £20,000 or £30,000 – are washing their hands of it. It’s staggering – it was cash for cash, there were no receipts.’

A source claimed footballers at Mr McIndoe’s former club Coventry City invested £1.3 million.

It is alleged one Coventry player invested £750,000 and his family are making vigorous efforts to get the cash returned.

The player’s agent said he was looking into the matter.

A Coventry City spokesman said: ‘We will be talking to the players’ representatives.’

Players from Wolves and others from Villa are also said to have invested. Both clubs declined to comment.

Companies House records show Mr McIndoe became director of a number of businesses last year, including a concierge business aimed at footballers which promised exclusive access to nightclubs and private jets. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr McIndoe.

One of Mr McIndoe’s companies is carrying out the refurbishment of the Maya nightclub in Soho, a haunt of celebrities including Lady Gaga.

Last night Mr McIndoe did not respond to messages left on his phone, and there was no answer at his Berkeley Square office.

Miss Frain declined to comment when she was contacted at her mother’s home in Stoke-on-Trent.


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