He Stole $100 Million From His Clients. Now He’s Living in Luxury on the Côte d’Azur

Rogue banker confessed to running a Ponzi scheme. But was he hiding a bigger crime?

By Liam Vaughan
18. Dezember 2017, Published on Bloomberg

Fabien Gaglio confessed to running a $100 million Ponzi scheme on his own terms. At 9 a.m. on a Wednesday in Paris, dressed elegantly in a dark sweater and crisp white shirt, the 39-year-old banker from the French Riviera walked into a police precinct and took a seat in an interrogation room, armed with a folder of notes.

“To summarize the facts,” Gaglio told the police commander seated across from him, “my job was to make my clients’ money grow.” Gaglio was one of two principals at a Swiss wealth manager called Hottinger & Partners. His affluent clientele came from all over the world: businessmen in Singapore, artists in Italy, tech entrepreneurs in America, lured by the promise of low taxes, high returns, or Swiss discretion. When some investments started to go bad, Gaglio explained, he “took money from one client to pay another” and soon graduated to fabricating statements and forging signatures. The charade, he said, had lasted 15 years. “Je n’ai plus rien,” Gaglio said. “I have nothing left.”

The commander, Franck Royet, didn’t understand why Gaglio was telling him any of this. None of Gaglio’s victims appeared to be French. “Why did you come forward in France when the company is located in Switzerland and you live in Spain?” Royet asked. Gaglio sidestepped, saying that he'd handed over some of the forgeries in France. Neither man mentioned that France rarely allows extradition of its citizens. At 4:20 p.m., Gaglio signed a statement, collected a wristwatch he’d surrendered, and walked back onto the streets of Paris... READ MORE