BOV

Two key figures behind Sweden’s largest pension fraud have been released from prison. American Mark Bishop and Swedish fraudster Max Serwin exploited Malta’s financial system to establish a fraudulent pension fund, resulting in over €250 million being siphoned from Swedish pension savings.

Back in 2020, Bank of Valletta (BOV) agreed to a €26.5 million settlement with the Swedish pensions authority to avoid further litigation over its role as custodian of Falcon Funds.

Falcon Funds, a Swedish private pension operated by a Maltese company, saw its investments mismanaged due to clandestine actions by its investment manager, Temple Asset Management.

Mr Serwin, operating under the alias Emil Ingmanson, orchestrated the fraud by registering Falcon Funds in Malta and diverting pension savings into other fraudulent enterprises for personal gain.

He was assisted by Temple director Anthony John Farrell, whose Maltese firm was closed down before he was extradited to Sweden to face charges. Falcon’s Maltese directors, including former Nationalist Party finance minister Tonio Fenech, Ian Zammit, and Joseph Xuereb, received a two-year ban from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) from holding approved positions. Additionally, BOV has initiated legal action in Malta against numerous entities involved in the misappropriation of the pension fund.

Meanwhile, both Mr Serwin and Mr Bishop are legally obligated to repay $50 million plus interest in damages related to the Falcon Funds fraud.

Mr Bishop has already returned to the United States with a 15-year ban on re-entering Sweden. Mr Serwin has been granted parole after serving two-thirds of his eight-year sentence.

Swedish prosecutor Jerker Asplund disclosed that millions of euros defrauded from the Falcon Funds pension scheme remain unaccounted for. “We have identified substantial amounts in various locations that remain inaccessible. Whether these funds directly link to Max Serwin is unclear, but a significant portion remains untraced.”

Mr Asplund highlighted that at least €2.3 million is held in a Dubai account linked to Mr Serwin, but Sweden lacks the legal agreements to reclaim the money from the UAE.

Additional funds include €1 million laundered through the Luxembourgish fund Haven Sicav, €2 million in gold recovered in Zurich, and €640,000 located in a Revolut account in London. The gold, consisting of 6,800 Swiss coins and 30 gold bars, was allegedly laundered by an associate of Mr Serwin, who now faces charges in Stockholm.

To date, Swedish authorities have recovered approximately €18 million of the stolen funds.

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