CWM FX CEO Anthony Constantinou found guilty of sexual harassment toward employees following Police raid on office
Following a police raid which put CWM FX CEO Anthony Constantinou in the frame for money laundering, he has now been convicted of sexual assault toward female employees and faces being sentenced to jail on November 11
The legal difficulties that have now caught up with CWM FX CEO Anthony Constantinou, son of fashion tycon Aristos Constantinou who was shot dead in 1985, continues.
Today, Mr. Constantinou has been found guilty of two counts of sexual assault and is facing a jail sentence after being found guilty at a trial at the Old Bailey last month.
This is the latest in a series of investigations that have blighted Mr. Constantinou’s business affairs, initially brought to light at the beginning of this year when the retail FX firm, based in the City of London’s prestigious Heron Tower initially caught the attention of the City of London Police last year when the firm was the subject of a raid by the Police, resulting in the arrest of 14 employees including CEO Mr. Constantinou on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.
Mr. Constantinou is now facing jail for molesting two women during after-work drinks at or near his firm’s high-rise headquarters in the City of London’s Heron Tower.
The CEO of corporate business and solutions company CWM was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and cleared of one count relating to a third woman following a retrial at the Old Bailey.
According to a report from the Old Bailey, Mr Constantinou wiped his brow and appeared distressed as the jury delivered guilty verdicts by a majority after deliberating for 14 hours.
The verdicts last month could not be reported until the prosecution announced it would not be seeking another retrial on three more charges of indecent assault on two of the three women on which the jury could not decide.
The court heard that in February last year, Mr. Constantinou assaulted another female member of staff after a business meeting, having physically shown aggression toward her and shouted “Don’t use phones in my meeting” before allegedly force-feeding her wasabi paste and then subjecting her to a tirade of foul language before following her and assaulting her.
Mr Constantinou, who lives in Barnet, north London, denied all the accusations against him and also declined to give evidence.
His legal team put the wasabi incident put down to brash behaviour and said it had been exaggerated by the woman and currently he remains on bail ahead of his sentencing on November 11.
During a brief hearing at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Eloise Marshall explained why the Crown was not going ahead with a further retrial in the new year. In court, Ms. Marshall explained “Initially, we had intended to proceed but the complainants, having time to reflect, do not want to go through the experience again.”
She said the Crown would request that the three remaining counts against Constantinou lie on file.
Aside from allegations of money laundering which caused the City of London Police raid of the firm’s premises, CWM FX became the suspect of a scheme which preyed on one of the British Army’s most renowned specialist units, the Gurkhas.
The Gurkhas were traditionally a regiment within the British East India Company Army during the days of British India, and are of Nepalese origin, notably the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range.
In addition to keeping peace in India, Gurkhas fought in Syria, North Africa, Italy, Greece and against the Japanese in the jungles of Burma, northeast India and also Singapore. They did so with considerable distinction, earning 2,734 bravery awards in the process and suffering around 32,000 casualties in all theatres.
In February this year, City of London Police began to suspect that CWM has ripped off hundreds of hero Gurkha soldiers in a £50million Ponzi scam.
Detective Chief Insp Dave Manley has made a public statement on the matter:
“The evidence suggests that representatives of CWM targeted hundreds of members of the Gurkha and Nepalese community and exploited them to defraud millions of pounds.”
As part of the proposal which CWM made to its customers, the firm offered 5% a month interest from currency dealings.
Police stated at the time that they have not found any money which was genuinely invested and believe the scheme was a Ponzi fraud, in which investors get small dividends before their money is stolen.
Detective Chief Inspector Manley continued: “The harm caused to individuals, their families, their pension pots and life savings – at the moment is not being represented within the case. The story of how this has impacted and affected people needs to be told in the judicial process. It would be a shame for us to get to the next stage, and the level of harm that’s been caused to the community is not measured or part of the case.”
The Gurkha Welfare Trust is encouraging those who consider that they may have fallen victim to this scheme, to contact the Police, with a spokeseman from the Gurkha Welfare Trust having stated that this is the first time that it has been recorded that the Gurkhas and the Nepalese community has fallen victim to such a scheme.
Mr. Constantinou was at the time released on police bail as he was being investigated concerning his treatment of female employees at CWM, which is now being dealt with by the Old Bailey.
Photograph: Entrance to the prestigious Heron Tower in London