Tag Archives: investment

Greece: The Russians are coming.

There is  little doubt that the Eurozone has been so inward-looking over the last few years that the big-picture has eluded it.

Two years ago, I wrote about possible Chinese interest in Greece but it would seem that I was wrong. It is the Russians who appear to be first in the queue.

This is what the Vice President of the Russian Chamber has to say about the Eurocrisis: “This has not been a crisis of the Greek economy but of the European Union and Greece has been chosen as its victim”.

There is massive interest among Russian business people about opportunities in Greece.

In the next few weeks, Russia will be the first country in which Greece’s Investment Bill is presented – after it has been debated in the Greek Parliament.

Unlike Greece’s Euro “partners”, the Russians are showing great interest and confidence in the Greek economy and the Greek people.

The Greek Development Ministry’s General Secretary Tsokas and Simon Kedikoglou (a government spokesman) have already had discussions in Moscow about cooperation with Russian investors. Greek agriculture, tourism, alternative energy sources, pharmaceuticals and even holiday homes for the Russian middle classes were on the agenda.

Whereas Greece’s European ” friends’ ” main focus has been on maintaining the Greek banking system and the “intangibles”, it would seem that there are others who are willing to do what should have been done by Europe in the first place – they’re investing in the Greek economy.

How to make big bucks 3.”The Boiler room”.

 burglar.bmp “Hello, I’m a Stockbroker and have I got a deal for you!!”

This is Number 3 of an occasional series – usually these are about how crooks in the Financial Services Industry make money from your gullibility or your lack of attention to detail.

This particular scam usually involves a potential investor (you) and a telephone call from a “stockbroker” – usually somewhere in Europe or maybe the Americas. Recently, we have even had calls from as far away as the Philipines.

The stockbroker is not real – he is a highly-trained salesman whose job is to convince you that he is calling from a legitimate brokerage . He works from a very good highly-honed sales script. He is not reading from the script, he knows it by heart. He also has answers ready for all of your doubts.

Firstly, you may be wondering where he obtained your name. The usual source is Companies House or some other organisation which lists Director information. The information is usually in the public domain. This scam is aimed at people who appear to have money and/or who have already bought shares at some stage in their life.

The script asks you how you are , how you are keeping, what the weather is like etc.  A compliment may be thrown in which identifies you as a big-hitting investor – something to massage your ego. The salesman will have identified himself as someone from say a well-known New York brokerage. This part of the “pitch” is called the icebreaker and is designed to make you semi-interested and to create a bit of empathy between you and the salesman.

He may then ask you how your current investments are doing and throw in a few technical investment terms which are designed to flatter you into thinking that you and he talk the same language. At this stage, he may also ask you about the approximate size of your investment portfolio.

Whether your response is negative or positive, he will figuratively take you by the hand and lead you into telling you about a small company that is about to undergo some sort of change.

The change can be the promise of a big contract with a very large company that you will definitely have heard of or  possibly a takeover. Whatever it is, the change will guarantee a sudden and fast rise in the share price of that company.

He may give you a website where you can look at the company and another site where you can see the current share price.

Both sites are either fakes or the information given is false or non-existent.

He will then ask you to  make an investment or possibly “groom” you by saying that he will call you back in a week and that meanwhile, you should look at the share price to see what happens to it. When he calls you back, he will tell you that if you had invested, you would have made  X dollars but luckily for you, he either has another stock or maybe it’s not too late to invest in this one.

You may have telephone calls from the same company for a period of months or years, until you are on first-name terms. Remember, there is one rule:


Last year, it is assumed that British investors lost between £200-500 millions to these so-called stockbrokers. Most of the individuals  who lost money were experienced investors.

Finally, if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it is.