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Sunday, February 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Where’s That $6 Million?

WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - An Argentine businessman claims in court that his Florida-based financial advisers won't tell him what they did with more than $6 million of his money - even where the money is.

Matias Garfunkel and his company Alinghi S.A. sued Frank Leon Holder, Susan Jollie Hahn, and FTI Consulting, in Palm Beach County Court.

(S.A., sociedad anonima, is the Latin American equivalent of a limited liability company or corporation.)

FTI Consulting is a global business advisory firm that provides economic consulting, dispute and litigation support, financial advice and other services. Holder, an international investment adviser, is the Latin American Chairman for FTI Consulting, according to the complaint.

"Specifically, Mr. Holder has represented himself to plaintiffs as an expert in the field of international investment and has presented Ms. Hahn as an immigration attorney that can support him in advising non-resident aliens, like Mr. Garfunkel and Alinghi, on investments abroad," the complaint states. "Mr. Holder has also represented himself as a chairman of FTI Consulting, a worldwide consulting company with the resources to provide a wide range of investment and advisory services on behalf of the plaintiffs."

Garfunkel claims that Holder and FTI Consulting have provided him and his company with financial advice and consulting services for years.

"Moreover, Mr. Holder has approached Mr. Garfunkel frequently, regarding different investment opportunities for Mr. Garfunkel and Alinghi, both inside and outside of Argentina," the complaint states. "Consequently, Mr. Holder has transacted business on the plaintiffs' behalf (or has been involved in business ventures as an agent of the plaintiffs) on multiple occasions and in different countries including but not limited to Argentina, Panama, Switzerland, and Italy among others, and has invested millions of dollars on behalf of the plaintiffs individually, jointly, or as part of larger investment groups in which the plaintiffs have been members.

"Based on the fiduciary relationship of trust and confidence between Mr. Garfunkel, Alinghi, and Mr. Holder, individually and as an agent of FTI Consulting, Mr. Garfunkel agreed to the proposal, and authorized Mr. Holder to proceed with several different investment strategies for Mr. Garfunkel, and to create certain companies outside of Argentina for Mr. Garfunkel."

Garfunkel claims Holder and his firm persuaded him to invest millions of dollars in companies in Panama, the Bahamas, the United States and other countries.

"In early 2010, Mr. Holder approached Mr. Garfunkel with a new investment opportunity, by proposing the creation of two companies outside of Argentina, to be used as investment vehicles for the benefit of the plaintiffs," the complaint states.

"In reliance on Mr. Holder and FTI Consulting's representations, Mr. Garfunkel followed their advice and authorized the defendants to proceed. Thereafter, Mr. Holder formed Condor Ingenieria Integral, S.A., a Panamanian company, and Arkany Financials, Inc., a Bahamian company, and Condor Media Holdings, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company incorporated on March 4, 2010, (together, the 'companies'), on behalf of Mr. Garfunkel, and with Mr. Garfunkel as the only beneficial owner of the companies.

"Concurrent with the creation of the companies, Mr. Holder requested that Mr. Garfunkel invest an initial six million dollar amount ($6,000,000.00) in the companies. Based upon his trust and confidence in Mr. Holder, Mr. Garfunkel approved the investments. As a result of Mr. Holder's request, Mr. Garfunkel contacted his financial institution, and requested his banker to fund the investment directly to Mr. Holder."

Garfunkel says he paid another $500,000 toward the Panamanian company in April 2011, at Holder's request.

"To date, Mr. Holder has failed to provide Mr. Garfunkel with any profits or returns on the investment, or with any update or information regarding the transfer, and/or the distribution and use of the $6,000,000.00, or the second transfer of $500,000.00," the complaint states.

Garfunkel claims Holder also failed to provide him with the companies' financial information, books and records, making it impossible to determine the companies' financial status.

He claims that in 2011 Holder induced him to invest more than $9 million in other companies in Panama and Bermuda, through a different consulting company.

Garfunkel says he never received any profits or financial statements for any of his investments.

He wants an accounting.

Garfunkel is represented by Jean-Charles Dibbs with Shutts & Bowen in Miami.

FTI Consulting corporate communications did not immediately return requests for comment.

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