DUBAI // Many investors feared it was too good to be true but were happy to spin the wheel of fortune on foreign exchange currency schemes promising 120 per cent annual returns.
Airline cabin crew were one of the key groups targeted in Dubai by other investors to encourage more people to open up accounts with Exential.
Federico Tarragona, 35, a Dubai-based cabin crew member for eight years, was hoping profits would pay for his wedding, but those plans are now on hold.
Earning an average Dh10,000 a month, he borrowed Dh250,000 to invest in three accounts.
“It has affected my life, and the lives of so many others,” he said.
“We’ve been told it is a civil case and there is nothing the police can do to help.
“When I opened the account, the agreement said if I wanted to close the account, they must pay in 20 working days.
“I have waited two months and had nothing. Now I’m being told I must wait even longer, and even then it is not guaranteed.
“I was investing to move forward in life. That is why I took such a risk. I wanted to get married and start a family. It has been a game changer, it has changed my life.
“Like many others, I have a big loan, so my income has halved because I’m paying back the loan.”
Simon, who also works for a Dubai airline and earns Dh15,000 a month, invested Dh150,000.
“So many colleagues have done the same thing. From what I understand, they have more than 7,000 clients.”
Another cabin crew member, Kadir Gures, 33, from Turkey, earns Dh18,000 a month and has lost Dh147,000.
“There are lots of young cabin crew and, as soon as we get to know each other, Exential becomes the topic of conversation,” he said.
“People ask how many accounts they have and how much money they have made.”
He added that “they were buying houses and doing amazing things with their money, so I thought I would try.
“So many borrowed money, it will leave them with a burden and if they can’t repay the loans they will have to leave.”