Olympic champion Usain Bolt is seeking to recover more than US$12.7 million (S$16.8 million) that disappeared from his account with a Jamaican investment firm and is willing to take the case to court if necessary, his attorney said.
Last week, the former sprinter was informed that his account balance at Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL) had inexplicably dwindled to just US$12,000, lawyer Linton Gordon told Reuters late on Tuesday.
Bolt’s account was intended to serve as a pension for the eight-time Olympic gold medallist and for his parents.
“It’s distressful news for anyone,” Gordon said on Wednesday. “And certainly in the case of Mr Bolt, who established this account as part of his private pension.”
“We will be going to court with the matter” if the company does not return the funds, he added.
“It is a grave disappointment, and we are hoping that the matter will be resolved in a way that Mr Bolt will recover his money and be able to live in peace.”
SSL said in a Jan 12 statement that it had become aware of fraudulent activity by a former employee and has referred the matter to law enforcement, adding that it had taken steps to secure assets and strengthen protocols. It did not immediately respond to an e-mail or phone calls seeking further comment.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force said on Monday that its fraud and financial investigation teams were probing “alleged fraudulent activities at (SSL) which are said to have affected the accounts of Mr Usain Bolt among other individuals”.
Jamaica’s Financial Services Commission on Tuesday said it had installed its own temporary manager at SSL, following reports of allegations of fraud that had earlier prompted the commission to put the bank under enhanced oversight.
Finance Minister Nigel Clarke said on Tuesday night that SSL had allegedly committed “alarming and evil fraud” and that authorities would “bring all perpetrators to justice”.
But Gordon said regulators have not communicated with him or his client.
Bolt retired in 2017 after dominating global sprinting for a decade, reviving a sport plagued by doping scandals and becoming a household name like Brazilian soccer legend Pele and American boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
He is considered the world’s fastest man, holding world records in the 100 and 200 metres.
On Monday, Bolt quoted lyrics on his Twitter account that, in part, read: “The History of Evil...What is the Root?...MONEY.”