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FF Group owned Links of London, which will close all its UK stores after going into administration in October.
FF Group owned Links of London, which will close all its UK stores after going into administration in October.

Jewellery company executives charged with financial crimes, forgery

Greek authorities have charged 16 executives of international jewellery and accessories company Folli Follie (FF Group) with financial crimes, four months after the collapse of its UK subsidiary Links of London.

The charges include creating a criminal organisation, forgery, and manipulating stock market prices, and relate to activities undertaken from 2009 to the first quarter of 2018.

Those charged include founder Dimitris Koutsolioutsos – who resigned from the business in 2017 – his son Tzortzis, several past board members, financial directors, and at least one executive from the group’s Asia office.  

Prosecutors allege that the defendants forged bank statements, which were then used as the basis for inaccurate financial reports disclosed to investors.

"An internal audit, conducted in 2018, discovered revenue had been overstated by up to $US1 billion ($AU1.5 billion)"

FF Group was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange in 1997, 11 years after its first jewellery store opened in the Greek capital. A 2018 internal audit discovered revenue had been overstated by up to $US1 billion ($AU1.5 billion).

The ensuing investigations lead to charges of fraud and money laundering being laid against 10 executives and board members that year, according to Reuters.

FF Group currently operates stores in 25 countries, including three in Australia located at DFO South Wharf and Chadstone in Melbourne, and the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney.

Links of London holds final sale

Following its collapse in October 2019, Links of London – which was acquired by FF Group in 2006 – is holding a final sale across its UK locations, with some items discounted by more than 80 per cent.

The Links of London website no longer processes orders, and it has been reported that all its UK stores and concessions will permanently close.

Administrators Deloitte have appointed property consultancy firm GCW to advise on the disposal of the leasehold interest in 28 Links of London and four Folli Follie stores.

It has been reported that 350 jobs will be lost as a result of the business’ collapse.

In 2018, the US branch of Links of London filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is roughly equivalent to liquidation under Australian law, as a result of the investigation into parent company FF Group. Six stores and nine concessions were subsequently closed.


More reading:
UK Links of London placed into administration
Indian jeweller linked to bank fraud scheme charged
Miranda Kerr jewellery thrust into billion-dollar political scam

Arabella Roden • Former editor

Arabella Roden is the editor of Jeweller and writes in-depth features on the jewellery industry. She has ten years media experience across Australia and the UK as journalist and sub-editor.

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