Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt has addressed the $12 million missing from his account with a local private investment firm currently at the center of a national fraud investigation. While reports say he has about $12,000 left, the prize sprinter insists he is not “broke.”
On Friday, Jan. 27, Bolt addressed the firing of his business manager amidst a public frenzy around the management of his finances by Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Limited at a sponsored luncheon, saying not only have the two have parted ways but the split was not amicable, NBC News reports.
News broke earlier in the month that SSL, a prominent Jamaican financial institution has mismanaged a great deal of the investments trusted to their firm. Bolt had been investing with the company, which specializes in financial planning, brokerage, private wealth management, and investment banking, since 2012, and now he has almost nothing to show for it.
Bolt’s manager Nugent Walker found out about the fleecing right before the company went public about being connected to a $1.2 billion fraud scandal.
It is unknown if SSL has sought assistance in this situation, but government agencies have refused to bail them out and are now investigating to see if something criminal transpired.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness spoke on the crisis and was firm: “The government will not socialize any debt, and we will not socialize the failure of our banks.”
Like many in the country who trusted the financial institution with their money, Bolt states he is a victim, noting how the news has impacted the old and the young in his beloved country. Some government agencies were also hurt by the firm’s failure.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist called the ordeal a “sad situation” that has left him “disappointed” and “confused.”
Jamaican officials have not released how much money has been swindled or how many clients have been duped but did reach out to other countries to help assist in the probe, including the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Now, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has sent a temporary manager to the company for oversight of its operations while the investigation is underway.
Despite everything that is going on, Bolt said as a man of his word he had to show up to the luncheon for the Gibson McCook Relays at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel scheduled to be held next month.
“I made a promise to Gibson Relays that I would be here, and I’m the person that always comes through,” Bolt said.
“As you all know. I’ve been going through a tough week, a few tough weeks,” he said at the luncheon.
He went on to say, as a son of the large island nation, he will continue to do what he can to support his people and he would not abandon them.
“No matter what’s going on right now, Jamaica is my country. That will never change,” he said.
However, when asked about his rumored finances being in shambles, he laughed and said, “No, I’m not broke. But it has definitely put a damper on me. This was for my future. Everybody knows I have three kids. I’m still looking after my parents, and I still want to live very well,” the Jamaica Gleaner reports him saying on the last day of a deadline his team gave the firm to restore his account.
On Monday, Jan. 16, Bolt’s attorneys made a clear ultimatum in a letter sent to SSL, return the $12,758,181.74 — the reported balance in Bolt’s account on October 31, 2022, by the end of this week, or they would file both civil and criminal complaints against the firm.
One of his lawyers, Linton P. Gordon, has not said whether or not the money has been returned or spoken to the press regarding the matter, but earlier in the week he said those paying attention to this case should be prepared for the “expected and the unexpected.”
“There is nothing to say at this stage, given what is happening. We have met with persons, and we are dealing with certain matters,” Gordon said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Bolt said he is trying to distract himself, saying, “I’m just trying to focus on my family and trying not to think too much about it because it’s a difficult situation.”