By Jason Moore

A leading British accountant was detained by police and questioned by a Palma judge yesterday in connection with the Gilher investment fund, which is the subject of an on-going investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in Britain.

The Santa Ponsa accountant, who is well-known in British expatriate circles and who the Bulletin can´t name for legal reasons, was detained by officers from Palma´s National Police on Thursday.

The British citizen, who has lived on the island for many years, was questioned by police in connection with the Gilher Fund, which was allegedly administered by former Majorca resident John Hirst, who now lives in England and has been interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The SFO said in a press statement on their website issued last year that “Gilher is (was) a Panama and Seychelles registered company that invested funds on behalf of private clients who were mainly based in Britain and in Spain. The business was controlled by Mr John Neil Hirst, resident in Majorca. “Complaints from investors alleging loss of money resulted in the commencement of an investigation in November 2009 into a suspected £20 million fraud.” This week the Serious Fraud Office said “we are continuing with our investigation both in the UK and internationally.” A group of Gilher investors gathered outside the courtroom in Palma yesterday where the accountant was being questioned by the judge. “We have lost all our savings and we have come here today to ask for justice,” one of the investors, who declined to be named, told the Bulletin.

Gilher is believed to have scores of clients on Majorca who were offered returns of up to 20 percent on their investments. “For the first couple of years, we received a good return. But last year the interest payments stopped and that is when we started to get concerned,” the investor said.

The Palma National Police have been working closely with the Serious Fraud Office in Britain on this case for some time.

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