Marylebone businessman who claimed to be the Pope’s banker in £73m scam is jailed for 14 years

Luis Nobre has been jailed for 14 years

Luis Nobre has been jailed for 14 years - Credit: Archant

A Marylebone businessman who claimed he was the Pope’s banker to swindle a shipping firm out of £73million has been jailed for 14 years today.

Buddika Kaduragamuwa will be sentenced on March 4

Buddika Kaduragamuwa will be sentenced on March 4 - Credit: Archant

Luis Nobre, 49, who has two companies registered in Harley Street, boasted he could get returns of 1,200 per cent a year by using the pontiff’s secret trading platform.

Southwark Crown Court heard he was one of a gang of fraudsters who posed as international financiers to dupe Dutch company Allseas Group Ltd into handing over vast sums of cash.

Nobre, who is originally from Wembley, lived at the five-star Landmark Hotel, before fleeing abroad and leaving his girlfriend and their newborn baby with the £130,000 bill.

He boasted he traded trillions of dollars for the biggest Chinese Sovereign investment fund in the world, even attempted to buy the hotel and a £40m mansion.

Nobre strikes a pose outside court during his trial

Nobre strikes a pose outside court during his trial - Credit: central news

He was introduced to the shipping company bosses as an ‘A1’ trader with links to the US Federal reserve and he promised amazing profits on his investments.

To lure Allseas into parting with their money, the gang boasted they had access to ‘secret and lucrative’ trading through a platform connected to the Vatican via the Spanish royal family.

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Nobre, who represented himself, was joined during the trial by solicitor Buddika Kadurugamuwa, 46, who helped launder £111,400 of criminal cash.

Last week Nobre was found guilty of one count of acquiring criminal property, five counts of transferring criminal property and three counts of possession of articles for use in fraud after just over six hours of deliberation.

Kadurugamuwa was convicted of transferring criminal property.

When being taken to the cells Nobre shouted: “I am innocent, I am a good person, I am honest.”

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Paul Riordan of the Met’s pro-active money laundering and criminal finance development team, said: “Nobre posed as a man of great wealth in order to dupe others into giving him exceptional amounts of money for bogus investment schemes. In reality, his lifestyle was paid for by defrauding others.

“This was a complex and protracted fraud with subsequent international money laundering. The resultant investigation has been particularly challenging.

“Today’s significant sentence puts Nobre behind bars where he can reflect upon his actions.”

Kadurugamuwa, from Hendon, will be sentenced on March 4.