Two Dubai traders, Sydney Lemos (37) and Ryan De Souza (27), who were arrested for duping thousands of investors in a $200m Exential Group foreign exchange scam in 2016, have been sentenced by a Dubai court to over 500 years in prison, each year accounting for one of their criminal cases. The Goans (Lemos and Ryan) were detained after an investor claimed they did not receive returns owed to them by Exential, which had promised to double an investment of $25,000 through trading. The Department of Economic Development closed the company’s office in Dubai Media City in the same year and ordered it to stop trading.

A case has also been registered against Lemos’s wife for illegally entering the sealed office in December last year and taking out documents. Lemos, who is from Mapusa in Goa, was arrested first in December 2016 but was let out on bail. He was again arrested in mid-January in 2017. Whereas, Ryan, a resident of Siolim, was held from the Dubai airport in February 2017, as he was leaving for India, while Lemos’s wife managed to escape to Goa. Many investors, like a Goan working Dubai, believe that it was just a bad investment.

Their assets were the first to be seized in Dubai, and global asset freezes are expected to continue in the UAE, India, Australia, Canada, British Virgin Islands and the US, while about 25 bank accounts have been emptied and frozen.

UK fraud investigation specialists Carlton Huxley are working with Dubai firm Abdul Rahman Naseeb Advocates to recover funds from FCI Markets, an offshore brokerage linked to Exential, in the British Virgin Islands. So far, Carlton Huxley has managed to recover around $6m.

Consultants at the firm are working with lawyers experienced in the $64.8bn Bernard Madoff scam, which saw almost 5,000 clients lose their money.