A Birmingham poker ace, who ranks royal love rat James Hewitt and Sir Mark Thatcher among friends, has vanished from his luxury Costa del Sol home amid a major cash probe.
Broker “Sir” Nigel Goldman – he boasts of paying for the peerage – is being sought by Spanish police probing claims that people who entrusted him to invest their cash were left empty-handed and unable to access their funds.
It is not the first time that the playboy, who lived in exclusive Petersham Place, Edgbaston, before moving to Marbella, has been accused of dealing clients a duff hand.
In his own book, titled ‘High Stakes: How I blew £14 million’ he confesses to being banged up twice for fraud.
One review of the autobiography notes: “Goldman seems to show little remorse – and more than a little contempt – for the victims whose money he lived off so handsomely.”
This time, however, Goldman claims he has been duped himself, along with those who are demanding answers.
In a text message, he insisted: “Things started to go wrong just over a year ago. It seems some of my brokers turned out to be running a Ponzi scheme with everyone’s money. Since then I have been playing catch-up.
“I did not set out to be a thief.”
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from existing capital or new capital paid by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organisation running the operation.
Goldman has admitted in writing to owing as much as €800,000 (£658,000)
One former Birmingham business contact of the gambler, who dealt in gold and coins, said he was not surprised by the fresh controversy.
“He can’t help himself,” shrugged the coins specialist. “He’s a very clever bloke. If he did the right things, he’d make a fortune.”
Goldman, a feature at the world’s biggest poker tournaments, has not been seen for three weeks following complaints about his Tangier-based company, International Financial Investment.
A lawyer acting for investors who say they have lost cash, has publicly stated that he is chasing £2.5 million, and that the sum is rising daily.
Antonio Flores, of Lawbird solicitors, has placed advertisements in Spanish newspapers in an attempt to track down public school-educated Goldman, nicknamed “Naughty Nigel” by the Costa press.
Yet Goldman, son of a Birmingham dentist, seemed to have turned over a new leaf after immersing himself in Marbella’s bustling social circuit just over ten years ago. His gleaming Mercedes and glamorous girlfriend, Suzanne Couling, were part and parcel of the VIP scene and were regularly spotted at Hewitt’s Polo House restaurant – THE place to be in Marbella,