The Viney Agency

MICHAEL HARRISON

Michael HarrisonMichael Harrison is a journalist, writer and former corporate adviser. He was one of the founder members of The Independent in 1986, going on to become the newspaper’s Business Editor and Deputy City Editor of the Evening Standard.

He was named Business Journalist of the Year in 2001 in the British Press Awards for his exposé of the secretive world of nuclear waste reprocessing and commended in this category on a further two occasions. During a career in financial journalism spanning twenty five years he reported on some of the biggest stories of the day, including the Guinness and BCCI scandals, the collapse of Barings Bank, the demise of the carmaker Rover and the privatisation of Britain’s water, power, rail, airline and telecoms industries.

He also covered the major events of the period that shook the world economy - Black Monday, Black Thursday, the dot.com crash of 2000 and the global recession that followed 9/11.  After leaving business journalism in 2007, he worked in corporate advisory for some of Britain’s biggest companies on crisis communications, corporate reputation and mergers and acquisitions.

He has now returned to journalism as a columnist with the Evening Standard.

His first book, Deceiver - The Story of Felix Vossen will be published by Amberley in 2019.

LATEST BOOK: DECEIVER - THE STORY OF FELIX VOSSEN

How a charming sociopath stole millions from his friends and family

He was the scion of a wealthy German textiles empire and became an extravagantly successful day trader and respected film producer. But he was also the cruellest of fraudsters. Over a period of fourteen years Felix Vossen conned his best friends and his closest colleagues out of tens of millions of pounds. He did so by insinuating himself into their lives, promising them impossibly generous returns on their money, then methodically and systematically defrauding them. When he ran out of friends to defraud, he stole from his family.

In the company of his glamorous model girlfriend, Vossen recruited his prey by word of mouth and personal recommendation, researching his targets exhaustively – all the better to forge bonds of empathy and trust and to then betray them.

He had smart offices in London and Zurich and a Midas-like ability to spot the rising stars of the stock market. But Felix Vossen was a pathological liar and his investment empire was built on a giant deceit - a Ponzi scheme using one investor’s money to pay another.

Deceiver charts the double life of Felix Vossen - his rise from restless, gauche teenager who quit school early to established figure on the London movie scene and investment guru controlling a £250 million fund. Drawing on interviews with victims, prosecutors, police, lawyers and forensic accountants, it details how Vossen carried out his scam and how he was able to get away with it for so long. When the Ponzi scheme finally collapsed it captures the drama of the international manhunt as Vossen flees London and went on the run.

Why did Vossen’s victims put their money into something that was too good to be true? Why did Vossen’s banks turned a blind eye to his fraudulent activity and how did financial watchdogs fail to spot this rogue trader?

Deceiver is part crime thriller, part psychological profile and part financial scandal. It is also all true.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Deceiver ( Amberley, 2019)

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