Alleged German Pyramid Scheme Operator Living in Cambodia

“Profits that are unbelievable”: An attractive monthly supplementary pension has been promised by a suspected fraudster investor. But the payments have been stopped, the man now lives in Cambodia.

Claus Clemens

Claus Clemens, 62, dressed up for the interview. He wears a vest, shirt and tie, sits in an opulent leather chair and introduces the Pension International Club (PIC). The manager makes bold statements: “We make profits that are incredible”. Or, “we work with five business analysts who are among the best in the world. “

All lies? The video with this scene was leaked to Spiegel TV and never released. The PIC, supposedly a reputable investor club, promises its members an attractive monthly supplementary pension. Over four million euros of 1500 investors, especially German pensioners, were collected by Clemens in about two years. A few weeks ago, all payouts were suddenly stopped. It could indicate that the PIC is a fraudulent pyramid scheme.

Klaus Glowka, 64, from Esslingen, has invested more than 30,000 euros in the PIC. He will retire next year. He realized early on that his pension would not be enough. “What if I need nursing care? I do not want to leave my son with nothing!”. In 2017, a friend recommended the “alternative pension system”. First, Glowka reacted skeptically, but then took a first contract for 9000 euros.

Deadly investment

The pension club has, among other things, a so-called immediate pension on offer. After paying a one-off amount of, for example, 18,000 euros you get – after 31 days waiting time – an additional pension of 1000 euros per month for a lifetime. The claim is even inheritable. A sure-fire investment, so to speak.

There are two things that are typical of pyramid schemes. As his monthly supplementary pension regularly and punctually lands in the account, investor Glowka, transfers more and more money. He also recommends the PIC enthusiastically in his circle of friends and acquaintances. “I admit, it was really hard for me not to talk about it, it was so good in the beginning.” Now his money could be gone.

What happened to the deposits of thousands of pensioners? Why were the withdrawals stopped? SPIEGEL TV has gone in search of Claus Clemens, the head of the PIC, and found him in Cambodia . From here he runs the shop. He denies all allegations. A pyramid scheme? This is “complete nonsense of those who are unfamiliar with the financial system and its possibilities”. The payout stopped only because former employees embezzled funds.

But SPIEGEL TV has also met an informant in Cambodia who had programmed the so-called back office for the PIC: a program in which all customer data, and all deposits are stored. He says, “It is important to me that this system be uncovered, that Mr. Clemens be exposed.”

In Berlin an investigation into possible violation of the Banking Act is underway. Many of his investors have taken legal advice. Will the payouts ever be resumed, as Clemens claims?

One thing is certain: Claus Clemens is doing well with his business. He has built several houses on his estate near Phnom Penh.

Video (in German) can be seen here:

*PIC also claims to run charitable projects in Cambodia, such as this school, and also a Kampot based resort.

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