A former Scotland international footballer has hired underworld heavies to claim back money he lost in an oil industry scam.
Gangland enforcers are leaving behind a trail of fear as they look to retrieve millions of pounds on behalf of investors – some of them household names – who were victims of the sting.
The Sunday Mail can reveal a notorious hood was recently called in by a retired English Premier League star capped for Scotland to chase down the £100,000 he had ploughed into collapsed company HGEC Capital.
He asked the thug to target the man he blamed for losing his cash.
The defender – who we’ve chosen not to name – has other ex-teammates still sore at losing even bigger sums of money.
An insider said: “There are a lot of people who have lost huge sums of money and they’re not in the mood to discuss it – they just want their cash back and are tired of being fobbed off.
“These are seriously heavy-duty people getting involved now and they’ve managed to claw back some of the money but that will just encourage others to use intimidation.
“It’s shocking that supposedly respectable people in the public eye are resorting to tactics like this but it’s been a murky business right from the start.
“When millions of pounds go missing, you can expect emotions to boil over. However, there are a lot of people swimming with sharks just now.”
Ayr-based HGEC Capital was set up in 2018 to invest money in Houston Gulf Energy Corporation, a Texan company that claimed it was about to make a fortune from a new oilfield.
But the scheme was actually being run Stateside by convicted US fraudster John Ehrman.
Dozens of HGEC’s investors – who are believed to have stumped up more than £10million – lost their cash when HGEC Capital collapsed a year ago.
Administrators found that some of the money had been wired to the US shortly before the Texas company went under in March 2019.
According to administrators, at least 34 investors handed money over to HGEC Capital, with sums ranging from £5000 to £185,000. Accountants discovered debts of almost £1.4million.
HGEC Capital’s sole director Kenneth Campbell filed for bankruptcy in December 2019. All that was left in the firm’s bank account was £7700.
The Sunday Mail has learnt that among the furious investors are many well-known faces in Scottish football, who are hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket between them.
Their cash was kept off the firm’s books so some are taking matters into their own hands.
The infamous enforcer demanded the ex-Scotland international’s £100,000 plus another sizeable sum to cover his own “expenses”.
The crime lord was linked to the 1999 fatal double shooting of drug dealer John Nisbet, 25, and friend William Lindsay, 29, whose bodies were found torched in East Lothian.
He never stood trial for the…