Sprint legend Usain Bolt says he’s still holding “firm” after one year, a reference which social media users have been theorising to be linked to the anniversary of the multi-billion-dollar fraud at investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).
“One year ago today, but just know still a hold firm,” wrote the retired world record holder as a caption to a 22-second video he posted on his social media platforms on Thursday.
On January 12, 2023, news broke that millions of dollars reportedly went missing from Bolt’s account at SSL, which subsequently led to a multi-agency fraud probe that resulted in Jean-Ann Panton, a former wealth advisor at the firm, being the sole person to be charged so far.
While he opted not to directly mention the fraud at SSL, Bolt expressed thanks to his fans for their support.
The sprinter was notably not his usual vibrant self, and spoke more in a seemingly sombre tone.
“Just want to (tell) unuh seh mi still deya, still fighting the fight, still a whul on, always ago stay strong. Yuh know how the country yutes dweet,” said the retired sprinter.
“To all the people dem who deya a support me, continue support. Yuh know a nutten but love, alright,” he ended with a peace sign finger gesture.
Bolt, through his company Welljen Limited, has sued SSL. The case is currently in the Civil Division of the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston.
The world record holder’s fans are continuing to react to his latest post, with several giving him their unwavering support.
“Yuh work hard fi things, so don’t sit quietly and mek them braff offa yuh sweat and hard work. Stop play nice because you have a big voice,” commented producer Kirk Ford on Bolt’s Instagram page.
Dancehall artiste Baby Cham said: “One Year… A Long Year 🙏”.
Said another Instagram user: “Such an evil act to an honest and humble person”.
Added another: “What a shame. ☹ Look how hard u work 🙁. Don’t worry legend ⚡. Leave dem to God n (and) time.”
Panton last appeared via video link in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston on December 6, 2023, the same morning the Financial Investigations Division (FID) issued a statement in which it disclosed that more than 200 affected accounts and a staggering US$30 million have been linked to fraudulent activities among SSL clients’ funds.
The FID said the probe so far has detected “potential criminal and regulatory breaches involving both the company itself and individuals associated with it,” which are distinct from the ongoing court case related to Panton.
The FID submitted a file to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn that same month. There has been no word, to date, on whether she has recommend that other individuals be charged with criminal offences relative to the case.
Panton, for her alleged role in the SSL fraud, is charged with numerous breaches of the Larceny Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Forgery Act, and the Cyber Crimes Act.
A case management hearing in the matter is to continue on May 27, 2024, and Panton is to remain in custody until then.
Bolt is among the more than 200 investors who have been impacted by the fraud. However, despite the magnitude of the alleged fraud and numerous appeals, the FID said it has only received 23 official statements from affected individuals and entities. Investigators have not indicated whether the retired sprinter is among the individuals who have given statements to them relative to the case.