Swiss swindler deceives Dragons Den

Swiss entrepreneur Jean-Claude Baumgartner, 50, was sentenced last week to two years and eight months in a UK jail for deceiving presenters on the British TV show, Dragon’s Den.


The show requires entrepreneurs to present and defend their business ideas before a panel of seasoned businessmen and investors.

Baumgartner presented his idea to build satellite navigation devices for skiers, “Satski”, and on the basis of fake emails and letters, and other misinformation, convinced two of the so-called “Dragons” to invest £230,000 in his company, The Sun newspaper reported.

“You created a false trail of documents to deceive well-intentioned people,” Judge Aidan Marron QC said at the trial.

Rather than use the money that had been invested for the business, Baumgartner spent it on living the high life, including renting an expensive house in Hampstead, one of London’s most affluent areas.

“It is clear to me that from an early stage you were redirecting monies and indeed appropriating funds for your own purposes, you were responsible for a number of different frauds within that main fraud,” the Daily Mail online reported Judge Marron as saying.

Baumgartner had originally said that the business had failed because the Dragons had failed to give him the expertise they had promised.

But the conman was finally caught out when an old business partner, William Piers from Val d’Isere, saw him on the screen and alerted the British media, online website Le Matin reported.

It turned out that Baumgartner had already failed to make the product a success in Switzerland, and that several other people had already lost money, both in this and in other ventures.

“The GPS proved defective, nobody wanted it,” Piers said.

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