£200k bar bill trader faces fraud trial

ALEX Hope, the foreign exchange trader and self-proclaimed City whizzkid who hit the headlines when he spent more than £200,000 on a single bar bill, will stand trial next month on fraud charges.

Hope, 24, appeared at City of London magistrate’s court yesterday morning and was told his case will begin at Southwark crown court on 30 July.

He gained notoriety last year after pictures were released to the tabloids of Hope spending £125,000 on a double nebuchadnezzar bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne as part of a night out in a Liverpool nightclub. Other pictures showed him partying with reality TV stars, Premier League footballers and well-known models.

Hope is accused by the Financial Conduct Authority of promoting and operating a £5m unauthorised investment scheme that purported to trade the foreign exchange markets on behalf of hundreds of other investors.

Yesterday he stood to confirm his address in Docklands, close to the Excel exhibition centre. He was joined in the dock by business associate Raj Von Badlo, who gave his address as Bourne End, Buckinghamshire and will face trial on five offences relating to the scheme he promoted with Hope.

Neither entered pleas, although Von Badlo sought permission to alter his bail to go on a pre-trial holiday to Marbella and Turkey.

Last April City A.M. broke the news that Hope had been arrested in a dawn raid, just weeks after his brush with fame. The former Wembley stadium catering manager previously employed a personal PR agency that secured him coverage in broadsheet newspapers and helped him host events for entrepreneurs sponsored by the London Stock Exchange.

Hope also built a website that described how he taught himself economics and foreign exchange by reading textbooks on his commute to work.