Eastern Europeans promised non-existent jobs on 2012 site on payment of £600 deposit

Hundreds of Eastern European workers have been duped in an alleged scam promising them non-existent jobs at the London 2012 Olympic site, according to a BBC investigation.

The BBC is claiming that 550 Slovakians handed over cash deposits of £600 to Nigel Lewis, who is based in east London. The workers were promised accommodation on a cruise ship in Docklands and jobs on the site of the Olympic Village.

Lewis has insisted that he made no profit from his UK Cruise Line venture.

In a programme due to be aired later today, it is claimed that he advertised for catering staff and tradesmen to work in east London.

After deposits were transferred to his firm UK Cruise Line Ltd in 2006, it is claimed that he vanished. But, speaking to the BBC this month, Lewis said he had intended to buy three cruise ships and secure jobs at the Olympic site but that “it just went out of control”.

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has vowed to work with police, who have been handed evidence collated by the programme makers, to investigate the alleged scam.