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By Nigel Somerville | Tuesday 16 January 2018
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Having taken a look at the prospectus for the flotation of AIQ (AIQ) on the Standard list in part 1 we now move on to Mama Captain, Barrel2U, Mama Harbour and iBuddee. These outfits have faced allegations of being ponzi/MLM (multi-level marketing)/pyramid/money game schemes.
Mama Captain appears to have been launched in late 2015 and last year the Malaysian central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), added it to its Financial Consumer Alerts list – essentially blacklisting the organisation, although it appears that no charges followed. You can read a report of that in the Malaymail HERE, and in the Star Online HERE.
Also affected by being black-listed were Barrel2U.com and MamaHarbour.com – you can see the BNM Financial Consumer Alerts list HERE - scroll down to entry number 212.
There may have been no charges brought (yet) in Malaysia, but in China the regulatory response was a bit more aggressive: Yangxin police announced that it had smashed pyramid schemes across more than 10 provinces, including Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangdong, Guanxi and our good friends in Fujian (home to many of the Filthy Forty). Google translate isn’t perfect, but you should get the idea from these three links HERE (story sourced from Hubei Daily), HERE (sourced from sohu.com, a Chinese internet company offering advertising, online games and other services) and HERE (another version of the Hubei daily story).
Mama Captain gets a fair bit of coverage on the internet, with wordpress documents highlighting the scheme as dodgy. Here is a website called Behind MLM which gives a description of how Mama Captain works. It makes a number of allegations which I have not been able to verify – although I have verified that you can’t find out who owns or runs it from its website. However, if the description is correct, it sounds very much like a pyramid scheme and the actions of the Malaysian Central Bank and the Yangxin police in China would therefore be understandable.
Essentially, an investor pays money and gets various points to spend at affiliated outlets, shares and various other benefits. If they sign up a new member they get more commission. It is a get rich quick scheme. The points, however, cannot be exchanged for cash so have no value outside the Mama Captain environment.
Once Mama Captain had been blacklisted in Malaysia, a new outfit popped up called iBuddee.com. There are lots of allegations that it is Mama Captain simply rebranded under a new name (for example HERE on the Behind MLM website). Certainly, the cartoon theme is continued and the benefits of paying your fee seem similar:
Whilst it is hard to track down who was running Mama Captain, I did find THIS POWERPOINT PRESENTATION dating from October 2015 which promotes Mama Captain and names Mr Nicholas Soon as CEO of Mama Captain and Mr Marcus Lee as CEO of Barrel2U on the third slide. Are they the same people as Mr Lee Chong Liang (“Marcus”) and Mr Soon Beng Gee (“Nicholas”) named as executive directors by AIQ?
If genuine, this powerpoint raises the most enormous questions for Messers Lee and Soon – such as why their positions as CEO of Barrel2U and Mama Captain are not in the AIQ prospectus, and why the spots of bother with the Chinese police and the Malaysian central bank are not disclosed.
We saw yesterday that Exec Director of AIQ Mr Lee Chong Liang (“Marcus”) extolling the virtues of a collaboration between iBuddee and AIQ (which is not mentioned in the latter’s prospectus). Why is he so keen? Could it be that Messers Lee and Soon are founders of iBuddee?
And why the big promote by the pair of them on Youtube (telling us they are founders of iBuddee) which puts iBuddee with AIQ – they aren’t connected, according to the AIQ prospectus.
Of course, the cynic might suggest that the listing of AIQ was itself a promote to give players on iBuddee confidence that it is a completely respectable outfit with a London Stock Exchange listing.
That’s nonsense, of course, because we know that the AIQ flotation was a totally professional IPO so all of the above will have been carefully checked and dismissed. And from that we can dismiss the publication date of that video (22 September 2017, just a couple of weeks after the launch of iBuddee) as pure coincidence.
So no-one in Malaysia or China will be trying to buy AIQ stock, then, unaware that it apparently has nothing to do with iBuddee and they didn't contrinute in any way to the ridiculous rise in the stock when no-one could sell. And there is no possibility that AIQ – and the LSE, by extension - has any involvement with any ponzi/MLM/pyramid scheme.
None at all.
So that’s alright then.
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