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By Tom Winnifrith | Thursday 18 January 2018
Disclosure: I own shares in one or more of the stocks mentioned. 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.
Nigel Somerville penned two articles on AIQ (AIQ) which, I thought were pretty damning as you can see HERE and HERE. The valuation is clearly bonkers and I say that as a shareholder (by accident not design). Andrew Monk of VSA floated AIQ and has penned this response which I am happy to publish in full as it all seems very comprehensive and reassuring. I really don't know what to think other than that the valuation at the suspension price is bonkers on steroids.
I am writing to you regarding our client AIQ Limited, on which your writers have commented, on the ShareProphets website.
Firstly, we admire the investigative journalism that ShareProphets provides and also recognise that you have historically been instrumental in uncovering many situations which the market hadn’t appreciated. However we, as corporate advisers, are minded to ensure printed articles are factually accurate. After a thorough internal investigation, this letter aims to point out certain incorrect assumptions made, as well as accept certain statements made in the articles.
I can assure you that the AIQ IPO was managed and completed professionally and I hope you agree that, following your articles which we and the Company have taken very seriously, we have sought to determine the truth.
As a point of consideration, the Company and we would have appreciated the opportunity to comment on the allegations that you made before you published the articles, as this would only have been fair. I hope that you will publish this letter in the interests of fairness and natural justice.
I have set out our responses and facts below.
Regarding MamaCaptain, Nicholas has been a business acquaintance of the individual behind the company for many years, an entrepreneur based in China. Given Nicholas and Marcus’ business expertise in the e-commerce space, this individual approached both Nicholas and Marcus to be consultants to him.
Prior to providing such services, Nicholas and Marcus suggested that MamaCaptain needed to obtain the necessary e-commerce licences to comply with Chinese requirements. When it became evident that the company was not making any progress, or attempts to obtain these licences, both Nicholas and Marcus withdrew from providing any further advice.
Nicholas runs a successful M2M smart vending machine business in Malaysia, Mama11, which support pre-paid credits such as pre-paid student cards, employee cards etc. Although it had initially extended this to the MamaCaptain platform credits earnt on MamCaptain site were subsequently stopped from being used in the Mama 11 vending machine after not receiving assurance from MamaCaptain that they had obtained the necessary e-commerce licences. The cooperation between MamaCaptain and Mama11 was concluded. Neither Nicholas, nor Marcus, were ever formally employed by MamaCaptain in any capacity.
Mama Harbour and Barrel2U are brands associated with MamaCaptain and Nicholas and Marcus have no links with them either. Hence it was unfair to link Nicholas and Marcus with any of these companies.
The MamaCaptain name has been plagiarised in China, and many similar names exist, however these are in no way related to the MamaCaptain business in Malaysia. The Ponzi scheme that is mentioned in your article is one of these plagiarised sites and unrelated to the MamaCaptain business in Malaysia. In any event, it is incorrect to link Nicholas and Marcus to any of these companies.
The presentation accessed via the link you provided, where Nicholas and Marcus are named, is inaccurate and was produced in 2015 without either Nicholas or Marcus’ knowledge or consent. This appears to be a common practice in Asia, with VSA having experienced this ourselves, our name appearing in marketing brochures without our consent or knowledge.
The situation with iBuddee is similar to that of MamaCaptain. The individual behind iBuddee, is a business man based in Malaysia. This business man, knowing Nicholas and Marcus’s area of expertise, approached both to provide informal advice on his new business.
Nicholas and Marcus provided advice in good faith, as one would a business acquaintance. Neither Nicholas nor Marcus were employed, remunerated, received shares in, or made directors in connection with iBuddee, nor any other related company. Hence, it is not correct to link Nicholas and Marcus in the way it was done.
The video clip from the conference to which you provided a link is not the entire video. Both Nicholas and Marcus were invited to the conference, along with many other respected individuals from the e-commerce industry. Nicholas and Marcus have since communicated to both MamaCaptain and iBuddee that these videos and marketing materials have been miscommunicated in London and caused a negative impact on AIQ. Nicholas and Marcus have since been informed that the videos have been taken down.
Proudbuild Trading, Resultbuild Property Investment Co, MMCapVen Ltd
As stated in the article, both Nicholas and Marcus are directors of two separate companies in Cambodia. Nicholas is a director of Proudbuild Trading and Marcus a director of Resultbuild Property Investment Co Limited. These companies were established as part of a business investment visa scheme promoted by the Cambodian government. Nicholas is also director of the Cypriot company that you mentioned, MMCapVen Limited. This was set up some years ago with the view of facilitating EU gate payments from China.
None of the three companies were ever ‘activated’ and remain dormant and have never traded. Nicholas and Marcus regret the inadvertent error in failing to disclose these companies, but it did not occur to them to do so as they have always been dormant. As instructed by the Company, we have brought this inadvertent error to the attention of the FCA.
I hope that the above satisfactorily explains the true nature and reality of the situations that have been raised by your team.
We would like to stress that we have found Nicholas and Marcus to be upstanding people who have a real desire to use their expertise to help support the growth of an e-commerce or artificial intelligence business (not a crypto currency business) and extend its reach into global markets.
Nicholas, Marcus and I would also like to extend an invitation to you, and any of your writers, to meet with them to discuss all of these points and to answer any follow-up questions you may have. Nicholas and Marcus are keen to build an open honest dialogue with you and your team.
Chief Executive Officer
VSA Capital Limited
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