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AIQ – Credit where credit is due

By Nigel Somerville | Friday 19 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.

Andrew Monk of VSA Capital has answered the questions raised in my previous two articles covering Standard-listed (but still suspended) AIQ (AIQ). He has to be credited for following up on the issues presented, and being open with his answers.

With regard to Mama Captain, we are told that the Mama Captain site was plagiarised in China, and had nothing to do with the Malaysian site. We are told that the Ponzi allegations in China related to this, and not the Malaysian company.

We are also told that Messrs Lee and Soon were approached by the entrepreneur behind Mama Captain, who was based in China, to be consultants to him as they had expertise in the area of e-commerce. We are told, contrary to the 2015 presentation I found, that they were not directors and were never formally employed by Mama Captain in any capacity, and that they had neither consented to or knew of their inclusion in the presentation. Their photos suggest a slightly closer relationship, but I can see how the photos with Mama Captain plastered around them could have been entirely innocent on their part.

We are also told that they advised Mama Captain to get the necessary e-commerce licences to comply with Chinese requirements and that when this was not done they withdrew from providing further advice.

I think the question shouting out at me is how they got involved at all (even as consultants) with a business whose Malaysian operations got black-listed by the Malaysian Central Bank. That strikes me as a tad careless. I daresay a lesson was learned.

With regard to iBuddee, we are told that it was a fairly similar situation in that the entrepreneur behind that operation also approached them to provide informal advice, which they offered in good faith but received no remuneration, were not employed, received no shares or made directors of iBuddee or any related company. The video of Marcus Lee extolling the virtues of AIQ and its dealings with iBuddee has been taken down, as have other videos and marketing materials by both Mama Captain and iBuddee as they “have been miscommunicated in London”. I should coco – AIQ has NO relationship with iBuddee (or Mama Captain), as otherwise it would have appeared in the listing prospectus. This all rather suggests that the people behind Mama Captain and iBuddee were rather more keen on a formal relationship than Messers Lee and Soon were.

The three companies identified by us where Messers Lee and/or Soon were directors which had not been declared in the AIQ prospectus are confirmed, but all are dormant and have never traded. It is an oversight to have missed them out from the prospectus and the FCA has been duly notified. But it is surely no more than a parking ticket offence, despite suggesting that the due diligence was not quite as thorough as one would like (it really did only take a couple of minutes searching the OpenCorporates website to find them).

So Andrew Monk is standing by his men, describing them as upstanding and with a real desire to help support the growth of an e-commerce or artificial intelligence business. I note carefully that a crypto currency business is ruled out. Does that means that when AIQ does find an operation to acquire it won’t be anything along the lines of Mama Captain or iBuddee?

But I do feel that the due diligence involved in getting this reply should have been done ahead of the very professional IPO, not a few days after it listed. The remedial work in removing YouTube videos was obviously deemed urgent enough to address my concerns. Why not before?

I have to thank Andrew Monk for this open and detailed response, and the mature handling of matters. I look forward to the un-suspending of the shares in due course, a suspension which has dragged on for quite a while, given that it was originally because of a disorderly market upon listing (is that not a bit of a Red Flag?) itself caused by the subscribers to the IPO placing not having received their shares. My understanding is that this matter was corrected some days ago, so I would imagine that once the missing directorships which should have been disclosed in the first place are processed the stock will be up and running agaih (or rather, back down to a more sensible price).

I still think readers would be bonkers to invest in AIQ, but let’s see what happens.

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