The European Funds Recovery Initiative (EFRI) was set up in November 2018 by FinTelegram Investors Protection Ltd (“FinTelegram”) together with auditors and lawyers. The EFRI mission always was to provide support to scam victims in recovering their losses. I, being a registered Accountant, was appointed as EFRI Principal. After more than 18 months now running the EFRI-Initiative, we decided to set up a not-for-profit entity running the Initiative to Combat Cybercrime against Consumers and Small Investors in Europe/EFRI Initiative.
The new entity is registered in Vienna ZVR:1493630560, the Statutes can be downloaded here. All the people who have granted a Power of Attorney (PoA) to Elfriede Sixt, EFRI principal during the past months, will become members of the EFRI NGO.
Back in October 2018 when we started it was like a jump in the cold water and only during the past months by hearing all the stories of hundreds of victims and by talking to prosecutors all over Europe we have realized the huge size of fraud with online trading websites going on a worldwide basis.
We realized that although the European Union may be praised for its free European financial market but has severe flaws regarding investor protection, money laundering, cross-border criminal investigations, and corruption. We have learned that the highly promoted term “cybersecurity” mainly addresses cybercrime addressing companies but not individual persons. And we have learned a lot about how the fraudsters do their business and as we get defamed and threatened by them about every day we realized how powerful these fraudsters are by having collected so much money over so many years without any counterclaims.
More than 1,500 scam victims have registered with EFRI so far. Of these, more than 800 victims have provided EFRI the Power of Attorney (POA) to pursue their claims against scammers and facilitating third parties involved such as banks, payment processors, or boiler room operators.
Up to today we have filed money-laundering complaints against several payment service providers and banks involved in the fraudulent scams (like #Kobenhavn Andelskasse, #Wirecard, #Postbank, or #Payvision). In addition, EFRI has, on the basis of information and documents provided by victims and whistleblowers, submitted criminal complaints about fraudulent actors to financial market supervisory authorities regarding financial services providers acting negligently or intentionally violating regulatory rules (like the notorious MoneynetInternational, Moorwand and others). In doing so, EFRI has systematically developed a network of public prosecutors, financial market regulators, lawyers, investor and consumer protection NGOs and media people.
A network that could – if enlarged by the network of all the victims out there – really make a difference in the fight against cybercrime. And based on what we have experienced over the last couple of months one thing is crystal clear – something must happen to fight this incredible harm caused by investment scams in Europe.
Based on many discussions about the efficiency of filing legal claims and about raising awareness in Europe with authorities, we decided to finally set up a non-governmental non-profit association. With effect from 25 May 2020 this EFRI Non-Government Organization (“EFRI NGO“) was registered in Vienna. The EFRI NGO will be the victim-driven vehicle to recover funds over different jurisdictions and regulatory regimes via litigation and/or out-of-court settlement where feasible and this EFRI NGO is supposed to become the voice of all the defrauded victims in addressing all the European and International authorities in requesting Justice.
The financial means for asserting the claims will be provided by the EFRI FUND established for this purpose. This fund will be operated by EFRI Asset Management Ltd, which is registered in the UK, and will act together with interested investors as a for-profit litigation funder for EFRI NGO. In return the EFRI FUND will receive a share of the successfully recovered funds. In addition the EFRI NGO will seek for donations, grants and so on to be able to fight a powerful war against the scammers.
The EFRI NGO will be managed by two directors. One of the directors is appointed by the founders. This is the current EFRI Principal Elfriede Sixt. The second director will in future be proposed by the members of the EFRI (non-executive) Advisory Board, for the beginning the rep for the EFRI Advisory Board is Nigel Kimberly (UK-born, lives in Finland)
The EFRI Advisory Board (Section 14 of our statutes) will consist of at least one representative for each country, – (up to today we have already 27 members of this non-executive board from countries all over the world and still counting).. this Advisory Board is administered for the time being by Nigel Kimberly and Raoula Malouf (Lebanon-born, French citizen, lives in Norway). Many people in our EFRI community know both of them as they have been in the scam fighter industry for quite a long time.
Let us be as persistent and as relentless as the fraudsters in our fight against the scammer industry and its enablers.