After summarising how the Qoin’s Ponzi-like rotating credit pyramid scheme came to unravel, I explain here how Stichting Doen (Holland’s Lottery Grant Authority) has been a primary funder of Qoin, issuing huge grants to the con artists – fooled by smooth-talk despite multiple, detailed & accurate warnings going back years. I share some key questions for Dutch investigators and posit that Stichting Doen has been conned, badly, going back years and has actively covered up! It’s a huge hornet’s nest of corruption and nepotism with much more to come.
Qoin is a Dutch Foundation established ostensibly as a Community Currency assistance and promotion operation however contrary to self-promotional materials and some vocal industry/IRTA’s endorsement, it was always primarily a front for the personal enrichment of two conmen Edgar Kampers and Rob van Hilten. My book The Qoin Con reveals their true natures and modus operandii.
Qoin has always been “strapped for cash” despite HUGE funding from organisations such as Stichting Doen and MILLIONS of Euros passing through their conglomerate of rotating companies, and other entities. The reason for this shortage of cash is that the bulk of loans, grants and fundraising received goes straight into the pockets of the Directors.
Their approach to business is simple:
- Talk extensively about Alternative Currencies but seek only CASH for themselves (Hmmm, now where have I seen THAT before?);
- Obtain anything, anywhere for any reason – grants, investments, loans, whatever;
- Pocket as much as possible as quickly as possible; and
- Play the creditors [for the suckers that they are] rotating credit, quietly folding companies that owe money . . . etc; then
- Laughing all the way to the bank!
The Qoin Directors built huge debt up until 2014 mainly because they have been very successful at securing funding. As I have shown in Qoin Screwing Their Creditors and their Exploitation of Crowdfunding a large portion of this used in a rotating credit fraud, leveraging a new funding round off previous ones. This is the “Con” where people think that success comes from new funds – no, conmens’ real success comes from leveraging additional loans and investments OFF the grants! Creditors ALWAYS miss out and get ‘played’.
The wheels began to fall off Qoin in mid 2014 as the Tradeqoin business fizzled under incompetence and increasingly larger debts became due. Borrowing to get out of debt never works in any jurisdiction nor at any level. Tradeqoin’s attempt to secure €150k by way of crowdfunding through Symbid in Q3, 2014 was desperately needed to repay previous Crowdfunding debts incurred at Geld voor Elkaar. This was particularly important to the fraudsters for they had personal guarantees thus the long overdue bankruptcy was obviously not a very attractive option for them!
Interestingly the Symbid campaign was a little different to previous Geld voor Elkaar campaigns in that repayment of Symbid’s advances were NEITHER guaranteed personally NOR were they a loan with strict repayment schedules. While presented as shares in the company, the €50k received by way of Symbid investors was simply a gift – a donation to conmen who lied through their teeth for the six straight months it took to get their desperately needed cash.
That instead of the successful Symbid €50k going to creditors, the vast bulk of this went straight into the personal enrichment of the two Directors (and their Creditors were again left screaming and doing deals) is simply ‘par for the course’ for these crooks!
COLLAPSE OF THE QOIN PYRAMID
Edgar Kampers (the brains) and Rob van Hilten (the front-man) “sold” themselves as experts in the Complementary Currency industry. They claimed to have given advice and been involved in some successful community currencies. They also claimed to work closely with other organisations of like mind, CCIA, STRO, NEF, IRTA etc. To some extent this was all true BUT they exaggerated their involvement and implied success when the facts spoke otherwise.
Talking the talk, no matter how exaggerated wouldn’t have caused their financial failure UNTIL the wheels started coming off. When you need increasing amounts of cash to fund a certain lifestyle (and more importantly servicing pressing debt) it only takes ONE failure and the whole pyramid collapses.
Rotating credit (borrowing to get out of debt) is a form of a Ponzi, or a pyramid scheme – when credit, loans or advances received can only service existing debt. Rob and Edgar however leveraged their loans/advances for still greater borrowings/investments and trashed their Creditors by various means – hence the fraudulent aspects of the Qoin operations.
That the €150k of the planned Symbid campaign had to be reduced to ‘only’ €50k was essentially the beginning of the end for the Qoin con. The period immediately preceding this (Q2-Q4, 2015) was a barren time, little coming in and large unserviceable debt. The barrel was empty in December 2015, my blogging started in Q1, 2016 and the closures [bankruptcies] started shortly thereafter.
STICHTING DOEN’S COMPLICITY
A substantial portion of Qoin’s ‘success’ in the fundraising scene has been Stichting Doen’s partnership with Qoin. Their logo was (and is) plastered all over Qoin’s materials and (like with their coup getting Rob on the Board at IRTA) for good reason the conmen were proud to partner with, and have Stichting Doen’s support.
Conmen like Edgar and Rob leverage relationships like this to gain credibility. We all do this of course to some degree, very pleased to ‘name-drop’ when it suits our self-promotion – the difference with the Qoin people though is that both the figures and the stakes are much higher – especially when you deal with a large and serious entity such as Stichting Doen.
In an upcoming post I will be showing how these con artists used Stichting Doen’s grant processes to leverage crowdfunding, analysing the conmen’s own words and comparing it with Stichting DOEN’s actual rules and conduct.
The key question for investigators though in regard to Stichting Doen is TO WHAT EXTENT WAS STICHTING DOEN AWARE OF THE CON? If for example it could be established that Edgar and Rob, “Came across as nice guys and had a plausible story” and that Qoin’s later demise is “All very sad but not our business” then Stichting Doen could quite legitimately claim innocence.
That however is NOT the case – far from it . . . they were warned specifically and repeatedly, they covered up, accused the complainants of Blackmail AND then threatened the complainants with legal action!
Whew! Go The Netherlands!!!
THE TRADE XCHANGE COMPLAINTS
When I was researching the Tradeqoin fraud in 2014, I had extensive discussions with the people from Trade Xchange in relation to Stichting DOEN’s funding of Qoin. I’ve recently confirmed that their situation with Stichting DOEN is still exactly the same – they were told to back off or face the consequences; they did that; and have honoured Stichting DOEN’s request to “bugger off” as I put it, in the interim.
At the time they explained to me that they strongly suspected that Qoin was not kosher. In fact, I now know that they KNEW this for sure, but my investigations have proven this emphatically. This all is a story for another day but when I asked for proof, they gave me and allowed me to use a scanned, signed document from Stichting DOEN which is actually quite rude. [Dutch are obviously not blunt with only outsiders if they talk to each other this way!]
Basically Stichting DOEN told Trade Xchange to ‘bugger off’; to leave them alone and to cap it all off they threatened to sue if the complainant went public and caused them damaged reputation (in a slightly round about way).
Here’s the English translation (Google Translate tweaked a little for clarification). Click on the image to view the original in high resolution:
Dear Sir Musschenga
We understood from MW. Tellegen that you on 22-12-2013 again have contacted Stichting DOEN Foundation with a complaint about the actions of Qoin. Your complaint is, after extensive treatment dismissed by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of Stichting DOEN as explained in our conversation dated 23-10-2013. If you have a complaint about the actions of Qoin, you need about contact with Qoin.
DOEN has only to examine the actions of the party which is a direct relationship. Of course, all organizations where Stichting DOEN works with must be tested for integrity, but that is as far as it goes. DOEN has no mediating role in the market or disputes .
[Your] continued approaching of DOEN with allegations and threats of negative publicity is therefore not meaningful and is starting to look like a form of blackmail.
This is the last time we respond to such correspondence from your side and DOEN will hold Trade Xchange liable for any damage they might cause to DOEN.
I embolded two parts – the first telling the complainant that they have an obligation to test applicants for integrity. Well, Stichting DOEN, it took a blogger located in Samoa to show the world but your test for integrity was an EPIC FAIL!
The second bolded part was that they were going to [paraphrased] hold you [the complainant] responsible for damages [to their reputation]. That’s code for . . . “We’ll sue you!” I look forward to receiving your legal documents Stichting DOEN. You can serve me at Camp Samoa and any lawyer in Samoa will gladly take your case in order to get me out of the way having dealt with their buddies by charging them with crimes and issuing 10,000 word public warnings.
Now there’s more in my book The Qoin Con including the original complaint and a full history of Stichting DOEN’s ‘interesting’ engagement with these guys but I can assure you VERY clearly that Stichting DOEN had EVERY opportunity to know that Qoin was a Con and yet ‘intriguingly’ considered the matter a commercial dispute, and covered up their granting of large sums of public money obtained from lotteries to a couple of conmen, who, as I showed in the opening image have been laughing all the way to the bank!
Stichting DOEN was indeed DONE over, STITCHED-UP really nicely!
Personally I wouldn’t give too hoots about the fact that Stichting DOEN got done over – they were fooled like many others by smiles-in-suits that lied – EXCEPT that they tried to cover-up for their errors and trashed the complainant in the process accusing them of “a form of Blackmail”. As they say in these situations, “It’s not so much the original crime that gets you, it is the cover-up”.
Stichting DOEN’s conduct and communication raises some other issues . . .
How did they investigate? I think I know a lot about Tradeqoin. Simply Search TRADEQOIN and you get my blog. Silence though – they never spoke to me! I too, contacted Stichting DOEN at the time and for the love of money I can’t find anything that resembles transparency on their website despite protestations that they do have accountability. Where is the accountability that they promise(d)? What was the money spent on? Where are the deliverables and post-project reports? Did they know of multiple bankruptcies from these goons – or do they just give money to their smiles-in-suits because they are, well, connected? Does it matter if a complainant is a commercial competitor or not? Surely it is the content of the complaint with associated EVIDENCE that matters.
The truth is that Stichting DOEN has made and makes friends with crims, crooks & crazies who are the very people I expose. Stichting DOEN’s nepotism is legendary in The Netherlands. I am not the first to write about this. Here is a Stichting DOEN representative sitting alongside of another “interesting character” with an “interesting record” who also received Stichting DOEN grant money for “interesting” purposes under “interesting circumstances”.
I show this picture here, specifically to show Stichting DOEN’s legal department and those in the know, that investigative bloggers investigate and that once the cat is out of the cage, many more cats can appear on the scenes. Your legal case Stichting DOEN will be long, drawn-out, involved and PUBLIC. In case you think this is “a form of Blackmail” no it is not . . . it is a promise and an invitation. You can do whatever you like – cover-up, sue me, or whatever but I would LOVE you to sue me . . . please. I will continue to expose organisations that fester their mates nest at the expense of the little people in life and lie about it and I need nothing from you.
Now as always, if I’ve missed something or I have something wrong then you can always correct it via my Right of Reply which I always honour – simply show me the investigation process and notes into the complainant’s case of 2013 (don’t worry about their communications TO you, for I have them already from my Tipline) but I wonder about your investigation into Qoin’s integrity and your process to follow-up deliverables and their repeat funding . . .
There is much more to come on all of this I can assure you including Stichting DOEN’s funding of a commercial entity against their own rules . . . and more . . . stay tuned.