Following a recent communication from a disillusioned Symbid investor via my Tipline, I give here advice on how to achieve his objective . . . to hold the conmen accountable. Natural justice should be free for all, but in practice it always costs. For me it is my massive investment of time (and money) into researching a con such as Tradeqoin/Qoin. For others (like this guy who has been ripped off) it may cost as well. As Dietrich Bonheieffer quipped, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil”. Here I give the background to the Qoin Con, and pick out the key issues that those seeking justice should be aware of and give advice. Enjoy!
Tradeqoin, is/was the commercial trade exchange at the centre of Qoin, an operation run by two Dutch conmen Rob van Hilten and Edgar Kampers who held themselves out to be “Complementary Currency experts”.
Over the last few years I have blogged extensively:
- Showing Tradeqoin to be an outright fraud with less than 6% genuine members, and virtually zero trading;
- Exposing their Symbid crowdfunding campaign as totally fraudulent [and in real-time, BTW!];
- Revealing inside-information relating to Qoin’s crimes such as trading while insolvent, the Directors’ callous disregard for creditors (many of whom sacrificed personally for the vision); and
- Forcing their bankruptcy currently assessed as a half a million Euro total loss.
The Recent Communication
I share here the communication received from a disillusioned Symbid investor, who is seeking justice.
I am one of the misleaded investors in Tradeqoin and recently found your website and blogs. I just informed Symbid to see whether they are aware of this alleged fraud case and whether they are in contact with the curator or maybe Rob van Hilten. Feel free to contact me as I’d love to see Mr.van Hilten and his team held accountable for misleading, fraud etc.
David [original name withheld]
My General Response
‘David’ has been ripped off. He has invested into a Symbid campaign that turned out to be a fraud. He has approached a few people but self-interest will prevent anything meaningful from occurring.
He is though in a potentially VERY powerful position because unlike me (who has only losses from verbal stoushes) he has lost cash as a result of greed and crime. The laws he can call upon are much stronger, easier to implement and well-understood thus he has the potential to achieve justice far easier than I can.
While I have set the scene and done the hard yards by way of investigation and blogging, David is in a better position to act. Furthermore I prefer to be seen as a thinker and a source of truth, rather than an activist. Sure, I love seeing the bad-boys get their comeuppance, but for me that is a secondary or even tertiary objective.
I will though guide him and help him in HOW to achieve his objective, on the remote off chance that he’s prepared to pay the price to ensure that justice is achieved. The first thing to do is read my blogging about these Qoin boys. It’s a massive revelation mixed in with opinion!
The Key Players
There are several key players relating to this fraud. David will need to understand the political situation surrounding each ‘player’ so that he can act appropriately. Just speaking nicely to Symbid for example will achieve nothing for they have a vested interest in protecting their reputation, thus will want the matter to go away quietly. They KNEW Tradeqoin was dodgy yet profited from the project listing! Obviously they will not want people to question their conduct as this will be embarrassing to them if it be found that they did something wrong, or outside the norm, nudge-nudge-wink-wink, if you know what I mean.
Likewise with the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), if it be known that they aided and abetted the crimes, either actively OR passively. (It was actively!) David will need to understand how intimate these turkeys were with the conmen; how embarrassing it is for IRTA now that their leadership has been exposed as corrupt to the core.
The Curator too has legal obligations, financial interests and a reputation at stake. Ignoring the commercial realities and assuming that an officially appointed bureaucrat is all for justice, for justice’s sake may be somewhat naive. (Commercial reality!)
The conmen too will try to do any and everything to retain their ill-gotten gains (i.e. their houses) and to try to protect their reputation. They’ve already tried to con the Curator, creditors, IRTA and the industry; don’t expect them to say sorry or to admit any crimes in a hurry . . . you get the picture!
Symbid is a Dutch crowdfunding website. They accepted Tradeqoin’s bid and made commercial profit from the successful funding round, thus they had a vested interest in Tradeqoin’s successful funding application. In relation to Tradeqoin’s listing, there are two facts that Symbid will want to suppress in order to protect their butt:
- The fact that the eventually successful Tradeqoin campaign was halted mid-stride as a result of my blogging warning the public that it was a fraud, and then time-extended; and
- The fact that Tradeqoin was a total and utter fraud at all.
If it be found that Symbid either knew or had good reason to have known that Tradeqoin was a fraud, yet they still proceeded with the crowdfunding campaign anyway, then they are clearly potentially liable for losses resulting. They were. They are. This can be easily proven. If David, or anyone else wants to do something in this regard, I am happy to share the evidence off-line. It is damning!
I repeat this and clarify the situation. Symbid are clearly morally (if not legally) liable for every cent that the conmen got through the Symbid crowdfunding exercise. SYMBID WERE WARNED BUT WERE BLINDED BY THEIR COMMISSION (or corruption relating to Qoin’s activities). SYMBID DOES HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT INVESTORS no matter how many escape clauses there are written into their contracts.
When I blogged about the fraudulent valuations and insane projections, one potential investor asked the conmen solid questions. They could not supply answers, so instead invited him for a “cup of coffee to discuss the issues”. At that point any serious crowdfunding should have taken the campaign down. From Symbid, this was gross negligence if not outright conspiracy to defraud. It’s a lot clearer when you realise that I informed Symbid directly of my concerns! Yes, Symbid knew all right, and [damningly & incredibly] proceeded by extending the time-frame for the fraudulent Tradeqoin campaign! OMG! Talk about complicit!
Remember also that Tradeqoin (according to the conmen’s latest dispatch) is still going strong and not even a part of the Qoin bankruptcy! That’s nonsense to the informed but Symbid has to make a choice – either they accept that Tradeqoin is/was a fraud, or they support their clients, the conmen! Decoded: Symbid are in deep sh*t, by way of their own greed.
The Executive of IRTA, specifically Executive Director Ron Whitney and Chairwoman Annette Riggs are ‘thick’ with the conmen. Not only did they appoint ‘their man’ from Qoin, Rob van Hilten, onto the global Board of Directors contrary to their own association’s rules, they actively defended them at the height of my blogging revealing Tradeqoin to be a fraud (in the face of PROOF provided in real-time). As if this wasn’t enough, they made matters substantially worse, because immediately following Qoin’s bankruptcy in March 2016, they initiated a communication to the industry totally contrary to my factual, knowledgeable and accurate blogging, informing all that the Qoin bankruptcy was a minor event, and that the real Qoin was continuing to trade! OMG!
How can David achieve justice when the conmen are actively aided and abetted, then defended publicly not once, but twice over a period of years by the very organisation supposedly there to STOP this sort of nonsense?
c) The Curator
In the Western jurisdictions the ‘Curator’ is called a Receiver, or Liquidator. The Curator is appointed by the Dutch Courts, and it is his role to tidy up the affairs collect what is owing and get matters to the point that all can get on with life. He is paid an initial stipend from the authorities, and if there is anything in the barrel he will take a piece of the action. If there is complexity such as crime or other investigation needed, he is able to go back to his employers (the court) and get additional funding.
As I have blogged about extensively, in Qoin’s case there are actual crimes that have been committed – trading while insolvent is one, and concealing assets in the face of bankruptcy is another. There are more but these are the ‘easy’ ones to see, prove and deal with. Anyone who has a valid reason who contacts me can have the proof.
I have concerns with the Curator though and what he has done and is doing, or not doing to be more specific. None of these concerns are terminal, and can be fixed with a bit of time, effort and goodwill BUT concerns they remain:
- The key issue that I have blogged about, which is that the assets have been stripped out immediately prior to the bankruptcy (going to Qoin BV) is not yet addressed MONTHS after the bankruptcy. I think this should be the FIRST question and investigation, not just left for future analysis! This is THE central issue upon which all Qoin’s tangled web of companies, crimes and intrigue sit.
- The Curator has spent the bulk of his time investigating Qoin’s affairs in Belgium. WTF? Qoin owned shares in a bankrupt business which anyone with two cents worth of brains could work out that this was all a dead-duck. A clear waste of time.
- The Curator obtained the approval of the Amsterdam Judge to sell a computer to the conmen. Why? Why did the conmen want this computer so badly that even though they were bankrupt they still allocated a ‘little’ of what they had to secure it?
- I have placed an offer for Qoin’s IP assets. Although comparatively small, there is a commercial value in the Tradeqoin database, the Qoin IP and so on. I have blogged this offer and given it to the Curator directly. This is real tangible cash value that is [theoretically at least] available to the Tradeqoin/Qoin creditors, yet it is not listed in the Curator’s Second Report as an asset, or at least a potential asset. One has to ask why not? Is the Curator going to sell the asset or just walk away from an offer? Creditors should be watching to ensure that the Curator does his job and that something has been returned for the asset.
David will need to understand that the Curator has a legal obligation to act in the creditors’ best interests however if it requires serious work to uncover the ‘gold’ then he will be unlikely to act unless it is in his interests to do so. Specific questions and challenges and following up can ensure that officials do their job. The squeaky hinge gets the oil, sort-of-thing!
d) Valerie Vallenduuk
The ‘dodgy’ lawyer Valerie Vallenduuk was in the thick of Tradeqoin’s inception and fraudulent campaign. She knew it all and is vulnerable. Her father was a well respected and ‘connected’ lawyer who will NOT want his daughter and his company name dragged through the legal processes again. One has to ask how justice can be served when one of the perpetrators has got away Scott-free. Rob and Edgar may be in hiding and cannot ever show their face in public or in business without this blogger on their case, BUT what about their partner in crime who was VERY active in the fraud at the time? Is Valerie Vallenduuk the lucky lawyer that got away in the nick of time, just before the ship sank, or is there justice after all?
David (and indeed others at any time in the future) should read my blogs relating to this aspect of the con-job and probably lodge a complaint with the Lawyers’ Association over her skulduggery at the time. The evidence is compelling and any complaint WILL be successful. I know this because I interviewed the people whom Tradeqoin targeted for legal destruction – their only opposition in The Netherlands – TradeExchange. I am sure that if David contacted these people and had a little discussion, he would find them VERY willing to share the background and their evidence!
Oh, and as with all lawyers involved in corrupt practices, there might even be some financial rewards in there. like hush-money, or out-of-court settlements etc – who knows?
e) The Authorities
There are two authorities in The Netherlands that David and others can turn to. (He really needs to get others involved if he wants justice – this is not a lone gunman scenario – he needs multiple voices for justice to be gained)
- The AFM Authority for Financial Markets. AFM is the primary watchdog for all financial matters; and
- The Fraud Helpdesk
Crowdfunding websites are coming under increasing pressure around the globe (and this includes The Netherlands) to up their game and filter out the rubbish like the fraudulent Tradeqoin campaign. Symbid’s role in enabling this fraud in the face of ample, unequivocal evidence supplied IN REAL-TIME is incredibly powerful evidence that AFM must surely consider. It’s not hard to make a complaint to them and I have all the evidence online (well certainly much of it).
I know that the Fraud Helpdesk has already accepted at least one complaint about these conmen for investigation. This means that one has gotten through the screening process, so there is ALREADY prima facie evidence of crimes visible to the authorities in The Netherlands. Additional complaints to these people will be well worthwhile and hardly a waste of time. The more the merrier in my book, for justice sometimes needs a body of complainants to occur.
f) Other Creditors
David is not alone. Some of Qoin’s creditors have personal guarantees. Others don’t. The size of the debts are so large in comparison to the minimal value of the assets that no unsecured creditor will receive a cent.
Most creditors will just walk away and remain silent, especially small-time Symbid investors. This larger ones with PGs may act against the individuals but apathy, disillusionment and depression will likely affect the majority. People will generally act in self-interest – it is few who will pay for justice if there is nothing in it for themselves – after all that is most likely why they invested in the first place.
Given an easy, low-cost way to participate in justice though, many may help. Symbid investors sharing about how Symbid acted against their best interests may assist David’s wish for justice.
Getting more people involved increases the likelihood that justice will be served. As many people have said . . . it’s an incredible story that MUST be told to make sure that these conmen cannot do the same thing anymore – for the sake of the ‘little’ people.
The Key Questions
- Where has the money gone? Is there anything left? If so where is it? It’s tied up in their personal property.
- What crimes have been committed? Are they being processed correctly? Trading while insolvent and bankruptcy fraud through concealing assets in January 2016.
- How thorough and accurate is the Curator’s investigation and reporting (for example does be ‘buy’ the Qoin BV deception, or are indeed the Tradeqoin and Qoin assets part of the bankruptcy? We’ll no doubt find out in due course.
- Is there any will to act, sacrifice and/or pay to achieve justice? David will have to answer that one!
The Key Subjects
I’ve blogged extensively about how these guys have been hiding assets from the Curator – using Qoin BV at the last minute.
Rob van Hilten slipped his house into his wife’s name while he was knowingly trading while insolvent.
Remember that these guys have been insolvent and trading while insolvent for a LONG time. This makes it possible to claw back assets for the creditors way past the 12 month mark. Edgar Kampers’ house is in his own name thus is easy to claw back – as long as there is a crime then these goons are toast.
There is. They are!
First, I recommend that David initiate a complaint against Qoin at IRTA. It is a simple process that claims that the Tradeqoin trade exchange is/was a fraud. I have already proven that it was and that they breached the IRTA’s rules. I have all the evidence of the Tradeqoin fraud and have previously offered to provide it to anyone who wants to do this. I am also prepared to share his complaint and the response online here. If IRTA covers up, people can see the evidence that IRTA saw. A successful complaint will give him evidence that he can take to others to PROVE his claim that these guys are crooks. While that won’t pay the bills, it WILL bring an aspect of justice.
Simultaneously, David should contact the Curator specifically ensuring that my questions are addressed. David should make sure that the Curator doesn’t miss something or gets fooled or doesn’t do his job. How he does this is his call but I am happy to share his communications to or from the Curator here online at any time.
Criminal justice. If David believes that crimes have occurred – I have proven them here on this blog, then he should make a complaint to the authorities via the AFM (https://www.afm.nl/) and the Fraud Helpdesk (https://www.fraudehelpdesk.nl/). Others I know have. The more that do this the merrier and the greater the chance of justice occurring. There were dozens of Symbid investors who lost out on something that Symbid should NEVER have listed. We know and can prove that Tradeqoin was insolvent at the point of listing their offering – that after all was the essence of why they did the funding campaign in the first place! That was a crime. Again, I am happy to provide the evidence and share online to any who wish to lay complaints.
Just to make it perfectly clear, Rob van Hilten and Edgar Kampers from Tradeqoin knowingly presented falsehoods to Symbid investors (like David) all the while trading while knowingly insolvent and they pocketed the cash as a result of a specially extended adjusted campaign as a result of my blogging. Shortly thereafter Tradeqoin and its legal owner went bankrupt owing €500k with assets of less than €4k!!
David is in a powerful position as an investor via Symbid. First, this means that he can contact ALL the other (and there are many other) people who got sucked in. He should be contacting them all, informing them of the fraud and Symbid should receive a lawyer’s letter alerting them to the fact that they are potentially liable as Defendants in either class action or a joint complaint. Again, if David wants help to do this, I’m available.
Lastly David should lodge a formal complaint against Valerie Vallenduuk with the Dutch Association of Lawyers (https://www.advocatenorde.nl/) making it perfectly clear that he lost money as a direct result of an investment into a fraudulent Symbid crowdfunding campaign of which a practising Dutch lawyer (at the time) was in the thick of the con-job incognito (a very serious misdeameanour that would ‘normally’ get you immediately struck off from the lawyers’ register in shame). If there was more than one other investor in the same position then there is even more chance of overcoming the natural resistance of the legal profession to passing judgment on one of their own – especially the daughter of a long-term respected high-profile Dutch lawyer. Remember that while the heat is currently on the two conmen, Valerie Vallenduuk was an Owner & Founder of the Tradeqoin fraud – actively involved in developing and promoting the Prospectus AT THE TIME!
I finish with a quick note on justice and my personal role in this fraud.
I have left any activism to David (and others) deliberately. It would be a piece of cake for me to initiate complaints, even from the other side of the world. I have the evidence. I know the issues. I could do it, but there are a couple of reasons why I haven’t:
- I only want to ask questions, think and write. My personal objective is to be seen as a thought-leader. Sure I was pleased when these conmen went bankrupt in Q1 2016, essentially at the hands of my blogging but I write primarily to use my skills at investigating and blogging – asking the hard questions, applying logic onto fact – not to achieve any goal or objective. Thus I continue to blog long before and after the primary events of note.
- I believe that it’s up to David to DO something to obtain justice if he’s the one who has been wronged. Even though there is injustice in every nook, cranny and level of every society across the globe, it is at the end of the day more valuable use of my time to help empower others to fight their fights. If he believes in justice (which he seems to do) then he will do what he can to achieve it. If he is apathetic and is too busy to do anything to achieve the justice he talks about then it makes a strong statement about how much he truly wants it!
- By limiting myself to an investigative blogging role, and helping him and others to do it , avoiding direct activism of my own, I protect my own integrity, independence and objectivity. When others with agendas hurl insults and accusations of me lacking credibility, or ulterior motives such as has happened from those I shame with the truth, thinkers and genuine truthseekers can (and do) work things out quickly. I’m for real, can be trusted and am ‘on to it’.
The concept of justice (in this case seeing the conmen variously put in jail or out of business) is not easy. I have my opinions which I share but other cultures and legal jurisdictions have validity in their context as well.
I too, like David want to see justice. By doing what I do, writing with a sense of humour, never giving up if I believe in something, fighting crims, crooks & crazies no matter the price personally all comes from my strong sense of justice. I wish that more in the world cared as much about truth, love, justice and all the good things.
Go for it David, and make the world a better place!