29. BBX International in a Nutshell

This is a summary of the failed BBX International barter exchange, which (apart from release of the core data) wraps up The BBX Investigation.


  1. An international presence (13 countries) is a patent deception. Australia and the UK are the only Western countries doing meaningful trading with pockets of trade here and there;
  2. 88,000 cardholders is gross misrepresentation – there are globally only 5,140 members* (and reducing) using IRTA’s rules for membership which require trading in the preceding 12 months. This includes 44.28% in China;
  3. Widespread currency debasement has occurred throughout all BBX franchises, New Zealand and Australia are down to real backing of around one cent in the dollar with resulting inability for members to spend, certainly effectively, and in some cases at all;
  4. Substantially unbalanced trade accounts ledgers with substantial values of missing transactions, bad debt and negative Bad Debt Reserves;
  5. Non PCI compliant management systems and disconnection from the banking system inevitable;
  6. Data security laws breached in more than one jurisdiction (notably Australia and the EU);
  7. Criminal activities from the Directors with property deals leveraged for personal gain; multiple bankruptcies within the Directors’ and Franchisees;
  8. Cherry-picking for cash conversion from insiders at the members’ expense;
  9. Widespread member dissatisfaction;
  10. Substantial ongoing and repeating departures of franchisees and agencies;
  11. Staff levels and staff satisfaction falling;
  12. Substantial cashflow issues – all the signs of a company going bankrupt;
  13. IRTA Member and under investigation;
  14. Serious Fraud Office and Commerce Commission (New Zealand) complaints;
  15. Criminal Private Prosecution (New Zealand) under way on two directors;

Not a pretty picture!

Lessons From BBX

There are many lessons from The BBX Investigation:

  1. The more noise the less truth. A repeating meme peddled by the Touma family is that they were squeaky clean. Not so. Pilfering by the Toumas for personal gain, shonky deals and outright theft of their members occurred for decades.
  2. The capacity to create credit gives enormous power to those who create it. When this off the backs off the members, then this creates incredible opportunity for greed and self-interest to have its way.
  3. Transparency is the key. You can’t eliminate evil but getting the facts out there (post the crimes) forces the cockroaches to run for cover before they get whacked.
  4. Transparency BEFORE the crime will usually prevent it, after all it is the deception that people can trust others, like the Toumas’ “Trust us” that allows the greedy and immoral to have their way at the little peoples’ expense.
  5. Leverage off the credit of little people is powerful. That leverage can also be done by individuals, so that the lessons learned by the bad guys can be applied by the good guys in the right way. Mutual Credit, and specifically commercial barter exchanges are not the problem. The problem is that members not knowing what is really happening behind the scenes (cherry-picking; theft; currency debasement etc) creates the environment where human failings can flourish.
  6. BBX UK has been a member of IRTA for years. BBX International joined IRTA relatively recently with fanfare from the Chairman talking of “quality”. Despite prior notice, IRTA has while this entire series has been published has failed to act (other than to try to limit the damage to their reputation). Conclude what you will from this!

In the next post in this series I release the raw BBX International database, then conclude with publication of the book, “The BBX Investigation”.


* Country breakdown:

China 2276
AU 1436
UK 613
Thailand 506
NZ 184
Costa Rica 40
Singapore 39
Malaysia 35
India 10
Philippines 1
Taiwan 0
Hong Kong 0

The BBX Investigation Series


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