speak-asia-online-logoHaving lost their money and closely following the court action Speak Asia has been involved with in India, it’s easy for the company’s panelists to get caught up in a localised bubble.

Observers of the Speak Asia scam have known for a while now though that Speak Asia was merely one piece of a larger puzzle – that puzzle being the web of MLM scams operated by Seven Rings International for what appears now to be the better part of a decade.

Speak Asia is primarily linked to Seven Rings International through its Indian CEO, Manoj Kumar Sharma. Sharma serves on the management team over at Seven Rings International and was forced into the public eye mere weeks before the public crackdown on the company.

Through Seven Rings International, Sharma has also been linked to the AdMatrix scam (a ponzi scheme which Seven Rings launched in India in 2011) and Mister Colibri. Mister Colibri being a similar Ponzi scheme to the AdMatrix which is currently operating in Brazil. Sharma has been named co-founder of Mister Colibri by a company member.

Prior to Mister Colibri, Speak Asia and the AdMatrix, Seven Rings International and Sharma operated various other MLM scams in India too – although none of which enjoyed the same degree of success as their latest ventures.

With the link between Seven Rings International and Speak Asia being kept hush-hush by management and at times outright denied by Speak Asia’s senior members, the specific details of the relationship between the two companies has remained elusive.

We knew that Sharma served as management in both companies and that Seven Rings International, operating out of Dubai, is currently where Sharma is hiding as a fugitive coordinating Speak Asia’s legal activities in India – but specifics regarding the financial relationship between the two companies and the extent of Seven Rings involvement in Speak Asia remained a mystery.

Today the EOW revealed the specifics between the business arrangement between Speak Asia and Seven Rings International.

Seven Rings entered into an agreement with SpeakAsia Pte ( Singapore) and Haren Ventures Pvt Ltd. “Seven Rings offered to act as a publisher for SpeakAsia surveys but on the condition that they get 60% profit while SpeakAsia got 40%.

Seven Rings said it had a wider reach and the agreement would be beneficial to SpeakAsia. They promised to publish an electronic magazine (e-zine) too,” said the source.

Partnering with Harendar Kaur, if I had to put it all together I think it’s obvious Seven Rings masterminded the whole thing and figured bringing Kaur on board from Singapore would perfectly align with their policy of offshore management.

With access to Speak Asia’s website backend, the EOW additionally claim that  ‘over Rs700 crore was laundered from India with help from Seven Rings.’

Presumably the result of analysis over the Speak Asia website backend and other Speak Asia related computer systems sent for forensic analysis in early January, the EOW claim that

SpeakAsia entered into the agreement in February 2011 to avoid tax agencies. Elia De Prisco signed papers on behalf of Seven Rings (and) Sharma signed them for SpeakAsia.

With Sharma serving on the management team for Speak Asia, the signing appears to be a contractual formality in an attempt to show that the two entities weren’t related prior to this agreement, despite the obvious fact that Sharma is heavily involved in both.

The investigative confirmation of a solid relationship between Seven Rings International is important as analysis of Seven Rings International’s other scams, they have previously admitted that they don’t have any actual clients. This means that 100% of the revenue generated by the company is via membership fees and furthermore means that commissions paid out by the company are from membership fees.

This is an obvious pyramid scheme and with Mister Colibri being launched after Speak Asia, there’s a strong indication Mister Colibri was modelled on Speak Asia as far as the claims of non-existant corporate clients goes. Thus meaning that Speak Aisa doesn’t have and indeed never had any corporare clients purchasing the company’s generated surveys.

Looking forward, while it appears money wise Speak Asia’s panelists are only interested in overturning India’s laws and support the move to legalize Ponzi schemes in India, the EOW clearly are trying to work out how to best approach taking down the largest international MLM fraud racket in Indian history.

With tentacles crossing at least four continents spanning Brazil, Holland, Singapore, India, the British Virgin Islands and Dubai – I don’t envy them.

Especially when you have characters like Ashok Bahirwani and his wife “Anju Agarwal” (a long-time commenter on BehindMLM who failed to mention her personal relationship and unavoidable bias this relationship carries with it), coordinating organised efforts on behalf of the company to hamper the EOW’s investigative efforts.

Furious at being repeatedly interrogated and their obviously emerging prominent co-ordination with Speak Aisa at a local level in encouraging panelists to remain dormant exposed, Bahirwani recently accused the EOW of taking bribes from panelists.

It is public knowledge that Rs5,000 is the going rate for avoiding police harassment. If these corrupt officers are able in collect the sum from every panellist, they would end up with a total ofRs1500 crore.

Accompanied with no proof, the above was submitted by Bahirwani as part of an All India Speak Asia Panelist Association (AISPA) writ recently filed against the EOW.

Bahirwani and his wife Anju seem convinced that the more time of the EOW’s they can waste, the more they can delay the efforts of the EOW’s investigation that will somehow result in detracting their investigative efforts against Speak Asia.

Meanwhile the Solomon James writ 383 presses ahead in the Supreme Court and, as reported earlier but denied by the petitioners involved and senior Speak Asia panelists, it has become all but clear that the action is limited to the serving the interests of those named in the petition.

As per the Supreme Court’s previous orders in the case, the EOW was to provide mediator R.C. Lahoti with data from Speak Asia’s website backend so that he could establish what was owed to the 115 named petitioners.

Pegging this figure at 50 crore (it is unclear whether this entire amount is what is owed in reward points or whether or not other liabilities of Speak Asia have been factored into the sum), Speak Asia has since deposited this amount with the Supreme Court as required.

In the peculiar facts of this case we direct respondent no. 6 (the EOW) to provide a print out of the data collected to the learned Mediator by 11/2/2012.

We request the learned mediator to ascertain how much amount in fact is due and payable to the petitioners and other authorities.

We direct the concerned respondents to deposit the amount indicated by the learned Mediator with the Secretary General of the Supreme Court within two weeks of the order of the learned Mediator.

Satisfied the money was deposited, the court has put the money into a security deposit (generating interest at the request of Speak Asia), whilst the mediation meetings continue (as per the courts orders) to establish what is legally payable to the 115 petitioners out of the 50 crore lump-sum and recommend this amount back to the Supreme Court who will then make a decision on the matter.

In pursuance to the directions of this Court, dated 6th February 2012, respondent Nos. 3 and 4 (Speak Asia and Haren Ventures) have deposited an amount of US $10 million by way of a bank draft bearing DD No. 037002 dated 20th February, 2012 drawn on State Bank of India, Singapore Branch in favour of “The Registrar, Supreme Court of India” in the Registry of this Court.

Learned counsel for the respondent Nos. 3 and 4 submits that this amount be deposited in a fixed deposit for a period of 91 days initially with the UCO Bank, Supreme Court Compound, on an auto renewal basis.

This request seems to be reasonable and we order accordingly.

Ashok Bahirwani’s wife Anju has repeatedly claimed that exit options are being discussed that would cover all panelists, but as of yet no mention of an exit option has been made in any court order.

If indeed an exit option is being discussed in the Lahoti mediation meetings, as per the Supreme Court order it is quite clear that the scope of the meetings pertains to the 115 signed petitioners.

Any assurance that what is decided upon in the mediation covers all panelists is mere speculation and an assumption. Most importantly, Speak Asia have not deposited any further money to date to cover such an exit option, nor has Lahoti apparently been tasked with calculating what is owed to the rest of the panelist base in exit option dues or otherwise.

Until that happens, anything discussed or agreed upon pertains solely to the 115 signed petitioners of the Solomon James writ 383.

In the interim the Solicitor General (on behalf of the EOW) are to file an affidavit in relation to the case (the contents of which are unknown) by roughly the 8th of March, upon which Speak Asia can file a reply.

Learned Additional Solicitor General undertakes to file an affidavit. She may do so within a period of two weeks.

Reply, if any, thereto be filed within two weeks thereafter.

It is believed this affidavit may concern payment and financial liability of Speak Asia to the rest of the panelist base, however this hasn’t been confirmed by any of the parties involved so the purpose of the affidavit remains unclear.

With the Supreme Court ordering a fixed deposit of the deposited 50 crore sum for 91 days however, it appears that they expect the task of sorting out the aftermath of the largest MLM fraud in Indian history has a long way to go yet.