Speak Asia Senior Lawyer Ashok Saraogi quits. Why?
After last weekends developments regarding Speak Asia bank account closures in both India and Singapore, it seems the company has found itself simply indefensible.
So much so that its senior lawyer Ashok Saraogi resigned and ceased representing Speak Asia last Friday, just five days after he was initially hired.
This latest development is quite interesting seeing as how on Friday, obviously before he resigned, Saraogi made the following statement in relation to the bank account closures;
The actions have been done following all the media noise. We have a Bombay police directive against this action. We will challenge this legally.
So what exactly happened between Friday ‘we’re gunna fight everyone’ Saraogi and Friday ‘that’s it, I’m outta here!’ Saraogi?
When asked about his resignation, Saraogi ‘declined to comment‘.
Your guess is as good as mine but if I had to take a stab at it, I’d say preliminary assessment of banks closing accounts of their customers somehow being illegal were probably a bit hasty.
Meanwhile ‘sources’ close to Saraogi are claiming it was due to an unrealistic case workload;
since the investigations are on in several fronts, it wasn’t possible for a single lawyer to handle it.
That and perhaps the money being used to fund Speak Asia’s legal counsel was tied up in the Singapore bank accounts that were frozen and closed. CEO Harendar Kaur has publicly stated it could be up to two months before Speak Asia starts paying out those it owes again.
Maybe Saraogi just wasn’t prepared to wait that long. I guess from an educated legal perspective, he saw the writing on the wall.
Previously Saraogi had ‘defended the business model of Speak Asia and given it a clean chit (official recommendation)‘.
Hilariously, Saraogi (photo right) has a history of handling notorious criminal cases in India. Previous clients of his include ‘extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1993 serial blasts’ and the offer to defend ‘Amir Ajmal Qasab’, one of the suspects in the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attacks.
Defending gangsters and terrorists? No worries…
can some1 plz answer to my question.. I dont understand what’s happening exactly but y did bank freeze the account of spk asia.. Its the money which belongs to the public.. Y are v left unpaid?? V’ve really invested our hard earned money with this company… is there any way for us to get atleast our money back??
The reason for blocking payment is that the business model is unsustainable since Speak Asia was simply paying previous users with money from new users.
Its difficult to regulate companies located outside India and Speak Asia could simply disappear from the scene.
Banks froze the accounts because various Indian government agencies asked them to.
Why did the agencies ask so? Because SpeakAsia is an illegal business that NEVER registered in India, and thus is NOT allowed to do any sort of business in India. Different agencies are investigating it for different things, including deceptive practices, tax evasion, running a pyramid scheme, and so on.
Freezing the accounts would prevent SpeakAsia from siphoning the money out and disappear. The money is not going to disappear. If necessarily, it will be seized by the government then issued as refund to all members 9though you may not get all you put in back). However, what happens now depends on the government and the subsequent lawsuits. Now that Speak Asia’s lawyer just quit, it will likely take even longer.
LiveMint / Wall Street Journal (India) decided to jump into the MLM / pyramid scheme difference debate by using Speak Asia as suspect scam.
Looks like Livemint’s email address got overloaded with responses. 😀 Here’s my little comment for them:
In genuine MLM such as Amway, Mary Kay, and such, the ultimate destination of the products are the consumer OUTSIDE the company, i.e. the general public.
In a fake MLM / pyramid scheme, there is either NO product, or the ultimate destination of the product are the members INSIDE the company, not outside.
SpeakAsia is a prime example of a fake MLM, because the the alleged product, the e-Zine, is only sold to members. In a very similar scam called TVI Express (also out of India), the alleged product a 7-day 6-night vacation and discount travel “club” membership, is also only sold to members, not the general public.
There are certain exceptions such as a former customer of the products join the company to get “discount” on products. Those are the exceptions as they are not in the MLM to earn income.
Many of the scams choose to intentionally mis-represent on what constitutes a “product”. To them, a “discount” or an “opportunity” is in itself a “product” that can be sold.
SpeakAsia has intentionally mis-represented itself to the public from the very beginning. Majority of the “income” that can be earned by panelists are from recruiting / referral. As there is no product to be resold, it is clearly a pyramid scheme that requires massive recruitment.
Amway is not a pyramid scheme because its members are not necessarily rewarded for recruiting new members, but rather, rewarded for the sales those new members generated. The ultimate goal is more SALES of products, NOT more members.
Here’s my essay explaining the differences between a real MLM and a fake MLM
This is more of an aside than anything… Ashok Saraogi was arrested last weekend.
Ah Ponzi lawyers, gotta love them.