uFun Club case final submissions due next week (Samoa)
Following another day of grilling Nicolas Giannos, the Samoan uFun Club fraud case inches closer to a conclusion.
Next week will see final submissions from both the prosecution and defense, with Chief Justice Patu expected to make a ruling thereafter.
Giannos took to the stand for a second day of giving evidence and answering questions, in an attempt to explain why he scammed Samoans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of the key focuses of day 2 was establishing the context within Giannos and his co-accused solicited investment into uFun Club.
The prosecution put forth that promises of “tenfold” ROI increase were mentioned, which Giannos denied.
(Giannos) argued that he never used the exact words “returns of tenfold” in any of his presentations.
He said during the presentation at Leulumoega, he said that investor’s money will have a “potential high return” by the 15 July 2015.
One of the 5 investors whose names are not in the list given to the Central Bank of Samoa, gave evidence that the only reason he invested, was because he would receive ‘tenfold’ for his $1,500 investment.
I made an indication that there would be more money, but I did not say a return of tenfold.
So who made the representation of tenfold ROIs?
Giannos’ partner in crime, Rosita Stanfield:
Prosecution provided evidence that his co-defendant also used the same words “returns of tenfold ” in her presentation.
“If she said it, then it must be so, because the presentation was conducted in Samoan,” said (Giannos).
Delving into the sleazy marketing used to pitch Ponzi schemes, the prosecution also focused on a mysterious 900% increase in the cost of uFun Club investment.
Pushed further to elaborate on the clarification notice on the increase prices, the defendant said, after the 21stJuly 2015, the prices will increase so it was cheaper to invest now before prices go up.
“Would not that statement “prices will go up after 21st July and that it was best to invest now” be used as an incentive for people to invest?” asked Chief Justice Patu Tiavaasue Falefatu Sapolu.
The defendant said it could be, but if he knew about the transition, he would not come to Samoa.
“Do you know why the increase in prices and why go up all of a sudden?” asked CJ Patu.
“The reason is because the data base has grown and the company’s primary goal is to help people,” said the defendant.
Asked how the increase of prices will help people, the defendant said by “moving people from the low budget category to a higher rank” where it might be expensive, but the value of their returns will be upgraded.
The real reason of course is because Thai authorities had shut uFun Club down a month earlier. Investors like Giannos were thus trying to get new investors to pay them real cash, seeing as their uFun Club uToken balances were now all but worthless.
And so you had firesales, wherein previously touted $4500 investment packages were being let go for just $500.
“How much is a 1 star package,” asked CJ Patu.
“In May, it was US$500 but after July 21, it would be US$4500.00,” said (Giannos).
“Did you know that people here could not afford a 1 star package?” asked CJ Patu.
(Giannos) said his co-defendant told him and CJ Patu asked him if he had considered what his co-defendant had said.
(Giannos) said he did not consider it, as he was unaware of the transition.
Sure he wasn’t.
Not sure how interesting final submissions will be next week, but we’ll keep you updated.