Feeds

Dutch probe UK tech investment firm share dealings

Retail investors nurse huge losses

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Dutch financial watchdog AFM is to investigate the sale of shares by UK Internet investment company Uc Group, which has left some 650 Dutch investors facing losses of at least €100 million, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

Uc Group, located in Bromley (Kent), says it seeks to create "a fully integrated Global E-Commerce & E-Services company focused on business-to-anyone internet infrastructure", by taking minority stakes in small Internet companies. One of these companies is vanderbloem.com, which has established a direct link between Dutch and US cut-flower growers and flower retail businesses in the USA and Canada.

Because of its relationship with Vanderbloem, Uc.com started selling shares through the Dutch company Amstelvision during the Internet boom years. But according to FD this agent had no license to sell shares to individual (non-professional) investors, at least not until July 2000, when millions of shares had already passed hands.

Even after the license had expired, Amstelvision continued selling Uc.com shares, while presenting customers with a largely unaudited balance sheet.

Former UC director and shareholder Alan Dacre, who last week appeared on Dutch television (interview, partly in English, here:), says the sale of shares was a "criminal act by the people who commissioned it", as Uc.com was a private company, and not a public limited company.

Acre also questions the company’s financial health. Of the 19 companies Uc.com once had under management, there is "almost nothing is left", while investments were diverted to a private company in Switzerland owned by Uc.com CEO Kobus Paulsen, Acre claims. Liechtenstein company Bautechinvest Establishment (BTE) invested more than $276 million in Uc.com
without due diligence, he says. The contract says that at least $100 million are for ‘balance sheet purposes only’.

Paulsen denies any wrongdoing, FD reports. In a statement to its shareholders last week the company says that 2003 has been a "watershed year for UC Group, during which we have made considerable progress". However, financial particulars were not given. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.