Wednesday, 25 February 2015

UK Watchdog Warns about Ftradition, a Suspected Seychelles Clone

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning to the public today against another broker it calls a clone firm. The regulator says FTradition (or Forex Tradition) is passing itself off as a member of the Tradition Group, an international group of brokers that is FCA authorised.

In December 2014, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) also issued a warning against the unlicensed Seychelles broker. The Dutch financial watchdog warned European investors not to respond to offers from Ftradition as the company is suspected of being a boiler room. A boiler room, the AFM explains, is a collective term for fraudulent individuals and organizations using “clever salespeople” to call potential investors to pressure them into buying shares that promise high returns (cold calling).
The FCA warns against trusting cold calls from the broker but does not claim reports of it happening. AFM has said in the past that it found that Ftradition Ltd. approached people without being asked for the purpose of offering them investment proposals.

Ftradition claims to offer “Stock Exchange Products” on its website but in some sections it also calls itself “ForexTradition.” At any rate, the broker seems to focus mostly on CFDs. Additionally, Ftradition says it is located in Mahe, Seychelles but the website domain address is registered by a company in France and it has a UK office branch. That might explain the European involvement.
As for the investment offers, the Dutch regulator said that: “In reality the shares are either worthless or non-existent.” The AFM has also established that Ftradition Ltd. does not have any European-compliant financial licenses.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Should Marco Francis be Standing for SCCI Chairman?

Marco Francis

Dear Sir,

As many Seychellois, I have followed with interest the ongoing campaigning for the position of Chairman of the SCCI with new elections imminent. Among the various candidates whose names have been floated is the current chairman, Mr. Marco Francis.

The question I want to raise through this letter is: “Should Mr. Francis be running again for SCCI chairman” or even “Should he have been allowed to continue as current Chairman” in view of certain allegations about his conduct vis-a-vis one of the domestic financial regulators a few years ago.

A few months back one of the local newspapers wrote about allegations of possible irregularities or and false reporting by Mr. Francis vis-a-vis SIBA a few years ago. Of course these reports remain an allegations unless the truth comes out, but I feel, like I know many Seychellois does, that for several reasons it is critically important that this truth comes out for several reason. First, it is important for the integrity of Mr. Francis himself. Today this allegation leaves a big question mark over Mr. Francis' head. This is because if this allegation turn out to be true then this man would not be fit to be SCCI Chair. Second it would be an opportunity for the Chamber to regain some degree of integrity that has been tainted and undermined by infighting and dirty politics during recent elections. Thirdly, it is important for the integrity of the various public representations and forums that Mr. Francis sits on, including forums chaired by the President of the Republic.

It would also be recalled that some weeks ago Mr. Francis was quick to go on the media, including public media, to deny reports of dirty dealings that had surfaced in the Sri Lankan media. However, curiously enough Mr. Francis has remained totally silent about the allegations of him providing SIBA with false documents about this qualifications! And many have asked who doesn't he coming out and defend this particular allegations that he did for others? Does his total silent means that he has something to hide? There is no better person to tell the Seychellois people the truth than Mr. Francis himself.

As a Seychellois who cares for transparency, honesty, and integrity of our institutions I am offering this challenge to Mr. Francis: Be honest enough, look at the Seychellois through our eyes and tell us the truth. Until this happens Mr. Francis' reputation and integrity will remain tainted by doubts and the integrity of those institutions at stake.

If the allegations turns out to be true then Mr. Francis should, for the good of Seychelles and for himself, give up all public positions, including a new term as SCCI chairman, for failure to do so would be only be further embarrassment for Seychelles, for himself, and to those institutions and forums that he represents.

Thank you.

Name Witheld

Mr Clifford Andre Challenges Marco Francis!

Gill receiving an award from Marco Francis

Christopher Gill who backs Mr Dolor Ernesta to be the co- Chairman once questioned his integrity. I quote from his blog on the 28th May 2011.

"Then start boycotting the insurance brokerage firms of the likes of Dolor Ernesta and France Bonte. Move your business elsewhere or go directly to your insurance company so that these thieves do not get any commissions".

There were allegations of shoddy business practices in the controversial sale of State land to government officials and foreigners against Mr Ernesta.

Mr Marco Francis who is the current Chairman of SCCI was alleged to be involved in money laundering, an article posted on Lanka Herald back in October 2014 and currently holding a fake Law Degree from Durham University.
Clifford Andre

On the other hand, Mr Clifford Andre educated in the United Kingdom, Malta, and Sweden and hold a degree in law (Academic Qualifications: LLB (Hons) (University of East London), LLM Maritime Law (Malta), MSc Maritime Administration (Malmo), Barrister (of Lincoln's Inn) is challenging Marco Francis in the coming election for the Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Gill should recognise that he is in no position to throw stones or judge others when he has similar people in his own circle, the likes of Mr Ernesta and Mr Francis. Gill is no different to his cronies hence the reason why he is campaigning for Marco Francis. I certainly hope all people who is legible to vote in this election makes the right choice.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sri Lanka shares more info on Rajapaksa deals


Sri Lanka has shared more information with India on the billions of dollars that its new government alleges members of the previous regime headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa had stashed abroad, to support the island nation's request for New Delhi's help to set up a Financial Intelligence Unit to trace the money.
During his India trip earlier this week, new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told the Indian leadership about accounts in tax havens such as the St Martin Islands, Hong Kong, Macau and Seychelles where he claimed much of the money had been moved to, government officials privy to the discussions told ET. Sirisena also informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders about investments that were allegedly made by the Rajapaksa family in real-estate projects in Dubai, Uganda and Kenya, the officials said.

Sirisena indicated that his government was very serious about pursuing corruption charges against the former president and that it has set up a commission to investigate the charges. As per diplomatic sources, Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera also sought US help in unearthing the money, during his trip there on February 11-15.

Sirisena and the coalition of parties led by him had made corruption a key issue in their successful January election campaign and are moving quickly to fulfil promises.
According to them, powerful figures in the previous government had stashed away $5 billion. The Lankan Cabinet has appointed a high-powered "rapid response team" to look into allegations of corruption in land transactions, stock market price-fixing and abuse of state funds for political purposes. Rajapaksa hasn't yet commented on the allegations.

Officials also pointed out that the meeting between Sirisena and Modi was extremely cordial, which was in stark contrast to interactions with Rajapaksa. New Delhi had been wary about Colombo's close ties under Rajapaksa with Beijing. Sirisena has apparently indicated willingness to correct the China tilt, officials said.
"Rajapaksa, ignoring India's security concerns, continued to deepen defence cooperation with the Chinese government and was even willing to elevate Sino-Sri Lanka relations to a strategic cooperation," an Indian official said. (The Economic Times)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Food For Thought

I'd like to add my 5 cents piece to the debate for what it's worth, on the election challenges ahead for the opposition.
First of all I want to say that I take my hat off to Wavel and company to repran lelan, with his party to try and fight the elections. We had an Alliance once upon a time and it fell apart for various reasons which I will not go into now. It is not my intention to point fingers where things may have gone wrong. Neither is it the appropriate moment to be castigating Wavel or anyone for what they may have done wrong. Many are guilty of bad judgments at different stages of our political life since the coup d'├ętat and many continue to make bad judgments in my opinion, on the eve of the elections where dissatisfaction with Lepep has never been at its highest.

Most of us agree that the opposition who do not necessarily subscribe to the SNP as a party, is a known quantity. There is nevertheless a pool of voters from within the opposition and Parti Lepep who would like to see a change but who will choose not to throw their support IN THE FIRST ROUND to certain people associated with the opposition because of their mistrust of those people. They may prefer to spoil their votes rather than vote for certain candidates.
We all want to see a change of government and this is our ultimate aim, to have the opportunity to give Seychelles a new lease on life for the benefit of ALL our people.

In the realistic knowledge that a unified platform in this late hour will not be happening for many reasons, it is not an impossible scenario to have many people stand as presidential candidates, to campaign for change and collectively gather enough votes to prevent President Michel to get a majority; forcing the elections to a second round. Bearing in mind that what Seychelles needs right now, is a transition government for the next five years to set the parameters for a system where we ensure separation of powers and non interference in the different institutions of state, the rule of law becomes applicable, setting up a truly independent judiciary and police force amongst some leading priorities, all those presidential candidates should make a pact in the knowledge that none of them will be able to get a majority in the first round, to throw their support for the one who wins the most votes in the event that we are able to force Parti Lepep to a second round.
Why waste time to go through this process you ask me? Why don't we throw our weight behind one candidate. Because as I have said above it is unlikely that the political actors will unite under a platform to fight the coming elections. It is not necessarily only about ego as some posts seem to indicate. Sometimes we need to look at the situation on the ground and knowing and accepting the realities look at how to get around those obstacles and get the change we would like to see happen, happen. It would be hoped that once we have made a psychological dent in preventing President Michel from winning in the first round, then there will be NO excuse but to throw all our support behind the candidate with the most votes seeing victory in our sights.

Whoever we may support in the opposition, it is time to stop pointing fingers and insulting those we may not have necessarily agreed with in the past. It is sad that in this crucial moment in the game where President Michel is sneering at us that we are still at each other's throats and in my opinion this includes David Pierre and ex President Mancham for that matter. If we are unable to be civil to each other when there are so many issues to attack within Lepep what hope do we have to offer our people a credible alternative - change that is badly needed. Right now I see the above option as the only winning one in the circumstances.

By Kathleen Pillay

World Bank to help trace suspicious financial transactions in Seychelles

The World Bank has expressed its support to the investigations being carried out by Sri Lankan authorities into many suspicious financial transactions that had taken place between several Sri Lankan nationals and the Seychelles.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera said that he had met the acting ambassador of the Seychelles in Sri Lanka Condret Meridet, where the Acting Ambassador had expressed his full support to the investigations as well.
Previous reports had claimed that several deals made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the Seychelles are suspicious in nature. In response, the government of Seychelles announced that it would also support in the investigations if a formal request is made by Sri Lankan authorities.