Bonofa was touted as a new web platform that would take over the world, but investors felt “stupid and cheated”
The advocates for an online investing program that I have twice warned about don’t seem so smart now.
His German lawyer called for changes to the online version of the story I wrote in 2014, condemning it as “half-truths and bogus facts and trying to portray Bonofa as an illegal business.”
In fact, I never called Bonofa an illegal business, although the German authorities obviously suspect it might be – they just carried out a series of raids and made four arrests.
Bonofa was touted as a new web platform that would take the world by storm, combining everything from social media and shopping to games and business apps.
Those who flogged it said the company would be worth £ 10 billion when it went public, bringing wealth to investors. But the last time I wrote about it, there was little evidence of the much-vaunted web platform and no sign of the IPO.
A UK investor who was persuaded to pay £ 2,000 was understandably pissed off, telling me she felt “stupid and cheated”. I approached Bonofa on his behalf but the company told me that they “do not have a refund policy”.
Bonofa is registered in Switzerland with offices in Germany, where authorities have now carried out raids in Saarland and Saxony.
Those arrested were Detlef Tilgenkamp, 63, Thomas Kulla, 54, Martin Böhm, 38, and Gernot Fuhr, 60.
They are being taken into custody because they are considered a flight risk, as prosecutors continue their investigations into what they claim to be a “big fraud” in which it is alleged that “investors and capital were intentionally harmed “.
Shortly before the raids, Böhm reportedly warned his co-directors to “pack their bags”, but his phone was tapped and the message intercepted by police, German media reported.
Read more:Andrew Penman investigates
It is believed that up to 60,000 people around the world have invested around £ 15million in this program and its brother AlphaPool. After my post in 2014, Bonofa argued that this was not an investment program at all but just sold useful online tools.
He insisted that he would build the largest corporate social network in the world with his project named Cube7.
You can buy into this dream with a variety of packages such as the Exclusive which costs £ 730, or the VIP, priced at almost £ 2,000.
The crux of a video sales pitch I watched was that the more other people you recruited, the more you would get paid. But you haven’t gotten anything quite as tangible as the company’s stock, which could later be traded if Bonofa goes public.
Instead, investors got what Bonofa called dotcom points. One of my questions, which remained unanswered, was: “What are these points and how, if any, can they
be exchanged? “
Another was, “Does Bonofa have any income other than fees paid by members of the public who join? Followed by: “Is this a Ponzi scheme?”
Cube7’s repeated launch dates have been missed. Böhm promised in 2013 that it would go live on September 22 and, “That day will change the world forever.”
It is not, and it is not.
But life will probably never be the same for those who invest their savings in it – or for the people behind it.
I asked Bonofa and his lawyer for comment, but they became eerily silent.