The European Funds Recovery Initiative (EFRI) was founded in November 2018 by FinTelegram Investors Protection Ltd (“FinTelegram”) together with auditors and lawyers. The original EFRI mission was to provide support to scam victims in recovering their losses. The former EY partner Elfriede Sixt, was appointed as EFRI Principal. As an auditor and Certified Public Accountant, she has focused for years on FinTechs and is also an expert in IFRS and due diligence. Since its inception the EFRI mission has evolved along with the acquired information on victims, scams, and their perpetrators. Today, we are proud to announce the launch of EFRI NGO, a victim-driven vehicle to recover funds and fight cybercrime.
Under Elfriede’s coordination more than 1,500 scam victims have registered with EFRI. Of these, more than 800 victims have provided EFRI the Power of Attorney (POA) to pursue their claims against scammers and facilitating third parties involved such as banks, payment processors, or boiler room operators.
Up to today EFRI has filed money-laundering complaints against several payment service providers and banks involved in the fraudulent scams (like #Kobenhavn Andelskasse, #Wirecard, #Postbank, or #Payvision). In addition, EFRI has, on the basis of information and documents provided by victims and whistleblowers, submitted criminal complaints about fraudulent actors to financial market supervisory authorities regarding financial services providers acting negligently or intentionally violating regulatory rules (like the notorious MoneynetInternational, Moorwand and others). In doing so, EFRI has systematically developed a network of public prosecutors, financial market regulators, lawyers, investor and consumer protection NGOs and media people.
A network that could – if enlarged by the network of all the victims out there- really make a difference in the fight against cybercrime. And based on what we have experienced over the last couple of months one thing is crystal clear – something must happen to fight this incredible harm caused by investment scams in Europe.
EFRI NGO, EFRI FUND, and Litigation Funding
Based on many discussions about the efficiency of filing legal claims and about raising awareness in Europe with authorities, we decided to finally set up a non-governmental non-profit association. We named it the “Initiative to Combat Cybercrime against Consumers and Small Investors in Europe” or in short “EFRI Initiative.” With effect from 25 May 2020 this EFRI Non-Government Organization (“EFRI NGO“) is registered in Vienna. The EFRI NGO will be the victim-driven vehicle to recover funds over different jurisdictions and regulatory regimes via litigation and/or out-of-court settlement where feasible and this EFRI NGO will be the voice of all the defrauded victims in addressing all the European and international authorities in requesting Justice.
The financial means for asserting the claims will be provided by the EFRI FUND established for this purpose. This fund will be operated by EFRI Asset Management Ltd, which is registered in the UK, and will act together with interested investors as a for-profit litigation funder for EFRI NGO. In return the EFRI FUND will receive a share of the successfully recovered funds.
The Whistleblower Program
The EFRI FUND will also provide the means to establish a Whistleblower Program through which rewards will be paid to whistleblowers if their information leads to the successful recovery of funds.
Leading regulators such as the US SEC or CFTC have long recognized that whistleblowers are an efficient weapon in the fight against scammers, perpetrators, or bad actors. We have learned that whistleblowers are the key to get hold of the fraudsters in the investment scam industry
How EFRI NGO works
The EFRI NGO will be managed by two directors. One of the directors is appointed by the EFRI FUND. This is the current EFRI Principal Elfriede Sixt. The second director will be proposed by the members of the EFRI (non-executive) Advisory Board, currently the rep for the EFRI Advisory Board is Nigel Kimberly – many people know him as he has been in the scam fighter industry also for quite a long time. The EFRI Advisory Board will consist of at least one member of EFRI per country but can also consist of several people per country.
Let’s make a difference by pushing the authorities to finally end the laissez-faire approach toward the scam industry in Europe and to hold all the fraudsters and enablers accountable what they did and still do to thousands of innocent and unsuspecting European retail investors.Elfriede Sixt, Principal and Director EFRI NGO)