Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Watchdogs warn investors on UK site's big-money offer

The registered office of Inter Reef Ltd - a small corner office block in Birmingham.  Photo / Google Streetview
The registered office of Inter Reef Ltd - a small corner office block in Birmingham. Photo / Google Streetview

Two overseas government watchdogs have issued warnings to investors about a British company offering big returns for their money.

The Weekend Herald revealed last week the Profitable Sunrise website was linked to a woman living in an offshore tax haven who was registered to nearly 180 shell companies in New Zealand.

The website promises a daily interest rate of up to 2 per cent for bridge loans for businesses in the United States and Asia, an offer which has attracted scepticism online.

People are now being solicited in New Zealand to invest as little as $10 in a "risk-free" venture.

The website quotes Bible verses, encourages people to donate profits to charity and invites people to become regional representatives and earn commission by introducing others to the programme.

But a spokesman for Britain's Financial Services Authority told the Weekend Herald that Profitable Sunrise had been added to a public warning list this week.

"Generally speaking, we put firms on this list when we have serious concerns about the way they are operating and that they might pose a serious risk to people doing business with them," he said.

Profitable Sunrise was not authorised as a financial services firm, so if things went wrong, investors would probably lose all their money.

A "cease and desist" order was also issued against Profitable Sunrise in the United States by the North Carolina Secretary of State Securities.

Officials said Profitable Sunrise and founders Roman and Radoslav Novak were never registered to sell securities and the investment was not registered as a security, in accordance with North Carolina law.

"We have issued this cease and desist order because we believe this solicitation poses a real danger to the investing public," said Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

"This case also demonstrates the perils of web-based investmentmarketing."

The New Zealand equivalent watchdog, the Financial Markets Authority, says it is also looking into the activities of the website.

No contact phone number or address is listed on the Profitable Sunrise website. But Weekend Herald inquiries have established it is registered to Inter Reef Ltd in Birmingham, England.

Roman Novak is listed as the founder and chief executive on the website, but company records show the sole director and shareholder of Inter Reef Ltd is a 45-year-old woman who lives in the Seychelles.

Agnes Jouaneau is listed as the director of 35 companies registered to the same Birmingham address, which is a small office block containing two accounting firms.

Profitable Sunrise claims the company manages $400 million of bridging loans, but the records show assets of only £1 since Inter Reef was incorporated in September 2011. It is now considered "dormant"by British authorities.

Ms Jouaneau was the director of 178 businesses registered in New Zealand that were among 1800 shell companies struck off by the Companies Office after an investigation.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 25 Jul 2014 03:39:01 Processing Time: 663ms