Decisions and Freeze and cease trade orders
Montréal - On April 17, 2014, at the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF"), the Bureau de décision et de révision ("Bureau") issued prohibition orders relating to certain activities of Karatbars International Gmbh ("Karatbars"), Robert La Rivière, Michel Desroches and Anthoni Snopek involving Karatbars' affiliate and referral program.
More specifically, the Bureau has prohibited them from directly or indirectly trading in securities under any form of investment covered by the Securities Act issued by Karatbars, whether via the Internet or otherwise. It has also prohibited them from acting as a securities adviser. The Bureau is concerned that, without these orders, the respondents will continue to solicit investors.
The publication of this press release also constitutes a method of service of Decision 2014-020-001 (pdf - 4 MB)This link will open in a new window with respect to Karatbars and Anthoni Snopek authorized by the Bureau.
Several pieces of evidence submitted by the AMF at the ex parte hearing raised concerns for the Bureau and prompted it to rule as it did, including the following:
- Karatbars' activities are similar to a pyramid scheme;
- Karatbars already has over 5,300 "affiliates" in Québec;
- "Affiliates" do not sell products and are essentially promoting Karatbars' activities, lured by the possibility of earning large payouts;
- Karatbars and its promoters are promising a return of $15,000 to $136,000 per month, representing returns of between 874% and 2,172%, only 12 weeks after the initial investment;
- Despite the AMF's warning, information and investor solicitation meetings are still taking place where potential investors are being told that Karatbars is not under AMF jurisdiction;
- Some financial sector participants have attended information meetings and have been asked to promote Karatbars' affiliates program;
- Contrary to what Karatbars and its promoters state, the company Prosegur does not store gold on behalf of Karatbars investors, raising concerns about the storage of gold purchases;
- The promoters of the Karatbars investment program are apparently fine-tuning their activities in order to find other investors.
In its decision, the Bureau held that Karatbars affiliates are investors, that the contracts between the affiliates and Karatbars are investment contracts and that, accordingly, they are subject to the rules the AMF is responsible for enforcing.
The AMF is pursuing its investigation in this matter. If you believe you have been defrauded through an investment in Karatbars, we urge you to contact the AMF Information Centre.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.
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Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176