The gift that keeps on giving just added something to the already well-filled gift basket: We received an email from a Dutch law firm summoning us to immediately cease publishing about the adventures of Patrick and Keren Visser and erase them from the web! We were also asked to admit wrongdoing and damages and whatnot.
It's not the first time that this happens. Years ago, the Vissers, then still together with another Dutchman, Maurice Sjerps, had an American law firm send us a similar letter. When that didn't work, they filed a complaint for "crimes against their honor" in Panama. When that didn't work, they tried to have Google remove all links to the articles about them on this website. When that didn't work, we were contacted by a shadowy lawyer from Tel Aviv who turned out not to exist at all - another fraud. When that didn't work, they tried to disappear from the web themselves. And now that seems not to have worked either.
The Vissers were first featured by the Christian Science Monitor when they were running a scheme called "Silva Tree", offering forestry investments with Paulownia trees in Panama. But the trees weren't growing, they were making ridiculous promises about returns on investment, and they claimed to have a "carbon certification" that in fact they did not have. In the US, you have a legal term for this. Most people call it "fraud". Then, co-owner and director Maurice Sjerps was arrested in Costa Rica for.... fraud. Reforestation fraud, to be precise.
Another blow was dealt to the Vissers when a report, commissioned by the European Union, described Silva Tree as "land grabbing vultures" and part of a vast network of dodgy boilerroom investment schemes.
Silva Tree was then turned into "Sustainable Capital Group", and the offerings seemed to change about every two months, ranging from aforementioned Paulownia trees to palm oil plantations. None of that ever materialized, and the company was finally abandoned. After a failed attempt to have Panamanian tax payers pay for his kidney stone treatment, Patrick Visser left Panama with his wife.
He resurfaced in Israel. We received a tip from the Isle of Man that he was behind a new company, CryptoNext, which sells what would be best described as forex trading platforms but with digital currencies. They also threw in their own digital currency for good measure. Of course, to anyone with half a brain who does his due diligence before getting into digital currency deals, the lack of transparency about the real ownership of CryptoNext would set off all kinds of alarm bells, and even more so if then the owners turn out to be the same people who were behind a dodgy tree planting scheme in Panama that made all kinds of fraudulent misrepresentations about returns and certifications.
Anyway, we largely ignored the Visser couple for quite some time - we do have better things to do then constantly keep track of the capers of these bunglers - but they seem determined to keep the fire going with their legal threats. Here's the text of the email we got, in Dutch:
Geachte heer Ornstein
Mijn cliënten zijn de heer P. Visser en mevrouw K. Visser.
U heeft sinds april 2010 tientallen negatieve publicaties aan cliënten en hun zakelijke ondernemingen gewijd. Deze artikelen bevatten een groot aantal ongefundeerde ernstige beschuldigingen met betrekking tot vermeende, “fraude”, “oplichting” en “zwendel”. Al deze beschuldigingen zijn ongegrond en derhalve onrechtmatig. Cliënten stellen u aansprakelijk voor de hieruit voortvloeiende schade.
Cliënten hebben u reeds herhaaldelijk aangesproken maar u heeft geweigerd aan de sommaties te voldoen.
Middels deze sommatie wordt u voor de laatste maal in de gelegenheid gesteld de openbaarmaking van alle publicaties waarin cliënten direct of indirect voorkomen per omgaande te staken en gestaakt te houden, inclusief verwijdering uit de zoekmachines (index en cache) en alle andere digitale kanalen waar de publicaties al dan niet automatisch worden overgenomen of weergegeven (RSS-feeds, social media accounts etc.). U wordt voorts gesommeerd te erkennen dat u onrechtmatig heeft gehandeld en dat u gehouden bent de hieruit voortvloeiende schade van cliënten te vergoeden. Bij gebreke waarvan u in rechte zult worden opgeroepen.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Jurian van Groenendaal advocaat / attorney-at-law
Boekx Advocaten | Media & Intellectual Property | Postbus 15988, 1001 NL Amsterdam | t: +31 20 528 95 32 | www.boekx.com
One can always try, we suppose.