Thursday, 30 March 2017

Cui Bono? (April-May 2017)

Who is benefitting…by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt…by doing nothing?

What Are You Going to Do?
Michèle and Kelly O’Donnell

The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is for "good" people to do nothing about it—or to do some non-resolute “thing” and to move on, with consciences placated and livelihoods protected.

This Update continues the call for assistance from the people and organizations affected by the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). Those “affected” refers to investors-victims, organizations-ministries, staff-leaders, and any others who received/lost money in this scheme or were somehow involved. It also refers to the thousands of people who are or were part of these organizations-ministries and who have a moral responsibility to call their leaders to account: to disclose, conduct independent reviews, and where there are “net positive” gains, to return money to victims.

NCI, and the lack of response to it by those in the church-mission community (CMC), have seriously damaged many peoples’ lives. It has also seriously compromised the reputation and witness of the CMC. The Update shares background and current information to remind you why getting accurately informed and calling for action are so essential—and why doing nothing is so damaging.

Did you know that the Swedish court documents (released in 2010 and 2011) indicate that it was primarily Christians, Christian organizations, and Christian ministries that were affected by NCI? Some of the main ones were part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), including Mercy Ministries, Le Rucher, and Mercy Ships. Youth For Christ Switzerland was used as an address for one of the main NCI promoters for NCI activities and Crossroads Church in Ferny-Voltaire, France had many members who heard about and invested in NCI.  

And so we ask:
Who is benefitting by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt by doing nothing?
What are you going to do?

Some NCI Background and Updates
--NCI began in 1994 and functioned secretively as a ponzi scheme until it was publically confronted in 2007. We (Michèle and Kelly O’Donnell) were some of the first people who blew the whistle with others and who contacted governments about NCI in July that year (FBI in the USA, Serious Fraud Office in the UK, Fraud Police in The Netherlands, and Economic Crimes Bureau in Sweden). A short overview about our involvement as victims is posted on the PETRA People website HERE. See also the initial 10 point overview about NCI at the top of the PETRA People website (this website also contains several documents from the Swedish court case, analyses, anti-corruption resources, etc.).

--An initial investigative review was done by a business consultant, Rand Guebert (2008). It is 120 pages and focuses on the serious problems in organizations affected by NCI including poor organizational governance and the discrediting and wrongful dismissals which we ourselves experienced in the CMC. Its findings related to NCI (based on the known evidence/documents at the time) are supported by the Swedish court documents that were released later in 2010 and 2011. This review has been shared with government investigative bodies although it has not yet been shared publically.

--The Swedish government (Economic Crimes Bureau--EBM) was the principle government that eventually took the lead to investigate (2008-2011). It prosecuted only one person, Kristian Westergard, the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Sweden. The Swedish EBM determined that NCI was a long-term, gross fraud and sentenced Mr. Westergard to prison where he served a term for just over two years. Mr. Westergard was required to repay several of the victims listed in the case. But since he had very few traceable assets, very little money has been ever repaid to the 20+ plaintiffs. Other people who were affected by the fraud (net-positives) were not required to return money (by the governments or by their respective CMC organizations-ministries). Nor were there any prosecutions for other persons involved with Westergard/NCI (some perhaps innocently). Millions of dollars/Euros are still missing.

--The Shine the Light-Together petition  (2012-current, with over 200 signatures) and the PETRA People Network weblog (2011-current, with 39 entries) were set up to help the CMC and the public understand corruption in general and the NCI case specifically. They have been  emphasizing that different Christian organizations were and are “affected” by the fraud—specifically, that leaders and staff invested, benefited/lost money, ministry projects received money etc. The reluctance of these leaders and organizatons to disclose and to submit to independent investigation has also been hihglighted. Their information could shed crucial light on what was happening with this fraud and by whom, and likely go a long way to preventing similar things though the lessons learned and bring healing.

--In August 2014, four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance and that they inform other leaders in their organizations. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters regarding the petition with the names and comments of the people who signed it.  The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog in September 2014 along with subsequent correspondence (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). Note that specific names of leaders are listed again in the February 2017 weblog entry along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who have a moral responsibility to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.

--In December 2016 there was a renewed effort for people to read, sign, and share the petition. “This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI.”

--YWAM especially with its staff, leaders, and ministries was affected, including Mercy Ships while it was still part of YWAM and afterwards. According to the Swedish court documents, Erik Spruyt (a major/former YWAM leader), Mercy Ministries organizations in four countries and Le Rucher in France (originally all part of YWAM), and two personal/family foundations set up by Mr. Spruyt with bank accounts in Lichtenstein (GF, NGF) were some of the entities that received hundreds of thousands of dollars/Euros of NCI money. Mr. Spruyt maintains that he is innocent and that he was a victim. In January 2017 there was a civil court decision in France which did not find Mr. Spruyt or Mercy Ministries France (defendants) responsible for the financial damages experienced by six NCI victims (we and four other plaintiffs). Although all plaintiffs totally disagreed with the court ruling, they decided to not appeal. We are committed to continue the public and moral call for assistance so that those affected by NCI will follow good practice standards via verifiable disclosures, independent reviews, transparency, accountability, and integrity. 

So we ask you...cui bono?
Who is benefitting by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt by doing nothing?
What are you going to do?

The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is for "good" people to do nothing about it—or to do some non-resolute “thing” and to move on, with consciences placated and livelihoods protected.
You can make a difference.
Join with others around the world by signing and sharing the petition below.
Shine the Light--Together!

An international petition calling for integrity and action
to confront corruption in the church-mission community
and in particular the international NCI et al. fraud.

Read it, sign it, share it!


PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

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