The Namur public prosecutor’s office on Wednesday requested a 2-year prison sentence accompanied by a suspended probation, a fine of 1,000 euros and a professional ban of 5 years against a defendant accused of forgery, use of forgery and fraud. A one-year sentence accompanied by a suspended probation and a fine of 500 euros are required against the wife of the defendant and a fine of 2000 euros is claimed against the company QI (Quantum Intelligence), founded in October 2017.
The defendant, Ghislain E., who has been living in Mauritius for a year, founded the company QI in October 2017, with the help of his wife, who had a management degree necessary to launch the company. He promised his investors returns of between 50 and 80% within 6 months, without taking any risk, boasting of having himself benefited from returns of nearly 1000%, with supporting evidence. The 27 civil parties have invested nearly 3,970,000 euros via 45 contracts, amounts which have not been returned in full. Returns have not been paid.
According to Deputy Moreau, the case began with suspicions of money laundering reported to the Financial Information Processing Unit. Investments were made first in the form of loans between individuals and then in the form of discretionary management agreements. “The sums were numerous and significant. They transited on the accounts of the defendants, on those of the company and left immediately. There has been gender confusion between accounts. If investments have taken place for a year to the tune of 360,000 euros, the money has, from March 2018, no longer been invested in cryptocurrency, as the contracts provided for. Significant sums were used for exterior fittings at the couple’s home (133,000 euros) or were played at the casino (410,000 euros in Ostend) or online (202,000 euros). The first investors were reimbursed with the money of those who followed, then there were no more reimbursements. Unrealistic returns of up to 80% were promised in a very short period of time.“
According to the representative of the public prosecutor, the defendant never provided evidence that the money had indeed been invested in cryptocurrency. Ghislain E. would have been given nearly 4 million euros, which were not invested in cryptocurrency and were, for the most part, not reimbursed to investors, who did not receive their returns. . And to continue:When the civil parties asked for reimbursement, the defendant announced that he was very solvent. A few months later, he had emptied his accounts and the sums promised were no longer available. The defendant had changed the password to his bitcoin wallet and now claims not to be able to convert the cryptocurrency back into cash in order to reimburse the victims.“
The defense is formal: Ghislain E. always intended to reimburse the investors but was unable to do so for reasons beyond his control. Me Buyle specifies: “The defendants have enough assets to repay them. They even had enough money to do it very early. My client had the heritage for, which is why he no longer necessarily invested bitcoins from a while. He could not reimburse because of the seizures made by the public prosecutor’s office, the position of the Belgian banks in relation to bitcoin and because of the illiquidity of bitcoins. The problem of repatriating earnings from bitcoins to bank accounts is a global and real problem, as the matter is not regulated.“
And the lawyer to specify:The contracts weren’t fake. The return he promised, of 80%, was realistic, in 2018, the return of bitcoin was 1.318%! He did not reimburse the investors with bitcoins because that was not what the contract provided, which referred to reimbursement in fiat currency. Most investors did not want to be reimbursed in bitcoins. Since 2018, he has traveled the world to find a solution and reimburse.“
The defense pleads acquittal and assures him, the money is available, “it’s all a matter of time. We are dealing here with a breach of contract devoid of fraudulent intent.“
The inadmissibility of the proceedings is pleaded for the wife of Ghislain E., the latter having not been heard within the framework of the investigation. The defendant was co-manager of the company and being therefore supposed to represent it, the ad hoc representative of Quantum Intelligence also pleads the inadmissibility of the proceedings or, failing that, the acquittal, considering that the company, a legal person, has been instrumentalized.
Continuation of the debates on June 29.