A recent legal action against Dutch businessman Pieter Henderikus Langelaan, serial fraudster and resident of Andorra, which was marred by his sudden death, now involves Andorran bank, Vall Banc SAU, for stripping assets and shares, seized and frozen by an investor in one of the Ponzi schemes run by the deceased.
With no central bank in Andorra to provide banking safety, by overseeing the supply of money, the setting of interest rates, as well as regulating the banking industry, it is evident that all is not well in the Principality.
In 2015 the ‘glass stopper scam’ start-up company ‘International Quiding Sarl’ (IQ), run by Mr Langelaan, now deceased, and his company Rihold, secured €16 million from a consortium of duped investors from Andorra, for a wine and drinks glass stopper system, that never made a single product!
When assets and shares were frozen by one aggrieved investor owed €5M by Rihold, and Mr Langelaan, Vall Banc SAU in Andorra, advanced a €4 million loan on those frozen assets, which included 7,000 shares in a company that is now bankrupt? clearly with no financials, bringing the entire Andorran banking system into question!! The record of the transfer of the frozen shares and assets were recorded in the Commercial Register of Companies of Luxembourg, where Rihold and International Quidding were registered. So why did the due-diligence by Vall Banc SAU not bring this to light? Did Vall Banc SAU know that it was helping Mr Langelaan to commit serious fraud, which, before his untimely death, was being investigated in court? Perhaps now Andorra needs a central bank considering this recent behaviour by one of its institutions.
The aggrieved investor who was in the process of filing a successful criminal action against Mr Langelaan, has now filed a complaint against Vall Banc SAU (owned by JC Flowers) in the framework of the same action.
The complainant considers that Vall Banc SAU should have been aware of the financial situation regarding Langelaan and the Luxembourg companies Rihold and International Quiding. The fact Vall Banc SAU advanced a sizeable loan secured against frozen shares and assets that were seized in a court in Luxembourg, in favour of the complainant, surely this demonstrates dreadful ‘due diligence’ by one of the principal banking institutions in the Principality of Andorra.
Also, because Vall Banc SAU was already a shareholder in International Quiding, the financial consultant and intermediary in many of the operations carried out by Langelaan was and continues to be on the board of directors of the bank.
This Andorran consultant had previously signed, long before even the creation of Vall Banc SAU, a contract with Langelaan by which he undertook to “mobilize all his knowledge and experience to contribute funds to the ‘glass top’ start-up.
With Vall Banc SAU being rumoured to be ‘up for sale’ by owners, JC Flowers, will prospective buyers see the €4 million hole in the balance sheet from the loan to Mr Langelaan, which is unlikely to be recovered. And should Vall Banc SAU provide for that loss on the one hand and an economical compensation of €4 million for the loan made against frozen assets, totalling €8 million in all.
In February 2020, Andorra filed an application to become a full member of the IMF (International Monetary Fund). It is clear for this to be granted, the need for stricter due diligence in the Principality is paramount. Regulator, AFA, must clean up their act and put pressure on banks to be more diligent in their lending, otherwise, future investors will not come to Andorra, whilst now it seems that only fraudsters seem comfortable to exist in the Principality! Is the time now right for a Central Bank in Andorra?