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The Reserve Bank of South Africa declared TVI Express a pyramid scheme in 2011, back when the country was still actively enforcing laws against MLM fraud. Promoters of TVI Express responded by claiming that anyone who was against the enterprise was ‘against black people becoming affluent’.

A year later, in 2012, TVI Express went out of business across the country. Authorities estimate that South Africa has suffered damages of approximately $254 million dollars. Twenty-five promoters were arrested, but their assets were only partially recovered. A plea agreement for $36 million between Switzerland and the founder of TVI Express, Tarun Trikha, was then made public to South African authorities.

According to MyBroadband’s findings; As part of a plea agreement with the Bern government, Indian national Tarun Trikha, the alleged brains of TVI, allegedly handed over $36 million (R561 million) to Swiss authorities in 2016. Initially, Trikha received $4 million (R62 million) from the Swiss as part of the arrangement, but in the end, $20 million (R312 million) was confiscated.

It’s not apparent where the money went. A native of India, Trikha, proceeded to swindle others through MLM crypto schemes after returning to his homeland. South African authorities have requested that the Swedish government hand over seized TVI Express funds, citing $7.3 million in traceable losses.

Authorities allege that money confiscated by the Swiss government may be connected to victims’ accounts in South Africa. No such luck with the Swedish government, which has a different opinion. When asked about his legal representation, Kruger stated he hired a Swiss law company and talked with several high-ranking officials in Bern.

According to Kruger, Swiss officials initially agreed that some of the money should be returned to South Africa, but they then reversed their decision and questioned his authority. As a result, they advised Kruger that any South African victims who believed they had been cheated would have to file separate claims for reimbursement. During 2011, the South African Reserve Bank assigned TVI Express investigator Johan Kruger.

Despite the demise of TVI Express, Kruger remained as a “repayment administrator” for the government. In October of 2021, Kruger requested an order from the High Court confirming his authority. His application was not opposed by the Swiss. The Swiss embassy declined to comment on pending legal actions, according to the Times.

It’s still unclear whether or if the Swiss government would reimburse the victims. One of the key takeaways from this is that relying on other governments to do the heavy job is not an effective approach to regulation. Who am I kidding? It would be far better for South Africa if it conducted its own investigations and promptly held those responsible to account.

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