The founder of Macau-based eSports organization Grow uP eSports has hit back at what he describes as “baseless and calumnious allegations” in relation to a cryptocurrency mining scheme that has left around 70 Macau locals HK$20 million out of pocket.
In a strongly worded statement sent to Inside Asian Gaming on Tuesday, Frederico Alexandre dos Santos Rosário said he has been the victim of multiple accusations and defamatory statements made by Hong Kong eSports identity and businessman Dennis Lau over the scheme, which is currently being investigated by both Macau and Hong Kong authorities. Rosário added that he will launch defamation proceedings against Lau.
As reported by IAG last week, Rosário’s mother Rita Botelho dos Santos has filed complaints against two Hong Kong companies – Genesis Hong Kong Limited and Forger Tech – as well as against Genesis’ majority shareholders in Dennis Lau and Hong Kit Lau.
It follows a seminar held by Genesis and Forger and co-hosted by Grow uP eSports in Macau in January that saw the 70 Macau investors sign a total of 142 participation agreements with the Hong Kong companies, subsequently transferring investment funds to bank accounts held by Lau.
The agreements promised significant returns based on the purchase of cryptocurrency mining equipment, but according to a recent Sworn Statement by Rosário, only around HK$6.4 million has been returned. The statement said there had been seven “rounds” of the scheme conducted but that the Macau investors had only been returned the capital of their contributions for the first three rounds and none of the promised profits.
Lau has since accused Rosário of being responsible for defrauding the Macau citizens in question, but Rosário this week denied any such fault.
“Dennis Lau is currently under investigation by criminal authorities in Hong Kong and Macau for the suspected defrauding of Forger Tech clients,” Rosário said, adding that he wants to “clarify the misinformation that Mr Dennis Lau has attempted to spread against me in an obvious attempt to shift attention from the serious accusations which have been brought against him and which are currently under investigation by the proper authorities.”
According to a recent report by Macau News Agency, Macau legislator Jose Maria Pereira Coutinho is among those to have invested in the scheme via two contracts totaling HK$700,000. The first contract, signed with Forger and worth HK$500,000, had promised a 216% return on investment but has since been declared invalid by Lau due to the original repayment rate having been changed on the contract by pen from 18% to 20%.
Lau has subsequently accused Rosário of changing contracts after they were signed.
Rosário denied those accusations on Tuesday, stating that, “Contrary to the accusations made by Mr Dennis Lau, I did not forge or illegally alter any of Forger Tech’s client contracts. These contracts were verified by the signatory parties, namely between the victims (myself and family members included) and Dennis Lau, the owner representing Forger Tech, and signed by both parties and stamped by Forger Tech.
“The returns or rent payments of all seven investment rounds in which the victims were involved, including any amendments thereto, were all drafted, proposed, sent and verified again by Mr Dennis Lau, before being signed by Mr Dennis Lau and stamped by Forger Tech.
“I have no decision making or signatory powers in either Forger Tech or Genesis Hong Kong, and I did not mislead, forge or amend the contracts for my benefit as was represented by Mr Dennis Lau to various news sources.
“The truth of the matter can be attested by ample documentary evidence and by the victims of the investment scheme, all persons living in Macau or Hong Kong, who have signed agreements with Mr Dennis Lau in representation of his companies. This evidence has been provided to the relevant authorities currently investigating the matter.”
Rosário also denied he was a shareholder “or in any way affiliated” with Forger Tech or its operations, stating, “I am a minority shareholder (10%) in Genesis Hong Kong Limited, which is a company that is majority held by Mr Dennis Lau, and whose main business is to co‐invest in the cryptocurrency mining business together with Forger Tech and computer sales.
“I was convinced to invest in Genesis Hong Kong Limited by Mr Dennis Lau in good faith that its operations were legitimate. As a minority shareholder, I do not have any decision‐making or signatory powers of this company. For example, I do not have powers to sign and approve any payments or represent the company using my signature.”
Rosário said he is in possession of evidence that will prove him innocent.
“In the meantime, I will continue to actively cooperate with the ongoing criminal investigation against Mr Dennis Lau and Forger Tech in Hong Kong and Macau and have full confidence that the truth about this matter will come to light through the proper authorities,” he said.