Barak Fund Management is a Mauritian-based trade finance firm that has recently attracted the headlines of being a Ponzi scheme. When the pandemic took over the world, the Barak Fund Management team was quick to act by suspending all the subscriptions and redemptions, citing the impact of Covid-10 on the underlying portfolio of transactions.
Barak Fund tried to use the pandemic to cover the financial fraud, however they were unsuccessful in their quest to prevent the exposure of financial corruption that was going on for years in the fund. Over the past year, several members of the Barak Fund Management team have been exposed for their wrongdoings and financial corruption. The world came to know the truth about Barak Fund that the loss suffered by Barak Fund was hardly related to Covid-19. The truth is far more sinister than Covid-19, and it is being used as a cover-up. All the losses were due to the malpractices done by the members of the Barak Fund.
Many allegations surrounding Barak Fund’s founder and Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Prieur du Plessis, have begun to surface. Prieur Du Plessis is a qualified chartered accountant who completed his public training with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). According to institutional investors who have fallen victim to the failed investment practices of Du Plessis, the former affiliation with PWC raises suspicion suggesting a coverup. In 2019, PWC resigned as Barak Fund Management’s auditor, and to date no external accounting firm has signed off on the financials for investors to review. The real question is how much more is being hidden from Barak Fund Investment investors?
In May 2019, additional allegations were raised against Prieur du Plessis, which go back to the year 2014-2017. Two sets of allegations regarding conflict of interest were raised against him. The fund resolved the first allegation by stating that no evidence of wrongdoing was found while no external investigation was done. Another allegation was raised against the CIO of Barak Fund Management in 2019.
According to insider whistleblowers, Prieur Du Plessis received a substantial amount of cash and an expensive Mercedes Benz car in exchange for a loan. The fund resolved this matter through an internal investigation but took no serious action against the CIO of the fund. Prieur du Plessis called the various bribes a repayment for personal loans.
In April of last year, Prieur du Plessis announced a labor redundancy process that affected some of the employees of Barak Fund. Employees affected by the process lodged complaints about the impropriety of the process. Some raised concerns over the quality of collateral linked to some loans that it made, while another warned about the overvaluation of some assets. Still, these allegations were not taken seriously by the fund and were ultimately shut down. Prieur du Plessis was only given a warning.
The constant lack of accountability is making the investors lose trust in the fund. Barak Fund Management continues to deny all the allegations against them, claiming that no wrongdoings were found and solve all the allegations through in-house probes, which further dissatisfy the investors.
If Barak Fund Management is as innocent as they claim to be, they should let authorities like the SEC conduct a formal fraud investigation against them, so the truth can be revealed. The corruption allegations against Prieur du Plessis should also be separately investigated by legal authorities for accepting cash and an expensive Mercedes Benz vehicle in exchange for providing loans using Barak Fund Management investor funds.
A warning over such heavy allegations is not enough, and if the serious bribery allegations are substantiated, the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) should be properly punished according to the law.