Bosnia: Transnational Stock Fraud Group Dismantled
Organized Crime investigators have arrested 22 people and are investigating another 50 on suspicion of organized crime, money laundering, and tax evasion. All appear to have been involved in a stock scam and posed as employees of a fictitious company that defrauded European Union citizens out of millions.
At the center of the scheme is “Dunmorr Group AG“ whose majority holder, as the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) found, is a Bosnian national Goran Samardzija. Samardzija lives in Belgrade, Serbia, and his company is registered in Switzerland, with branches in Bosnia and Serbia.
Reports naming Dunmorr as the orchestrator of the fraud scheme appeared on German Internet forums in July 2011, CIN reports. According to these posts, Dunmorr offered stocks of various western companies for sale, from phone numbers registered in Bosnia, Germany and Monaco.
The forum posts also claim that Dunmorr purchased large amounts of worthless stocks from failing companies. Its “employees“ then called citizens promising huge payoff for these stocks. As the number of people who agreed to buy the stocks grew, so did the value of the stocks, and the earnings of the fraudsters. After the stocks were purchased, their value dropped and the fraudsters made off with their victims' money.
Dunmorr was founded in 1997 in Glattburgg, Switzerland, under the name “Selab.“ Its starting capital was 20, 000 Swiss franks (US$13,800 in 1997).
Selab's founders were Swiss nationals Alfred Ariger von Litau and Antonio Odesti von Gansingen. Their business adviser was Fiedrich Auf der Maur. At the start, Selab developed and sold software, in addition to various other merchandise.
In 2000, following Ariger's death, his family and Odesti sold the company to Maur. The company sales contract states that Odesti and Ariger's family got 500 francs each. In early 2001, Maur moved the company to Zurich, and in May 2002, he registered Selab as a joint stock company. He increased Selab's capital to 100,000 francs.
The following year, Selab got another new owner – Martin Grossmann from Zurich. Under his ownership, Selab became an agricultural company.
In 2007, Selab changed its name to the “Dunmorr Group AG.“ Grossmann again changed the company's activity, this time to financial counseling and stock trade. He also increased the number of shares, and their value decreased. The company had 1,000 stocks, each one worth 100 francs. Grosmman was the only stockholder and only board member until October 2009, when Zoran Samardzija, then using a German address, became the board president.
During 2010, Goran Samardzija from Belgrade, Serbia recapitalized the company, adding 1.13 million francs to its capital and increasing the number of stocks by 9,000. In 2008, Goran Samardzija founded a business consulting company in Serbia, “Stonehard Consulting.“ Stonehard was blacklisted by Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). The company was liquidated in June 2010.
The Bosnian branch of Dunmorr is at the center of an investigation by the Special Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime in Bosnia. The prosecutors announced arrests on Monday.