The first person to raise the alarm about Euro Aid Financial Services was a Western Cape businessman who asked to be identified as Barnard.
He runs a fishery business and needed funds to buy another vessel. After being turned down by banks and other loan companies, he found Euro Aid Financial Services.
In November, Barnard applied for a R500 000 loan for the company in his wife’s name. An agent based in Goodwood arranged that they waver the R10 000 once off payment, said Barnard. They would only pay R9 600.
Barnard did an EFT payment of R8 600, and a cash payment of R1 000. The Cape Argus is in possession of copies of the payment notices, deposit slips and receipts. The payments took place on November 29, 2011.
The money was paid into the account of the agent’s personal business account, after which it would be transferred to Euro Aid Financial Services.
On December 1, Barnard’s wife received an e-mail from Stephan Johanson with the approval in principle document. The correspondence came from a Yahoo account.
By December 2 nothing had been deposited into Barnard’s account. After several phone calls, e-mails and faxes, Barnard was told they had to pay a R3 000 administration fee. The money was deposited on December 19.
Barnard claims he was told in order for the R500 000 to be “immediately released and cleared” they would have to make another deposit of R2 500. They were allegedly promised the full loan amount would reflect in their account the following day.
To date, no money has been deposited into their account.
During an interview with Cape Argus two weeks ago, Barnard phoned Johanson and put him on speaker phone. Johanson then asked Barnard to SMS him his banking details so he could confirm he had the correct account number. Johanson said the money would be in his account by noon. Barnard is still waiting.
This story is echoed by other complainants.
A northern suburbs businessman paid his R5 500 deposit, R1 500 application fee and R1 750 for administration.
His transactions date back to August. “I’m still hanging onto a thread of hope that this is not a scam,” he said. He was in regular contact with another agent who, on one of the loan agreements, assumes the designation of “head agent” for Euro Aid Financial Services.
He operates from Goodwood and his private company was registered with the Financial Services Board in 2004 as a financial services provider.
The businessman said he was in regular contact with Johanson, who promised that the money would appear in his account soon. A Vereeniging man has been dealing with one of the four people the Hawks confirmed they were investigating. He had paid R32 000 to in deposits and admin fees. He has been battling to get his money for the past 17 months.
I have come across many in Cape Town alone. Make sure that the correspondence is not via yahoo,aol,msn or any free web mail. If it has a company email, do a whois search, make sure its a genuine registered website. Also make sure you get a land number, the old trick is to use something like skype, you can get any number anywhere in the world and forward it to the original, but its easily recognizable by the tone and answering service. Most commonly you will find in cape Town Nigeria and Ghana work together, and they have offices in malaysia and Uk, these countries are there hubs. They get a firend to answer you whilst they ask for western union, direct money deposit as they have fraudulent IDs. Better safe than sorry, check the principle approval, check the number and google it, many a times there will be someone who has been scammed already. Remember, if they going to give you finance, an they ask for a clearing deposit, tell them to take it form the finance they would of given you, its the same thing. Why deposit money of the promise you will receive it when monies are cleared????