Investor Alert – Prosecutors seized accounts of Austrian pawnbroker GoLending

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Regulatory Fine

In October 2019, the Austrian Financial Market Authority FMA imposed a fine of EUR 10,000.00 on the pawnbroker GoLending AT GmbH (“GoLending“) for misleading advertising in connection with the public offering of qualified subordinated loans and for violation of prospectus provisions. The company has appealed against this decision. GoLending had used publicly placed subordinated loans to raise millions from investors for its pawnbroking business.

Law Enforcement Action

On 20 February 2020, the managing director of GoLending, German citizen Dirk Morina, informed clients and investors that the Austrian law enforcement had searched the offices and seized the company’s bank accounts. The reason for this would have been a criminal complaint filed by some former employees, who apparently claimed that GoLending would misappropriate investor funds. Initially, Morina was optimistic that the matter would be resolved quickly. He rejected the accusations as untrue and completely unfounded.

Apparently, the matter could not be settled as quickly as hoped. On 4 June 2020, Dirk Morina sent out another update. The accounts of GoLending are still frozen. According to Morina, a request for payment of interest to the investors was rejected by the public prosecutor’s office. A quick solution to this matter does not seem to be in sight. Morina insists that no charges will be brought and he would be able to explain everything to the prosecutors’ office. As a matter of fact, it would be the Austrian public prosecutor’s office who is to blame, as it has not been conducting proper investigations for months and has not even read the statement by GoLending.

The end?

Morina assures investors and customers that GoLending is not threatened with insolvency and that a solution would be found for investors, clients, and partners. Whether this is really a realistic scenario must be critically questioned. According to the investigating authorities, an end to the investigations may not be expected until 2021.

It will be interesting to see how the GoLending Cause will proceed!

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