The Gambia is a country in West Africa famous for the funky beats of Sona Jobarteh and its beautiful sandy beaches
And alongside the sweet sound of the kora and stunning views of bright blue ocean waves, you can also find some of Europe’s finest businessman hanging out in the Gambia.
That’s according to local news website What’s On Gambia, which reported on Monday that the two owners of FuturoCoin have been issued with diplomatic passports by local authorities.
Stephan Morgenstern and Roman Ziemian, who operate FutureNet, were allegedly issued with the passports in July. Ziemian also appears to have obtained one for his wife Anastasiia.
A picture of Anastasiia’s passport details were posted on Facebook. The photo lists her as an ‘Economic Advisor’ to the Gambian government.
That being the case, it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to assume that Morgenstern and Ziemian are in the Gambia as advisors to local authorities. But then it’s not clear that they are even in the country or whether they have been there at all.
“Stephan Morgenstern and Roman Ziemian were born and brought up in Poland,” said a What’s On Gambia writer on Facebook. “They never lived in The Gambia. They never visited The Gambia. But they hold Gambian diplomatic passports.”
The first part of this statement is incorrect. Ziemian is indeed Polish and Morgenstern does, at least according to his blog on Medium, live in Poland. But, as his name screams out like a drunken man at a Weisswurst eating competition, Morgenstern is German.
Still, no one seems to know exactly where Ziemian and Morgenstern are.
In March of this year, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection released a statement saying that FutureNet and FutureAdPro were likely to be pyramid schemes.
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The consumer protection agency also said that charges were being pressed against the two operators of the companies – Morgenstern and Ziemian.
If you’re wondering what the hell FutureNet is then, put simply, it’s a multi-level marketing agency set up by Morgenstern and Ziemian in 2014. FutureAdPro was an extension of that business that was established in 2016.
Having ripped off a bunch of people with those companies, the pair realized that they could make even more money via cryptocurrency. And in early 2018, amid a boom in digital assets trading, they launched FuturoCoin.
As of Monday afternoon, that coin is worth approximately $0.42, which is surprising when you consider that it’s worthless.
Given that they are being pursued by authorities in Poland, it may not be a bad idea for Morgenstern and Ziemian to hang out in the Gambia for a while. Just as long as they aren’t witches or purveyors of black magic.
On the other hand, there could be a chance that they’re still in Europe and were caught up in a recent scandal involving the sale of Gambian diplomatic passports.
According to Gambian outlet Foroyaa, eight people have been arrested since mid-August for selling diplomatic passports.
Three civil service members from the country’s foreign affairs department were arrested in connection with the case at the end of last month.
In a separate statement released on Monday, the Gambian police said that several people have been arrested in Germany in connection with the case.
“Under Gambian law, the issuing of Diplomatic Passports rests exclusively with the Presidency and those that acquired their passports legitimately by using the established procedural channels are not the subject of this criminal inquiry,” said a police spokesperson.
“The probe targets those who knowingly acted illegally by falsifying documents, aiding and abetting in the sale, procurement, and acquisition of this precious national document for all the wrong reasons.”
Ziemian, Morgenstern – wherever you are – this author recommends that you go back to Poland and get a rap on the knuckles. It will be better than going to prison in Banjul.