After four years, a continent-spanning saga of theft, betrayal, cryptocurrency, and concealed identity may soon draw to a close in London and San José. Walter Gomez, co-founder of fintech pioneer Börser S.A., formally announces his pursuit of legal action against Edward Roworth and Jaspal Singh Arri.
The action seeks recovery of $1 million claimed by Gomez and his associates following a transaction begun in 2015 and only partially fulfilled. The original agreement, described in a binding contract signed by Gomez and Arri, who represented himself as the principal of a corporate party, involved the exchange of Venezuelan bolivares and US dollars, at a preferred rate. Gomez and his partners in the transaction—Cesar Potenza, Natividad Rojas, Sofia Akly, and Jerome Kislingbury—supplied the bolivares, which Arri agreed to exchange for $1M US.
The deal’s logic was sound enough. Gomez is the founder of Börser S.A., one of the world’s most innovative fintech firms. Börser comprises three distinct companies: Mi Wall Street, which provides high-quality financial services to small investors; CrowdingFunds, a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform; and X-Change, a low-cost service that facilitates the exchange between Börser’s cryptocurrency and fiat currency. The company’s demonstrated expertise in complex exchange mechanisms made it an attractive partner.
After some delays, Arri issued a first payment of $35k in late 2015. This payment was drawn from sources in India and issued from a Dubai-based bank. With some concern over the suddenly complicated nature of what should have been a straightforward exchange of funds, Gomez repeatedly contacted Arri, to no avail. He would not hear from him again.
In 2016, Gomez was contacted by Richard Durrant, who proposed an exchange of currencies similar to the one Arri had failed to honor. After several conversations and a face-to-face meeting with Durrant’s representative Edward Patrick Roworth in the border town of Cucuta, Columbia, Gomez pursued the deal, but Roworth failed to follow through to pursue the deal.
Roworth presented himself in 2017 as a potential angel investor in Gomez’s new fintech venture, Börser. Roworth never delivered either the funding or the personnel he promised, but sent a small amount of seed capital in exchange for some of Börser’s tokens. Still, he maintained that he was owed the agreed-upon share of the company. Later, he arranged for a small investment by an Australian father and son, again demanding shares in Börser for his trouble. Similar one-sided and ultimately unconsummated negotiations ensued for the next 18 months.
It came to light in late 2018 that both Jaspal Singh Arri and Richard Durrant were associates of Roworth and connected to his company Eco Worldwide Ltd. Eco Worldwide was further revealed to be a company on paper only, created by Roworth, with no employees, no cash flow, and no business . Durrant, it seems, was sent by Roworth to ply Gomez after Arri had burned his bridges.
After promising to honor his responsibility for the 2015 theft committed under his company’s guise, Roworth failed to deliver. In the meantime, with Börser S.A. becoming a successful presence in the cryptocurrency market, Roworth redoubled his demands for shares in the company, claiming by now that he had been promised a controlling stake. When Gomez responded by reminding Roworth of the notarized contract they had signed—a contract which in no way admits the possibility of Roworth being issued a controlling share of Börser—Roworth took the avenue of last resort. He began a smear campaign against Gomez.
This attack was as thorough and carefully orchestrated as Roworth’s earlier efforts to defraud Gomez. Not content merely to libel Gomez online, Roworth systematically contacted Gomez’s business associates, casting unwarranted and unsubstantiated aspersions on his character and on Börser’s viability as a company. Roworth enlisted help, as well: the Australian father and son whose purchase of Börser tokens Roworth had supposedly arranged as a gesture of investment in the company participated actively in the effort to ruin Gomez’s good name.
In the midst of this campaign, Roworth contacted Gomez directly, threatening to forge documents, including transcripts of conversations and phone messages, if Gomez did not relinquish his controlling interest in Börser. When Gomez refused, Roworth abandoned all pretense of negotiating a business deal and resorted to overt blackmail. His tactics at this stage became even more desperate, blunt, and dangerous. Roworth reached his nadir when he attempted to extract $50,000 USD from Gomez on threat of sending a “South American collector” to visit him at his home.
After documenting the entire campaign against him, Gomez is now pursuing legal action initiated in his home country, to be followed by an international action in London. These pending legal actions seek full compensation for the $1 million agreed upon by Arri, acting as Roworth’s agent, and for damages commensurate with the libel directed against him.
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