THE PROBLEMS

Two individuals, Alfred Michael Rietveld (Michael Rietveld) and James Kennedy McCann (Jim McCann), set up Greenfield as a limited company in Dublin in October 2005. The official and main purpose of this company was to develop a “green” energy project in the Republic of Belarus.

  1. Greenfield was 100% owned by a New Zealand company, Greenfield Trust Ltd, in turn owned by Rata Securities Ltd, another New Zealand company.
  2. Sizeable private funding for Greenfield (according to Michael Rietveld, around €4 million — four million euro) was raised from late 2005 to late 2009, mainly in the Netherlands from affluent individuals.
  3. None of this money was ever lodged into or kept in the company’s bank account in Ireland. Instead, it was lodged into the bank accounts of Rietveld and Kennedy or of entities controlled by them. Under Irish law, such a diversion of funds is classed as the criminal offence of embezzlement.
  4. All Greenfield’s business was conducted from a regional office (RO) in the Netherlands. At a certain point, the address details of this RO were removed from the company’s website due to fears that Dutch tax authorities could start to express an interest in the company’s activities. The conduct of the business, however, continued “as usual” from the RO address, which also doubled as Kennedy’s apartment.
  5. No funds of importance were ever transferred to the company in Dublin. Contracts with consulting companies and other suppliers, plus at least one loan agreement, were, however, signed by Rietveld in the name of the Irish company. The flows of cash and other funds went directly to the two individuals or other companies controlled by them, and were used for a variety of purposes such as business travel, hotels, staff costs, entertaining, payments for consulting services, and their remuneration. Payments were made either in cash or using bank transfers through accounts controlled by the two.
  6. Bank accounts used were those of a Dutch foundation (Stichting), a Dutch private company (BV) and a private bank account in Belgium. The foundation in question was Stichting Academia Foundation, controlled by two daughters of Kennedy McCann; and the private company Magpie Beheer BV, controlled by Michael Rietveld. The Belgian bank account was also controlled by Rietveld.
  7. No adequate accounts (book-keeping) were kept in Ireland. The company issued annual financial statements of a “dormant company” i.e. with a recurring “zero assets/zero liabilities” balance sheet. Not to keep “proper books of account” is a serious offence under Irish company law, and the former auditor of the company lodged a declaration at the official Company Records Office that no proper books of account were kept.
  8. Though Greenfield was insolvent, the two individuals continued to conduct its business in and from the Netherlands. At least one High Court judgment was declared against it in Ireland against unpaid invoices, this latter amounting to stg£12.500 + VAT + all legal costs, in all estimated to be around €40,000 – €50,000. Greenfield has accumulated other sizeable debts to creditors amounting to more than €3.3 million.
  9. In Ireland the matter is clear-cut – this Irish limited company could not pay its debts as no funds or other assets were available in Ireland (for understandable reasons). It is now dissolved by order of the Companies Registrar.
  10. In the Netherlands we are dealing with two individuals (and/or their associated ‘Stichting’ and BV) who have clearly used this set-up in order to make personal gains.
    They attempted to persuade further individuals and entities to invest in this insolvent company on false pretences. For example, following the removal of their old website they set up several new websites under the heading of ‘Greenfield Bioenergy’ and sent out an e-mail to their contact base announcing further developments both in terms of corporate structure and the development of their alleged project, even though Greenfield is insolvent and the Belarus project is a failure due to the withdrawal of the Belarus Government’s support for it on account of Greenfield’s failure to raise project financing.
  11. In terms of scale, this fraud is fairly large. Creditors of Greenfield are owed over €3.3 million, while investors, if Michael Rietveld is to be believed, are at a loss of around €4 million, a total between €7.3 million and perhaps €8 million.

The creditors include former officers of the company, consultants contracted to supply services but never paid, corporate ‘partners’ of Greenfield, and a UK publisher which has obtained a court judgment against Greenfield for a debt of stg£12,500 plus all legal costs.

According to the little information available on the doings of Kennedy McCann and Rietveld, many small investors in the Netherlands may have put as much as €4 million into this enterprise. What little we know suggests they have lost all or most of this.

Rietveld was investigated by the Dutch fiscal authorities and the public prosecution service. Kennedy McCann is on the run, spotted once in Portugal and later in southern Spain.

McCann lived in France from 2011 to 2013, then in Belgium for a short time. His present location is unknown.

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