We found an attestation from 2015 (to Alevo’s auditor? – this was around the time that the 2014 accounts were being finalized) that confirmed that TSG Global Solutions had been paid $2 million by Alevo in 2014. During this time Alevo had very poor internal controls, with individual signatories, and we decided to investigate this payment.
According to internal email trails it seems that two payments of $1 million were arranged by Jean-Claude Beney – in the process demonstrating how much control he had within the organization to approve such large-scale payments, despite, at the time, not being an official signatory of Alevo Group SA (although according to the above letterhead he was on the Board of Directors).
To date we have only found an invoice for the second one of these payments, which is made out for “Consulting Services provided for Real Estate – $1,000,000.00”.
As the email trail above demonstrates, according Jean-Claude Beney this was for “for the introduction and negociation (sic) of the best possible terms for the electrolyte plot of land in Switzerland”. We cannot understand why Alevo Group SA, a company based in the part of Switzerland where its new electrolyte manufacturing facility would be based, would need to have a person based in the USA to “introduce and negotiate” an agreement? Despite the large-scale pay packages they were awarding themselves were management unable to negotiate the best terms possible, especially seeing as Mr Beney is a Swiss person and would be familiar with the local authorities and people in Valais, Switzerland, where he resides?
Alevo Group also paid $3 million earlier in 2014 to Harrison Wellford for a similar arrangement. Maybe Alevo management just thought that such a new payment in Switzerland would work out as the best way to get money over to TSG? The photos here certainly show how friendly management were with Dr Rubar S. Sandi of TSG Global Solutions.
In fact, TSG was part of a wider set of agreements with Alevo that were signed on October 26, 2014. Was this “Real Estate” payment a cover for some other arrangement? Or was it just another example of an apparent misappropriation of funds by Alevo management?