Bank of Botswana (BoB) has still to declare whether or not┬áTravel Ventures International Express┬ámay be in┬ácontravention of the law.
┬áThe bank’s spokesperson, Andrew Sesinyi, had not given an immediate response to the Telegraph enquiries by press time amid media reports that TVI Express is under investigation in South Africa for possible contravention of the country’s Banks Act of 1990.
┬áThe government controlled RB2 radio station on Monday hosted guests, believed to be local agents of TVI Express, to explain its modus operandi. One regular guest (not from TVI Express) dismissed it as a pyramid scheme.
The local agents, while warning prospective investors not to be swindled by individuals masquerading as TVI Express agents, begged to differ and offered that those who join at the initial P2100 joining fee┬áplus an additional US$150┬áderive benefits of discounted holiday accommodation but did not state the financial gains realized from the scheme.┬á
The Sunday Times reported that a┬á high-flying 27-year-old Indian tycoon is behind┬áthe alleged pyramid scheme that the Reserve Bank and state-appointed forensic auditors say has amassed over R1-billion in just two years.
The newspaper said government investigators in the US, UK and China, Tarun Trikha’s company, Travel Ventures International (TVI) Express, is worth at least $2-billion (R13.8-billion) worldwide.
Trikha is said to be living in New Delhi and built his “billion-dollar success story” in just two years. He travels to over a dozen countries a month in his private jet punting his scheme. He claims to have recruited more than a million members globally.
The newspaper said according to local auditors, investors are required to pay a minimum “membership fee” of R2700. Then they receive a “travel voucher” – which is worth virtually nothing in some instances – and the opportunity to receive commission for recruiting other investors.┬áAt least 100 000 South Africans have invested in the scheme.
The newspaper said attorneys and forensic investigators appointed by the Reserve Bank said they were dumbfounded by the scale of the scheme.