Barak Fund Management is a Mauritian trade finance company that recently made headlines as a Ponzi scheme. When the pandemic took over the world, the Barak Fund Management team was quick to act by suspending all subscriptions and redemptions, citing the impact of Covid-10 on the underlying trading portfolio.
The Barak Fund attempted to use the pandemic to cover up financial fraud, but failed to prevent exposure of the financial corruption that had been unfolding for years in the fund. Over the past year, several members of the Barak Fund Management team have been exposed for their misdeeds and financial corruption. The world has learned the truth about the Barak Fund, that the loss suffered by the Barak Fund was hardly related to Covid-19. The truth is far more sinister than Covid-19, and it is used as a cover-up. All losses were due to embezzlement committed by members of the Barak Fund.
Numerous allegations regarding Barak Fund’s founder and chief investment officer (CIO), Prieur du Plessis, have started to surface. Prior of Plessis is a chartered accountant who completed his public education at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). According to institutional investors who fell victim to Du Plessis’ failed investment practices, the former affiliation with PWC raises suspicions suggesting a cover-up. In 2019, PWC resigned as auditor of Barak Fund Management and to date no external accounting firm has approved the financial statements for investor review. The real question is how much is hidden from investors at Barak Fund Investment?
In May 2019, additional allegations were raised against Prieur du Plessis, which date back to 2014-2017. Two sets of conflict of interest allegations were made against him. The fund resolved the first allegation by stating that no evidence of wrongdoing was found while no external investigation was conducted. Another allegation was brought against the CIO of Barak Fund Management in 2019.
According to insider whistleblowers, Prieur Du Plessis received a substantial sum of money and a dear Mercedes Benz in exchange for a loan. The fund resolved this matter through an internal investigation, but took no serious action against the fund’s CIO. Prieur du Plessis described the various bribes as repayment of personal loans.
In April last year, Prieur du Plessis announced a dismissal process that affected some of the Barak Fund employees. Employees affected by the process have filed complaints about the irregularity of the process. Some expressed concerns about the quality of collateral attached to some loans it has made, while another cautioned against overvaluing some assets. Yet these allegations were not taken seriously by the fund and were ultimately shut down. Prieur du Plessis received only one warning.
The constant lack of responsibility causes investors to lose confidence in the fund. Barak Fund Management continues to deny all allegations made against them, claiming that no wrongdoing has been found and resolves all allegations through internal investigations, further upsetting investors.
If Barak Fund Management is as innocent as they claim, they should let authorities like the SEC conduct a formal fraud investigation so that the truth can be revealed. The corruption allegations against Prieur du Plessis are also expected to be the subject of a separate investigation by judicial authorities for accepting money and an expensive Mercedes Benz vehicle in return for granting loans using funds from investors of Barak Fund Management.
A warning on such heavy allegations is not enough, and if serious corruption allegations are founded, the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) should be duly punished according to the law.