Category Archives: investors

Viranomaiset: Rohtos Labs-“Krapulapilleri” myydään laittomasti

Viime kuussa tämä blogi uutisoi tuoreesta “krapulapilleri”-huijauksesta. Oululaisvalmistaja Rohtos Labs (eli Rohtos Oy) myy Detoxformula-valmisteensa krapulaoireiden lieventämiseen ja “maksan suojaana”.

Lääkealan turvallisuus- ja kehittämiskeskus FIMEA:lta saadun tiedon mukaan Rohtos Labs-verkkosivuilla esitetyt väittämät ovat laittomia ravintolisälle. Tämä tuskin yllättää, firman koko konsepti on ongelmallinen: Rohtos Oy haluaa myydä ravintolisät “käytännön tarpeisiin“. Tämä on jo lähtökohtaisesti hyvin lähellä käyttöaihetta, joka saa olla vain lääkkeellä.

Tieto tapauksesta on alkuviikolla viran toimesta välitetty EVIRA:lle, joka on  toimivaltainen viranomainen elintarvikkeiden valvonnassa Suomessa.

Valvontaviranomaiset puuttuvat yksittäisen tuotteen myyntiin silloin, kun on aihetta epäillä tuotteen olevan terveydelle haitallinen tai jos tuotteesta annetut tiedot ovat puutteellisia tai virheellisiä tai muuten säännösten ja määräysten vastaisia.

Ilmoitan, jos on uusia käänteitä tässä asiassa. Kannattaa seurata firman nettisivuja ja Eviran uutisia.

[ blogiin voi ottaa yhteyttä ]

New HumanCharger study, old trick: Predatory publication

Here we go again: The finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd has published its next study of their HumanCharger device. This time, it’s about neurotransmitters and proteins in “transcranially illuminated” mouse brain.

 

The article is published in the “open access” Journal of Neurology Research. The journal is published by Elmer Press, a canadian predatory Publisher.

jnrnew6

There are several Valkee/HumanCharger papers in questionable journals, so this is no surprise. Again, no real peer-reviewed publication wanted the finnish pseudoscience in its pages.

elmeri-funding

The scam company (here called “Valkee Inc.”) is listed as study sponsor, and most of the authors are related to Valkee. Interestingly, professor Timonen is not listed as a shareholder – that may have been “forgotten” to declare, or he really sold his stake.

The paper itself is just another junk article in a fake journal, but there are implications for the institute of professor Seppo Saarela at the University of Oulu, which oversaw this “research”. University funding is partially based on scientific publications, and a predatory article actually means a financial loss for the department.

A junk paper is counted with -90% (article worth x 0,1) according to present university law. Classification is done by the Publication Forum maintained by Finland’s learned societies. At the moment, the “Journal of Neurology Research” has not been classified officially by the institution. That’s possibly a reason why Valkee’s researchers did submit the paper to Elmer Press.

The main reason,  however, is that naive customers and investors can be fooled with another article. The paper cannot be found via standard database searches like PubMed/MedLine, so the results are unavailable and lost for the scientific community.

That may be a problem also for its main author, which got a 24.000€ grant (PDF p.37) from the Alfred Kordelin Foundation to produce a thesis on “Earlight effects on light-sensitive proteins in rodents’ brains”.

flyktman-vedatys

Finnish “innovation agency” leader: Evolution is a question of belief

…those are the oldest brain areas, if you believe that the brain has developed evolutionary, in a way […] depending to who you listen to

This (and other stunning announcements) is from an interview* by Timo Ahopelto, a lead strategist5006-512 at Finland’s tax-financed innovation funding agency TEKES. Many of his companies received TEKES funding5006-512 – including the ill-fated Valkee Ltd5006-512.

Ahopelto has made antivax statements5006-512 and often uses crude war- and propaganda rhetoric5006-512, especially against critics. Another incredible demonstration of what – or who – is possible in Finland, with the right connections and political support.

*at 27:55 in the SmartDrugsSmart podcast, MP3 download here 5006-512.

Suomeksi:

nuo ovat aivojen vanhimmat osat, jos uskot että aivot kehittyivät evolutionäärisesti, [se tavallaan] riippuu siitä, keneltä kysyt

Valkee Ltd collapses as predicted: All share capital lost

UPDATE: My original story has reached more than 500.000 800.000 readers.
See ILTALEHTI | KAUPPALEHTI | TEKNIIKKA&TALOUS | ILTA-SANOMAT etc.pp.

The finnish trade register has just announced, that the HumanCharger manufacturer Valkee Ltd has lost all of its share capital. That means, that all of the company’s ressources are depleted, and new capital is not in sight – not even theoretically.

valkee-bankrupt

In other countries, the firm would have to file for immediate insolvency or bankruptcy, which is regulated in the same chapter of finnish corporate law.  In Finland, however, business could go on for a while – under extreme conditions, as purchases must all be paid in advance, and credits are stroke off. All business partners are now informed officially, that Valkee cannot fulfil upcoming liabilities.

Because of the consequences, such a notification is usually done in the least possible moment. It may be driven by the fact, that management and owners can be held liable personally from now on, if they don’t declare the final state publicly.

If anyone has claims against Valkee Ltd, now is the time to demand.

Personally I think, that the company will exist on paper for a few months, until its chairman Timo Ahopelto resigns from the board of TEKES, Finland’s tax-financed innovation funding agency. TEKES has shot in more than 100.000€ last year into Valkee, despite the obviously desperate state of the company, which was strictly documented in the 2016 balance.

Probably it’s the political dimension of the case. The snail media will report more soon. The source is earlightswindle.com – just in case they “forget” it again. /-Ed.

Valkee ist pleite

Wie die finnische Registerbehörde PRH gestern mitteilte, hat der Ohrleuchtenhersteller Valkee Oy aus Oulu am vergangenen Donnerstag den Verlust des gesamten Stammkapitals gemeldet.

valkee-bankrupt

Während nach deutschem Recht die Gesellschafter zum sofortigen Insolvenzantrag verpflichtet wären, kann die Firma in Finnland unter Umständen fortgesetzt werden. Wegen der Auswirkungen auf die Geschäftstätigkeit (Einkäufe nur noch gegen Vorkasse, Kündigung von Kreditlinien, usw.) ist aber eine Insolvenz mit Gläubigerschutz und Sanierungsversuch oder ein direkter Konkurs wahrscheinlicher. [s. Abschnitt 20, §§23-25 des finnischen Kapitalgesellschaftsgesetzes: Stammkapitalverlust, Insolvenz und Konkurs]

Die Meldung über den Stammkapitalsverlust erfolgt in der Regel zum allerletzten rechtlich möglichen Zeitpunkt. Unterbleibt die Anzeige, oder erfolgt sie zu spät, können Geschäftsführung und Gesellschafter im Falle des Konkurses in Anspruch genommen werden. Hiermit zeigen demnach die Verantwortlichen bei Valkee an, dass sämtliche finanziellen Möglichkeiten ausgeschöpft sind, und sie nicht persönlich haften wollen.

Da das Schicksal von Valkee in Finnland wegen der Verwicklung der Regierung politische Bedeutung hat, könnte die Skandalfirma auf dem Papier noch fortbestehen – etwa bis zum Sommer 2017, wenn der Firmenchef Timo Ahopelto vom Leitungsgremium der Innovationsförderungsbehörde TEKES zurücktritt. TEKES hat im letzten Jahr noch über 100.000 € in Valkee nachgeschossen, obwohl die Geschäftsführung öffentlich zugegeben hat, dass die Ohrleuchtengeräte in Finnland unverkäuflich sind und der sinkende Auslandsumsatz maximal 1/4 der Kosten deckt.

Wenn Sie noch Ansprüche an die Firma Valkee haben, dann ist jetzt der Zeitpunkt, sie anzumelden. Das Zeitfenster kann sich bald schließen.

Don’t use HumanCharger for Seasonal Affective Disorder: Valkee fools the FDA

As reported earlier on earlightswindle.com, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has refused the import of Valkee’s HumanCharger earlight headset into the States, when it was misbranded as a therapy device. But now Valkee Ltd actually did a rererere-launch of their hokuspokus in Canada and the US. How is this possible?

Valkee’s resellers explain on amazon.com, how Valkee circumvents FDA requirements.
Hold on to your seats!

“Doesn’t this need FDA approval?”

valkee-fuck-fda

“Only if advertised for use in Seasonal Affective Disorder. The product is advertised for Winter Blues”

It can not make any effectiveness claims, it gets no FDA approval – but it works “for winter blues”? That’s a synonym.

The USA is a known minefield for health fraud businesses like Valkee’s, because of class action suits. Power Balance, the magnetic wrist band sellers, had to return most of their shady businesses’ profits, because they made false health claims.

Valkee really doesn’t know better than to fool around with U.S. legislation. On the other hand, there is nothing to regain from Valkee, as the Company has no assets. They didn’t make even profits.

Congratulations to Merieux Developpement, TEKES and SITRA for making these shameful maneuvres possible. This is what sustainable businesses look like (in Finland)!

Valkee Ltd to go belly-up: The 2016 balance

Traditionally, earlightswindle.com makes Valkee’s balance sheets publicly available. Here is it for the fiscal year 3/2015 – 2/2016:

Valkee balance 2016

Revenue is down to 426.000 Euro from 645.000, again -35%. That’s directly continuing the long-time downward trend (2014: -44%, 2015: -40%).

Loss is also down, to “only” 1,646 million. Now the equity ratio (omavaraisuusaste) fell sharply, own capital is now negative (-1,049 million). In other words, there’s nothing left than debt. Banks and investors will not recover what they gave.

Last year, there was still some money left from the 7,3M investment. That’s completely burned now, and an additional million evaporated. As last year, Valkee got an audit warning. Now plus a clear prognosis, that the company will run out of capital during the next 12 months – cease to exist – if no new cash is found from some easy-to-fool investor. Or the americans buy millions of HumanChargers.

Update:
The snail media has reacted to this post: Kauppalehti 1 | Kauppalehti 2 | Talouselämä

Valkee’s CEO Aki Backman made absurd comments. Interestingly, he admitted that the earlight does “practically” not sell anymore in Finland. An open secret, now confirmed.

How to handle an unwanted blogger – the Valkee solution

Imagine the following: You have a company selling some unproven wonder treatment to naïve customers. You get maximum-level political support – even from the President of the Republic and the PM. You’re getting multi-million public and private funding enabling you to produce “research” to bolster your marketing.

But the target population still doesn’t believe you. An ugly makeshift website with an unfriendly blog draws as much attention as your glossy campaign. Although it is maintained anonymously, it has higher credibility. The facts presented there are a threat to your business, you want to get rid of that. What shall you do?

Here is, what Valkee Ltd did.

 

1. Send a threatening letter

in which you demand to shut down the website.

cease-and-desist letter by Valkee's CEO Somerto

 

If unsuccessful,

2. Let your lawyers send a threatening letter.

cease-and-desist by Borenius law firm

Luckily, you have Borenius, a leading law firm, at hand – at the expense of others.

 

If unsuccessful, start some

3. Text message stalking

somerto-sms1

Send the messages preferably in the morning (before 7:30 a.m.) or at night (after 8:00 p.m.). You may achieve a good shock-and-awe effect when the target is with the family, not expecting anything bad.

somerto-sms2

 

If unsuccessful, make a

4. Denunciation to the police.

The outcome may be disappointing (detailed description of the case here), because the website/blog does nothing illegal. The presented facts are correct, as you know.

 

Anyway, if unsuccessful, try a

5. Second complaint to the police

in which you decry the activities of that blog as a vital threat to your business. Urge the police to do anything soon. At least, it will keep the blogger busy and under pressure.

lawsuit2-4[1]

 

If all those methods are unsuccessful,

6. Hire a private investigator.

This may be outsourced to some of your pals. Their growing concerns about the failing investment could make them try a whole bunch of unconventional measures. You must convince them, that all negative publicity is caused by that blogger and his friends, not by your foul claims.

valkee-amateur-spies

Security expert Dave may find out interesting things about one’s personal life (cut out from the JPG above). Keep it for later use. But next time avoid leaking the memos, because of your sheer incompetence with web techniques.

  • Guessing game: Who hired David as a private eye?
    • Hint 1 (symbolic picture):
      (symbolic picture only)
    • Hint 2: it begins with M.

 

If still unsuccessful,

7. Contact the blogger’s employer.

This is, of course, a do-not for a civilized person. Use only if despair strikes. You may try to find out more details about your target. Or simply ask random things, to make clear you’re despicable enough to actually play that card.

Be aware, that the HR department may be used already to 3C-requests (criminals, crooks, and crackpots) due to the nature of that institution. Your questions may be redirected instead and cause further damage.

update: Pekka Somerto contacted my employer via phone and from a DNA welho.com e-mail (probably he changed it now to Elisa.fi). I received a HR call at home on my day off, and had to explain. An uncomfortable situation, as you may understand./-Ed.

 

If all is unsuccessful,

8. Leave the company

after all you’ve done.

thelastoneswitchesoffthelight

Your pals/investors could help with parachuting you into a leading position elsewhere – even with comparable pay checks.

valkeelisa

Then resume where you stopped: Selling flimflam devices. Enjoy life!

***

Surprise: Elisa Oyj sells Valkee-succeeding Oura crap

Some twists in the Valkee saga still may surprise me. That one is hard to comment:

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

[ background 1 ] [ background 2 ] [ background 3 ]

The Oura ring is another gadget linked to unfounded claims, misleading advertising, and Valkee. Elisa Oyj‘s new Business Development Director is the former CEO of Valkee, and multiple Valkee employees now appear at Oura, which original name is JouZen Oy. Valkee’s co-founder is listed among the inventors of Oura’s founding patents. Among JouZen/Oura leaders is Petteri Lahtela, from Valkee’s Japan operations.

A so-called butt-on-bucket constellation, with helping hands by good old boys.

Finnish pension millions invested in questionable companies: Valkee, uBiome, Ductor &Co.

The earlight maker Valkee Ltd has caused much anger here in Finland for wasting millions of tax money. The money was channeled through TEKES, the “Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation“. The number is usually named as ca. 2,5 million Euro. But that’s only the beginning.

The main “private” investor in Valkee, as opposed to the public, was LifeLine Ventures, by its founding partners Timo Ahopelto and Petteri Koponen. Millions of its funds went into the earlight. TEKES has given an extra 3 million € for the first fund in question. A considerable portion of that has to be added to public funds wasted for the scam.

from the TEKES website: its "best funds"

from the TEKES website: its “best funds”

Additionally, the LifeLine funds got millions from Mutual Pension Insurance Ilmarinen, the biggest pension insurance company in Finland with over 500.000 insured. Starting with nearly a million € in 2012, when the LifeLine fund was opened, its stake has risen to nearly 4 M€ in Ilmarinen’s 2015 balance (PDF, p. 102).

from Ilmarinen's 2015 balance

from Ilmarinen’s 2015 balance

In Finland, one pays pension insurance directly from the pay check, every month. At the moment, it’s 5,7% for workers under 53 years, and 7,2% for the older. So Valkee has not only burned tax money, but also pension funds.

valkeestreamofmoney

There’s good reason to look, what other companies LifeLine has invested in. Besides taxes, who would give pension funds for questionable activities?

Hopefully, the following list is not representative.

 

Ductor

Ductor Ltd promises to help solving the world’s energy problems by making available up to 100% of chicken poop for biogas production (short description). It is marketing itself even as the new Nokia. Not making this up!

Its Board of Directors has caused considerable irritation. It consists of three persons:

  1. Ductor’s CEO and founder Ari Ketola, a former textile trader;
  2. the “prophet of GodVeikko Latvala;
  3. Timo Ahopelto from LifeLine Ventures.

They present the ownership: Ketola 50%, Latvala 33%, LifeLine 16% (numbers from 2015).

The Book of Veikko. - Jesus!!

The Book of Veikko. – Jesus!!

Ketola is a follower of the “Prophet” Latvala, he praises him as his mentor, having “this gift of mercy last twenty years”(sic!). Latvala briefly became known in the western world, thx to Fox News, for claims he’d cracked the code of the world-famous Voynich manuscript with the help of God. It turned out to be bogus, as prophecies usually do. He said the EU would end in 2014, but to my knowledge, it’s still around. (Btw, is it?)

Maybe found in Voynich's

Bacteria from Voynich’s?

The business idea came from a tête-à-tête with his prophet, Ketola says. The right bacteria needed for the process was found straight away, when Ductor started. He doesn’t tell if God helped with that, also. An ex-manager, who left Ductor in 2015, described the company leaders as completely incompetent. That would fit.

So far, Ductor has made millions of loss and 4 contracts in Germany. It is unknown whether their plant add-ons will work in real world settings.

Update Feb 2017: The opening of the first german plant was delayed twice, and mentions have disappeared from Ductor’s website.

May a little prayer help? – More soon…

 

uBiome

Another LifeLine investment concerned with feces is uBiome “from the Valley”, as Ahopelto calls it. It sells test kits in which you can fill in poop (for $89) or swab mouth and private parts (for $399). The samples are then screened for the different bacteria they contain. There isn’t much to learn from this for the user, the results are meaningless – unless, one day, somebody finds out.

Apologies for this one.

Apologies for this one.

In a cool twist, uBiome promises to be that somebody. If just enough people buy their test kits – and/or enough money is thrown at them – there may be results to tackle mankind’s worst killers.

For example, with 500 people, uBiome will be able to answer questions about (…) diabetes and hypertension. With 2,500, the project can investigate connections to breast cancer. With 50,000 people, the project can begin to address multiple sclerosis and leukemia

Promising too much, at the very least. Some may smell a scam herein. uBiome calls their efforts “citizen science” and has defended its lack of institutional (scientific/ethics) control, blaming the science community as old-fashioned, building obstacles for projects like theirs.

These are basically the same conspiracy theories, which Ahopelto used to defend Valkee Ltd.

 

ZenRobotics

ZenRobotics makes AI-powered robots sorting waste. I’m naming it, because it’s been one of Ahopelto’s favorites for years. Unfortunately, it made more than 13 million € loss so far, i.e. all invested money. Sales go on, although they had to admit at one point that their robot simply “did not work“.

ZenRobotics revenue and balance

ZenRobotics revenue and balance

The firm will exist as long as investments flow, or how their website puts it:

zenroboticsslogan

Join us – we’ll be the last to go.

 

If there is money to be spent, it will be spent. Sometimes at all cost. More scrutiny on how it seeps away is warranted, especially when public money and pension funds are at stake.

/-Ed.

Conflict of interest: Timo Ahopelto has made malicious and obviously false statements about me at some occasions. May the reader decide, but I am digging into facts here.