The premises belonging to Envion AG’s former CEO Matthias
Woestmann, and the law offices of Berlin lawyer Thomas van Aubel (Van Aubel
& Partner Attorneys at Law) were recently raided by Berlin police.
Envion AG offices raided by Berlin police
The surprise raid saw investigators seizing documents and hard drives. The raids were ordered by prosecutors at multiple locations “connected to an illegal scheme which led to the collapse of the Swiss cryptocurrency mining company.”
For some time, state prosecutors had been investigating Van
Aubel and Woestmann. The investigations came after the pair’s illegal “takeover
and subsequent cover-up caused a scandal in the blockchain world.”
Woestmann and Van Aubel could end up facing criminal charges
and possible jail time.
How Envion AG went belly up
Envion started off on a good note when a Berlin team wanted
to move the energy-intensive crypto-mining to areas that offered “cheap and
green energy with mobile containers.” The company subsequently raised $ 100
million from 37,000 investors.
This achievement was hailed as a German record-breaking ICO (initial coin offering) in 2018. However, not long afterwards, the founders and management split up.
The company was never started and investors lost money as their investment continued to lose value. Woestmann and his adviser, Van Aubel, were held responsible for the mess.
Who is to blame for the company failing
The pair was blamed for “a covert majority takeover without
prior arrangement which paralyzed the company.” In turn, the former CEO and
lawyer accused the founders of producing too many Envion tokens in order to become
A small group of investors also blame the founders for the
company crumbling. They’ve since initiated legal measures against them.
Woestmann and Van Aubel claim raids were unlawful
However, the raid by the Berlin State Prosecutor has signaled positive tidings for Envion token holders. According to Finance Forward, the prosecutor declined to give further details and analysis is ongoing.
Speaking through a lawyer, Woestmann and Van Aubel claimed the searches were unlawful. Investigators also didn’t clarify whether the raids meant there was a charge of guilt or innocence in the case.
Founders opened a case against ex-CEO and lawyer
About a year ago, a preliminary investigation was opened
against the two men after the founders laid a criminal complaint against them.
The founders accused the two of “an unlawful capital increase.”
Woestmann and Van Aubel denied any wrongdoing. In June 2018,
the district court ruled that “the majority takeover by the management was
illegal and injurious to the founders.”
The verdict was then upheld at the Berlin Court of Appeals at a subsequent hearing. In 2018, Envion founder Michael Luckow blamed the pair for stealing their company.
How Woestmann and Van Aubel joined Envion AG
Woestmann was approached in 2017 by Envion’s founders because he appeared to be an “extremely well-connected energy expert.” They believed he would give the “company a respectable face.”
Woestmann, in turn, brought in Van Aubel in January 2018.
The lawyer then proceeded to take over “shares in the company as part of the controversial
Envion AG dissolved at the end of 2018
In March 2019, the Swiss financial regulator Finma meaninglessly
“declared the Envion ICO illegal.” However, in November 2018, the Cantonal
Court of Zug had already ordered the dissolution of Envion AG because of a lack
of “statutory auditors.”
The founder’s way forward
Bankruptcy proceedings were held by the founders. The founders hope to “unlock a portal where token holders can register their claims at the end of October.”
Luckow and the other founders launched the “Liquidation Update Program (LUP)” for this purpose. The premise for it is that token holders will receive millions of dollars’ worth of claims in the liquidation and damages lawsuits which will be donated by the founders.
According to Presse Portal:
“An independent trustee will distribute money awarded to the founders during the liquidation for their tokens or shares in envion to token holders who sign up for the program via the website www.liquidation-upgrade-program.org.”
Membership is completely free and open to anyone holding Envion
tokens acquired during the ICO or afterwards.
The Ford Motor Company is exploring blockchain tech and geofencing in order to accurately track the number of “green miles” driven by its energy-efficient vehicles.
Ford’s energy-efficient vehicles
In an announcement made on October 15, Ford stated that it’s expanding its European plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV pilot to Cologne, Germany. The US vehicle manufacturer goal is to analyse real-world benefits of their energy-efficient cars for commercial vehicle owners, operators and of course, the environment.
Ford’s pilot, which is conducting tests in both London and Valencia will see nine Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid vans plus one Tourneo Custom Plug-in Hybrid people-mover put to the test in a myriad of real-world use cases.
The company hopes, that by capturing all the metadata on the blockchain, to optimize all environmental benefits of its fleet of PHEV vehicles.
Mark Harvey, the European director at Ford stated:
“Ford is committed to delivering new, more environmentally sustainable vehicles that can help address the mobility challenges our cities face. […] The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle trials with our partners in the City of Cologne build upon our ongoing electrification programmes elsewhere in Europe, and bring us all closer to meeting our combined urban air quality goals.”
Several cities throughout European nations are introducing low-emission zones in an effort to address air quality issues, to ensure that high-pollution vehicles do not enter the cities. Ford’s hopes are that by use of geofencing and its blockchain tech pilot might aid in these cities in their efforts to implement their low emission strategies.
Gunnar Herrmann, chairman at Ford GmbH stated:
“The blockchain technology we are testing here in Cologne enables secure, tamper-proof tracking and logging of vehicle emissions records, which makes it ideal for the PHEV pilot. Security, trust and transparency of emissions data are of paramount importance to all stakeholders in this project, and are key for our vision of cleaner air in the city.”
Blockchain payments to be tested
Ford, along with BMW, GM (General Motors), Honda and Renault will begin testing a blockchain identification and payment system early next month in the USA.
The new partnership between the five motor manufacturers main aim is to test a vehicle ID system which has been developed under the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. Forming part of the project, vehicles are assigned unique ID’s, linked to ownership, service history as well as a wallet enabling the vehicle to automatically settle fees without the use of specialized hardware.
Seoul’s blockchain point system
The specifics of the ambitious project were revealed a press conference held last month and attended by city officials and private sector representatives. The specifics of the planned rollout were discussed, which includes timelines and project goals. The press conference reignited interest in the initiative which had since its announcement last year seemed to have lost some momentum.
By the end of the press conference, three main priorities were set for completion by the end of November. Seoul’s blockchain points system will be introduced to residents of the city who will earn S-coins for using various public services.
Citizens will be eligible to redeem their points for rewards. Public services which generate S-coins include paying taxes and participation in public opinion polls.
Moreover, Seoul’s point system will be implemented via ZeroPay, a local government-sponsored QR-code-powered network, created back in December. It gives customers the ability to purchase goods and services via their smartphones and doesn’t charge merchants commissions.
In addition to Seoul’s S-coins, a blockchain service for submitting qualifications without paper documentation has been included in the list for November’s deadline. Also included is the enhancement of the Seoul Citizens Card with blockchain tech, which will enable digital authentication for the use of public services.
Seoul’s blockchain roll out
By the end of 2019, The Seoul Metropolitan Government hopes to have its part-time workers rights program running. The blockchain-powered system will allow both part-time and temporary workers to sign simple contracts with employers as well as keep track of employment histories and maintain timesheets. Furthermore, it will aid in the registration of the nation’s four major social insurance schemes. The core goal of the program is the improvement of trust between small companies and part-time workers.
In addition to the abovementioned programs, other programs were mentioned and include healthcare, donation management as well as online certificate verification.
Notably, while these blockchain services fall under the city’s control, they will be operated by private enterprises.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been in talks about the implementation of a blockchain strategy for quite some time now. Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul has been campaigning on a promise to roll out solutions for the city, and the Blockchain City Seoul Promotion Plan was announced back in October 2018.
When the project was introduced, as many as 14 blockchain administrative initiatives and a 2022 completion date were announced. An astonishing 127.3 million won was committed to the success of the plan.