Moneylife - Linkedin Moneylife - Facebook Moneylife - Twitter Moneylife - Youtube Moneylife Rss feed
close

Moneylife » Life » Public Interest » Forbes magazine's strange activism on behalf of the shady MLM QNet

Forbes magazine's strange activism on behalf of the shady MLM QNet

Moneylife Digital Team | 20/12/2012 06:07 AM | 

A blog published by the international magazine Forbes on the founder of QNet, a notorious multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme, has been touted by agents of the company as a blue-chip endorsement. Now the same writer goes a step further to defend them by attacking Moneylife’s stance on the dodgy scheme. Not surprisingly, QNet, which refused to answer direct questions posed by Moneylife, appears to have provided detailed answers to this writer

Donald Frazier, a writer at Forbes, has done it again. This time, he endorses QNet, a typical MLM scheme, which has been luring hundreds of thousands Indians the same way Speak Asia did, while attacking Moneylife. The endorsement contains answers to specific queries raised by us. What is astonishing is that Frazier claims not to have met any detractors of QNet. Here is the latest on Forbes’ endorsement of a dubious operation that our Ministry of Corporate Affairs and its Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) are claiming to investigate.

The blog by Frazier on the website of Forbes Asia has repeatedly found mention in the comments section of Moneylife’s many articles on QNet as a credible endorsement of the scheme and its Malaysian-born promoter, Vijay Eswaran. The comments, ostensibly from independent representatives (IRs) of QNet, seek to allay the fears of potential victims of the scheme. When Moneylife tweeted the India editor of Forbes magazine to find out if it really was endorsing QNet, our articles were apparently brought to Frazier’s attention.

Since then, Frazier has tried to draw Moneylife into a dialogue and attempted to get us to supply him with a list of QNet detractors—something no self-respecting journalist ought to do. Now he has published a bigger endorsement of QNet, which, strangely enough, has Moneylife and its managing editor as its centrepiece. Does this mean that Moneylife’s investigation into the Singapore-registered QNet’s obviously shady business is hitting home? Read on for details.

Frazier’s latest blog starts with the strange premise that he invited Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation, to use his blog as a “neutral site” for providing information on QNet. This is strange because Moneylife is an e-paper, in competition with Forbes, and we have posted several articles about QNet, which detail our standpoint. Frazier, however, seems confused about the difference between media entities and a shady corporate entity that would need his blog—either as a friendly or hostile site—to post views.

Mr Frazier also claimed that “She (Ms Dalal) also opted to not identify self-professed ‘victims’ of QNet who, she says, came out in one of her for-pay seminars in Mumbai a few weeks ago." This is interesting because Moneylife Foundation’s seminar was attended by two senior officers from the government’s SFIO who not only heard the victims but also participated in the discussion. There was an audience of over 50 persons that day.

He then goes on to pick up some direct and specific questions that Moneylife had posed to Zaheer Merchant, QNet’s director for corporate communications. Mr Merchant has yet to respond to us directly, but apparently made time to give Frazier a point-by-point reply.   Ironically, the answers only prove our point that QNet’s reaction to our writings—way back in 2009—were to immediately offer an all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong to Ms Dalal to “check out their operations”. It is not clear why an MLM selling holiday packages, watches and trinkets globally needs to fly journalists to Hong Kong. Mr Merchant says that many journalists accepted QNet’s invitation—it would be interesting to get a list of names, because analysing their writings on QNet, before and after visiting Hong Kong, would establish the impact of the trip.

The emails between Mr Frazier and Ms Dalal that are self explanatory...

On 3 December 2012, Mr Frazier wrote...

Dear Ms. Dalal -
 
Greetings, and I hope you are well.
 
You've apparently been much more successful than I have in finding detractors of QNet.  Last week I sent you a message with a greater idea: what if you were to summarize all of the allegations of unsavory and illegal behavior by the company?  I would run it in my column in Forbes, and demand that QNet answers them publicly.
 
I should post a column on reactions to the story anyway.  I can get answers to all of your questions, helping your readers and mine.
 
Here's the link:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/donaldfrazier/2012/10/24/selling-a-better-life/ (Originally in Forbes Asia's print edition for November.)
 
I hope to do this is a few days; please reply so that I know you received this,


On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Dear Mr Frazier

Greetings and many thanks for your email. I guess you have written to me because everybody lured by QNet is quoting the "positive" coverage that QNet received from Forbes.
 
I am not sure you know, but we run a magazine (smaller than Forbes, certainly, but we are in the publication business). Our website www.moneylife.in has a big reach and our e-magazine goes out to over 75,000 people every day.  

I am not sure why WE should summarise anything for YOU to publish in your BLOG. Completely flummoxed by the suggestion. Wouldn't it be far better if you were to visit our website, search for QNet and find everything we have to say on the matter for yourself?

If you are truly saying that you have not found anyone with anything negative to say about QNet, I can only say that you have not looked hard enough. We had several people at our seminar in Mumbai who would have happily provided details. Maybe a visit to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office in Mumbai or the police in Hyderabad will also help you get information.

I trust this is useful.


On 4 December 2012 Mr Frazier replied...

Hi Ms Dalal, and many thanks for your prompt, substantive note.
 
Yes, I was quite surprised to find my story commonly described as an ‘endorsement,’ as if coverage of any company confers a quasi-official ‘seal of approval’ on its activities.  Mainly, given our focus on individual entrepreneurs at Forbes, it’s a story about the ascent of QNet’s founder who, you gotta admit, has indeed become rich and famous this way.
 
I’ve just discovered Moneylife.  Your creation?  I think its mixture of news coverage, commentary, blogging, tweeting and events could very well point the way for the future of journalism—at least in India, where the Jain brothers et al seem to be far in advance of the West in breaking down old conventions.  I love its energetic tone of righteous indignation!
 
To answer your question, I thought you might prefer to assemble these various charges because that would give you a more cohesive, harder-hitting document. (Must confess: I also thought you might have fun with the confronting Qnet directly in my space.)
 
But no worries:  I’ll take your advice, by gathering the disparaging references from Moneylife, your blog, your twitter feed etc, and running them in one document, and asking QNet to reply.  I’ll be sure to attribute them to you. But some of these are more like allusions.  For example, consider a twitter reply of 19 November, by a Ritesh Anand?@Rites40: @suchetadalal “Mam I am a direct victim of QuestNet/Goldquest, really want to kill those bastards, All these MLM are pure fraud.” Great copy, but it doesn’t give us as lot of information to go on.
 
(BTW I’m not a blogger—all of my stories for Forbes and Forbes Asia are for the paid print operation and subject to the same fact-checking, editing and so on. Forbes corporate uses the blogging platform to post everything they publish—no wonder you got the wrong impression.)
 
I’d be delighted to feature the people from your seminar in Mumbai.  Bring them on!
 
I’ll do this over the next few days; please feel free to forward anything you’d like me to add to the mix.
 
Cheers – and thanks again for inspiring what will be a spirited dialogue.



On the same day, Ms Dalal replied, saying...

Greetings Mr Frazier...
 
Moneylife—our website also collates authentic information and cross checks it with the police, serious frauds office and government ministries.

Just for your information, we will not collate uninformed comments on Twitter or Facebook and use them in our reports or stories. Also, just by way of background, Debashis Basu (editor & founder of Moneylife) and I have over 27 years of journalistic experience, mainly in India's mainline press. So it’s not a little fun blog—and the “righteous indignation” you speak of is borne out of close observation of the Indian business scenario.

So no, we won’t “bring it on" .. We think each of us ought to do our own research and our own writing. Many thanks for your offer.


There are other things that the Forbes columnist apparently failed to notice when he was trawling the internet for Twitter feeds and comments. QNet and its IRs or sales agents specialise in creating duplicate domain names to manipulate search engines like Google. Moneylife had a firsthand experience of this. Maybe Mr Frazier should check this link: http://forbesmagazineqnet.1672098.free-press-release.com/.

Another result that appears on Google bears the title "Forbes Asia - Official QNet Blog – Qnet” (yes, the QNet people have used Forbes Asia as their page title!) The entry on this blog page says, "Vijay Eswaran in Forbes Philanthropy Heroes List!" Do we, or Mr Frazier, need more proof that shows how his article in Forbes is being misused by QNet to endorse its ‘business’?

QNet has done this to Moneylife as well. Check out moneylife.qnetlife.in and moneylife.qnetlife.net, which is clearly the handiwork of the QNet team and designed to mislead. Finally, here is a first-person account from a well-known television journalist, Ashu Dutt, on how he and his family became a victim of QNet. He sent this to Mr Frazier with a copy to us…

Donald:

I got your reference from Sucheta Dalal. As a backgrounder I was the Chief Consulting Editor of Bloomberg TV and ET Now, Editor and Senior Anchor at CNBC-TV18 and Senior Anchor at NDTV/Star News. I am also a bestselling author of over a dozen books. So I hope this provides you with credibility in terms of a "detractor".

QI/QNet/QuestNet/GoldQuest/Faith Network is not just a fraud, but they lure women to break away from their families and then go after the family money. My own wife fell into this trap. I have 3 little children and she has put their future in jeopardy. They first lured her into their web using hypnotists (their Mumbai kingpin, Manjunath Hegde, is a hypnotist and they proudly declare him to be a "master of the mind". The network in Mumbai is run through another cult-like organization called "Faith Network".

Once this was done, they got her to put money from our house and relatives. Then they told her to kidnap our children and run away to Thailand (my kids are US and Thai citizens). Fortunately, Indian immigration stopped her from going to Thailand.

This is my story. I can tell you that there are hundreds of Indian families that have been ruined by these people. In Mumbai, they use hypnotism and cult-like practices (wearing white clothes with blue pendants).

Once they trap the women, they go after their wealth. My wife has now gone on to take over our assets by changing directors and doing all kinds of illegal corporate stuff guided by QI kingpins.

This is my personal experience and I come from your fraternity. I must say I was very dismayed to see a magazine of your standing put out an article about people who use hypnosis and destroy families.

QNet openly uses your article to mislead people. While it may just be an article for you, hundreds of homes have been destroyed. People are being sold Ponzi schemes in a country where the level of financial literacy and understanding of legal rights is very poor.

Hope you will do something to correct this distorted picture

Regards
Ashu Dutt

 


Post Comment

More in Moneylife

Ancient Indian wisdom and our myopic science +7168 views

TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Post your Comment


Alert me when new comment is posted on this article
 Please read our Moderation Policy and Terms of Use before posting


VIDEOS

Moneylife Foundation launches Legal Helpline and Resource Centre

LATEST COMMENT

I learn Bajaj Allianz life also resorting to MLM even though not as blatantly as Reliance. It is better if IRDA k.. ANANTHA NARAYANAN

MORE

Supreme Court asks BCCI to probe IPL case Moneylife Digital Team

Energy drinks allowed to increase caffeine content to ‘dangerous’ level Moneylife Digital Team

Comment

189 Comments
jitu moni

jitu moni 5 days ago

http://www.moneylife.in/article/qnet-eow...

QNet: EOW seizes documents from Vanmala's 'hidden' office

Moneylife Digital Team | 12/04/2014 06:13 PM |

After being named as accused in the Rs425 crore QNet scam, Vanmala shifted its office to undisclosed location. However, the EOW raided this secret hideout and seized important documents about the MLM operations of QNet

Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police has raided a little known or 'hidden' office of Vanamala Hotels, Travels & Tourism Services Pvt Ltd, an associate of QNet India. The EOW has seized documents and computers used by Vanmala related with its vacation holiday packages sold to customers of QNet in India, say sources.

Vanamala had its office at Trade Centre in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). However, the tourism services provider shifted its office to an unknown location when it was named as an accused in the first information report in the Rs425 crore QNet multi-level marketing (MLM) scam.

Vanmala shifted its office to Lower Parel from BKC. However it kept the new address hidden even from its submissions in the court. Daryl Patrick Bisset, the chief executive of Vanmala has been found avoiding EOW and not forthcoming since past few months, the sources added.

During the investigation into the QNet scam, it was revealed that majority of the victims across the country were sold the "Holiday & Vacation Packages" from Vanmala.

In February 2014, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India, registered a case in the Rs425 crore QNet scam for money laundering.

The ED has named QNet Ltd from Hong Kong, its official franchisee Vihaan Direct Selling Pvt Ltd, Vijay Eswaran, the founder of QI group and three other independent representatives (IRs) of QNet from Mumbai.

In a media statement, QNET called the money-laundering probe by ED against it as 'allegations that are preposterous and completely baseless'.

Reply »Link » Report abuse
X
gurupreet

gurupreet 5 days ago

Vanamala/QNET runs away from Mumbai...

This is the message that was posted on http://www.vanamala-india.com recently...

Dear Members,

Due to service disruptions on our current hotlines, please refer to the following number should you have any queries: 0008006001144 or email us at customercare@vanamala-india.com

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Is it a 'Simple" Disruption or there is more then meets the eye..The truth is their offices were raided by the EOW..effectively shutting down the whole operations of Vanamala in Mumbai.

The last time this message was posted after Vanamala's Payment gateways were blocked..

Important Announcement regarding Payment Gateway - INR Payments
Dear members,

We are experiencing problems with our Payment Gateway system. As such, please refrain from using it with immediate effect.

To know the alternate modes of payment you can use, please contact our Customer Experience Ambassadors at
+91-22-6139-9500 and they will assist you accordingly. Thank you.

The above mentioned PRI Line number +91-22-6139-9500 has also become un-operational

How good these white collared criminals are at sugar coating the real truth...Raids become "disruptions"...blocking becomes "problems"...shame on you all white collared criminals, you all should be tried for treason for your anti national activities.

Reply »Link » Report abuse
X
gurupreet

gurupreet 2 weeks ago

EOW RAIDS QNET SYSTEM MEETING IN MUMBAY BEING CONDUCTED BY "MR.BIJOY MATEHWS"..TEAM LEADER OF QNET.

This Morning QNET team Leaders had organised a Seminar/System at the following address and invited innocent people to induce them into this illegal money circulation scheme..the system was held at the following address:

Youthapreneurs Training Center, 605, Alpana Bldg, Opp Sarvoday Hospital, LBS Marg, Ghatkopar (W), Mumbai - 86

During the raid Mr.Bijoy Mathews was caught red handed promoting the illegal money circulation scheme in presence of 45 Odd people.

Ironically this Mr.Bijoy Mathews is the same person who has had cooled his heels in the jail for more then 20 days in the past for the same offence.

The officers of EOW detained and questioned several people and names and contact details of 47 people were noted down :)

I am sure the records of the activity today will lead to the cancellation of the bail of several team leaders of QNET.

Let me mention here that a similar activity was done by the EOW several months back when QNET leaders were holding a system meeting in Dadar, Mumbai and details were noted down. These details led to the arrest of Nine qnet leaders earlier.

So guys any guess who all will be arrested now after today's raid/activity?

Best guesses will win prizes ;)

Keep posting/replying...

Regards
Gurupreet

P.S Tomorrow is the Hindi New Year so my msg to QNET "Happy New Year" in advance...

After the ABA of your people are cancelled we will get the bails also cancelled wait and see...

Reply »Link » Report abuse
X
gurupreet

gurupreet 2 months ago

"One man with courage is a majority."

Reply »Link » Report abuse
X
gurupreet

gurupreet 2 months ago

********** Appeal **********

Dear Friends,

As the fight comes to the crucial stage we need some more info inputs from you all, I hope you will all come forward as in the past and help us.

We need the following information:-

1. Details of events/systems etc held in different cities by members of quesetnet/qnet/vihaan etc with dates and name of the venue, with photographs & Videos if available.

2. Names and IR,s numbers of the top leaders of Questnet/QNET all over India.

3. Details of these leaders like the house addresses, cars owned etc.

Please email us all the details on gurupreet@gmail.com

STOP THE SCAM
BE THE CHANGE

Jai Hind
Guru

Reply »Link » Report abuse
X
Daily Newsletter

1,00,000 Readers

Follow Moneylife
DNL facebook icon DNL linked in icon DNL twitter icon DNL youtube icon DNL rss icon
Moneylife Magazine

What's your say?

With the Supreme Court ruling, do you think the govt should scrap its Aadhaar project?
Yes
No
Can't Say
 
Enter Code : secure code
    change code
VOTE

What you said

Who will be the next PM of India?

Thanks for casting your votes! View Previous Polls