While online and e-Service portals for government services are a welcome offering during a pandemic (and for general convenience), the City of Cape Town…
SA entrepreneur and former Springleap founder Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, has issued several media houses with a lawyer’s letter, offering “reimbursement” to publications that remove articles that refer to his Springleap case and current startup Shopin.
The SA entrepreneur (pictured above) was charged on 24 August last year by the New York Attorney General with allegedly stealing $600,000 from investors by fraudulently soliciting investors to purchase convertible notes through false representations of his company, Springleap. If convicted of the top count charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Eyal claims he is innocent of the charges.
The case is currently being heard in the Kings Supreme Court. His last court appearance was last Thursday (19 September), with his next court appearance set for next Wednesday (2 October).
Reads the letter, dated 24 September from Attorney Jennifer A Kreder: “I kindly request that you remove or de-index the link(s) it in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalism Code of Ethics Minimise Harm principles. Although the charges have not been proven, the damage to Mr Eyal and the tech startups he tries to help has been enormous.”
Adds Kreder later in the same letter: “I do hope you will let me know if you require any additional information or reimbursement to consider this request”.
Former Springleap founder and fraud accused Eran Eyal offers “reimbursement” to media that remove articles that refer to his legal case, current startup
Ventureburn is one of at least three SA tech publications that received the letter which is dated 24 September, via email from Kreder, an attorney with a Punta Gorda, Florida address on her letterhead.
Today TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod as well as MyBroadband founder and acting editor Rudolph Muller confirmed via phone calls with Ventureburn that they had received the letter via email. Both Muller and McLeod stated they planned to ignore the takedown request.
Legal letter via Jennifer A Kreder
The letter in full reads:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing on behalf of my client Mr Eran Eyal regarding the following link(s):
As you know, Mr Eyal works with tech startups and has been involved with bitcoin technology. The New York Attorney General has been quite aggressive in going after fraud in this sector — and he does not always get it right.
Unfortunately, the Attorney General filed criminal charges against Mr Eyal. What his defense shows, however, is that the misrepresentations of which he is accused were solely the fault of Steven Gray in a precursor company to Shopin—that company is Passo. As Shopin acquired Passo’s assets, it inherited some of the unknown problems. Mr Eyal was never “removed” from the CEO position at Shopin. He has done the best he can to right the ship.
It is well known that Mr Eyal was an investor in Passo and stepped in to take over long after pilots were done and vetted by North Capital and SeedInvest in a due diligence and investment memorandum.
As far as the one case filed in relation to the pilots, both Passo and Mr Eyal were dropped from the case. He simply had absolutely nothing to do with the wrongs, which occurred before he stepped in. He was trying to save the company to make right by all investors.
I kindly request that you remove or de-index the link(s) it in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalism Code of Ethics Minimise Harm principles.
Although the charges have not been proven, the damage to Mr Eyal and the tech startups he tries to help has been enormous. He is someone who has contributed so much to our community over a 20-year career, and it is such a shame that the allegations are preventing him from continuing to do so.
Mr Eyal has sold three startups, designed sixteen mobile phones, has been awarded the United Nations World Summit Award for Innovation, and won the Techstars and AllyNYC pitch nights.
He was named as South Africa’s top 200 entrepreneurs and served as an advisor and mentor to so many people looking to follow his path. The funds he receives for this advice he contributes to CharityWater.
He donates a significant amount of funds monthly to BailProject, Greenpeace, Kabbala Centre, as well as donating his funds and time to Meals on Wheels and building a school in Senegal. He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to creatives throughout the world.
Now, he is suffering under the black cloud of the accusations. Despite his track record, they make people distrust him.
Worst of all, his 77-year-old mother has even been harassed on Facebook. The entire thing is humiliating, demoralising and depressing. I hope you may be able to provide Mr Eyal he desperately needs to continue to contribute to the world and try to recover from the false accusations.
I have confidence that he will be cleared of all wrongdoing. If I am wrong, however, there no doubt will be a new wave of press, and removing the first wave will not have caused anyone harm—just some relief.
Finally, I would like to request that you please not try to address this matter with an update. Now that SEO is so advanced, doing so would make the link more prominent in Google results when searching Mr Eyal’s unusual name. This would result in even more harm to him.
We look forward to hearing from you. I do hope you will let me know if you require any additional information or reimbursement to consider this request. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Jennifer A Kreder
Attorney at Law
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Editor’s note (25 September): We updated the story to make clear that former Springleap founder Eran Eyal’s fraud case is ongoing, with the next court date set for 2 October. His last court appearance was on 19 September.
Featured image: Springleap founder and fraud-accused Eran Eyal (Facebook)