A court in Luleå, Sweden granted the right to Swedish attorney Lars Olofsson to proceed with the case against Meta Platforms Inc. META CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The lawsuit argues that the Facebook platform has a responsibility for its role in a recent marijuana investment scheme, JucyFields.
According to Olofsson, the rapid decision by the court, in just 36 hours of the filing, is already a “massive win” that will “send a message to the others we have in our legal path that we are proceeding ahead, full steam, with other cases in the meantime.”
The alleged pyramid scam guaranteed 66% returns in three months, but suddenly froze all cash withdrawals and deleted its accounts from social media.
The fraud, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, caught Olofsson’s attention. The attorney is now planning to file a class action lawsuit against several social and news media platforms, which he says helped forward the scheme.
“I'm now taking legal actions against Facebook, Google GOOGL, CNN, and YouTube, to begin with,” Olofsson told Green Market Report at the time. “All of them have allowed JuicyFields to expose themselves on their platforms or magazines, and not just normal accounts but paid ads.”
Olofsson also plans to target the German, Dutch, Swiss and Cyprus governments for "a gross lack of their financial authorities, having not seen what was going on."
There were some 125,000 investor accounts on the platform at the time it collapsed, exposing the reality of fraud. Olofsson is representing roughly 800 plaintiffs though he says the $2 billion-$2.5 billion in those 125,000 accounts is probably long gone.
“I know they have run away with the money,” Olofsson said.
Tech Giants, What About Due Diligence?
Olofsson seems to be setting a precedent by going after tech giants for due diligence concerning illicit operations run by their clients, advertisers and affiliates. He is going after media and bank giants, which also profited from JucyField's illegal operations, and in a way, made it possible.
“Large corporations have done no due diligence on who they have done business with, banks have massively failed in their compliance, and government authorities have not seen what was going on right before their eyes,” Olofsson said. “On top of that, several high-profile individuals who have been advocating about cannabis legalization and ‘cleaning up’ the cannabis industry have been on the payroll of JuicyFields and been paid far more than usual consulting fees”
Going After Zuckerberg
Meta’s first data center outside of the U.S. was established in 2011, in Luleå, just within the Arctic circle, covering “about a billion Facebook and Instagram users, which includes most of my clients,” Olofsson said. “The argument is that this is the place where the crime was committed. It is via these servers that my clients have been exposed to JuicyFields’ fraud.”
“The main marketing was done through social media where they communicated with possible investors and created groups where they could interact between each other and create a sense of community and also recommend others to come along and make an investment,” reads the lawsuit,
Olofsson argues that Zuckerberg was highly negligent as Meta CEO, failing to supervise who was using the company’s platforms. Further, it claims that his negligent behavior was a violation of the company’s own terms of service, which is considered a crime under Sweden’s penal codes on fraud. Violation of such statutes carries a mandatory sentence of two to six years.
He also noted that subsequent lawsuits are to be filed both in Sweden and internationally. The attorney, previously revealed that even though the investigation is challenging, to say the least, it has already successfully identified 70 individuals, 60 banks, and 40 companies associated with JucyFields' operations and advertising.
“I have tons of info about many companies, individuals, and government authorities who have failed in their responsibility or facilitated for JuicyFields to be able to do sales and marketing," Olofsson said. "And the scam [has been] going on for more than two years. This includes a large number of banks.”
Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons, and Billion Photos and Yarygin by Shutterstock
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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