Company that sued tiny South African YouTube channel for R476 million slapped with FSCA warning

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has issued a warning against GS Partners, a company linked to Gold Standard Bank — not to be confused with Standard Bank — and the G999 cryptocurrency.

“GS Partners is not licensed under any financial sector law to provide financial products or financial services in South Africa,” the regulator stated.

“It has come to the attention of the FSCA that GS Partners, also known as GSP or Gold Standard Partners (GS Partners), are soliciting investments in South Africa,” the regulator stated.

“The FSCA wishes to inform the public that several foreign jurisdictions have published warnings relating to GS Partners.”

According to the FSCA, GS Partners is not licensed under any financial sector law to provide financial products or services in South Africa.

“The FSCA is concerned about the unrealistic returns offered by GS Partners, and is conducting a preliminary investigation into its activities in South Africa,” the regulator continued.

The FSCA said it had approached GS Partners for comment and that it has until Friday, 24 November 2023, to reply.

“Without commenting on the specifics of GS Partners’ business, the FSCA points out that offering financial products or services in South Africa requires authorisation by the FSCA,” the regulator said.

The regulator went on to list links to warnings issued by nine international regulators and authorities.

These include various state, provincial, and national financial regulators in North America, such as California’s regulator, the Texas State Securities Board, Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Canadian Securities Administrators, and the British Columbia Securities Commission.

The FSCA’s warning comes years after several individuals raised the alarm about Gold Standard Bank (GSB), G999, and GS Partners, only to be met with lawsuits.

In a 2021 summons MyBroadband has seen, GSB owner and German millionaire Josip Heit, Tony De Gouveia, Bruce Hughes, Andrew Eaton, and Brendon Earp-Jones sued three South Africans for defamation and loss of income.

The three defendants — Louis Nel, Francois Harris, and Gareth Grobler — had a small YouTube channel called G-Crypt on which they discussed various crypto and blockchain-related topics.

Those familiar with South Africa’s cryptocurrency space will recognise Grobler’s name. He founded Ice3x, one of South Africa’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges. Ice3x collapsed near the start of the crypto market downturn in 2021.

Heit, De Gouveia, Hughes, Eaton, and Earp-Jones took issue with seven specific videos on the G-Crypt channel, titled:

  • Is G999 or “Gold Standard Business” a scam? | Part 1 (published Feb 6th, 2021)
  • Is G999 or “Gold Standard Business” a scam? | Part 2 (published Feb 12th, 2021)
  • Is G999 or “Gold Standard Business” a scam? | Part 3 (published Feb 23rd, 2021)
  • Is G999 or “Gold Standard Business” a scam? | Part 4 (published Mar 2nd, 2021)
  • G-Crypt Live | The one about the G999 takedown (published Feb 8th, 2021)
  • Crypto News Review with BitcoinZAR | South Africa Week 9 (published Mar 3rd, 2021)
  • G999 Intro Video Review Part 2 (published Feb 27th, 2021)

Despite the G-Crypt channel only having slightly over 31k total views and very few subscribers, the plaintiffs alleged that it was destroying their income.

Each of the offending videos got between 800 and 2,800 views.

Across the six plaintiffs including GSB, they claimed damages against Nel, Harris, and Grobler to the tune of R476.3 million. They also claimed interest on the amounts.

Nel, Harris, and Grobler filed a counter-claim to have GS Partners declared an illegal scheme. According to one of the defendants, they seemed to back off after that.

BehindMLM reported in October 2023 that YouTube took down G-Crypt.

According to the notice on the channel, the takedown was due to copyright claims from Grobler.

However, Grobler told the publication that he was impersonated and didn’t file the copyright claims. He said he was busy trying to get the G-Crypt channel and videos reinstated.

GS Partners has also reportedly gone after BehindMLM and received ex parte court orders in Ukraine and Germany.

Using these orders, it obtained an ex parte order in the United States for BehindMLM’s hosting and advertising providers (GoDaddy and Google) to disclose the identity of the person operating the website.

BehindMLM said it is fighting the case in the US.

MyBroadband contacted Heit, De Gouveia, Hughes, Eaton, and Earp-Jones for comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.


Now read: World’s biggest crypto exchange fined R80 billion — CEO steps down

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
Company that sued tiny South African YouTube channel for R476 million slapped with FSCA warning