I received a threatening email yesterday from Chinese stock promoter Tianbing “Benjamin” Wey, whose New York Global Group (“NYGG”) was closely affiliated with the failed, fraudulent Chinese hog producer AgFeed during the period under litigation by the SEC and shareholders. He did not like my mention of his relationship to AgFeed, its auditor and its executives in a recent post about AgFeed’s audit firms.
The lead audit partner on the AgFeed engagement, Ahmed Mohidin,for its first audit firm, Goldman Parks Kurland Mohidin LLP, provided accounting services to at least eight other Wey-promoted stocks through his prior firm, Kabani & Co, according to a private class action lawsuit against AgFeed, its officers, directors and audit firms by its shareholders, Lawrence Blitz v. AgFeed Industries, Inc., Goldman Kurland & Mohidin LLP, McGladrey & Pullen LLP, et al.
That lawsuit, Lawrence Blitz v. AgFeed Industries, Inc., Goldman Kurland & Mohidin LLP, McGladrey & Pullen LLP, et al, describes the close relationship between Benjamin Wey and Ahmed Mohidin as well as Wey’s relationship with several AgFeed officers/directors.
Wey invariably recommends that clients use Mohidin of Goldman. For example, Wey’s client CleanTech Innovations, Inc. was removed from the NASDAQ after it concealed some of Wey’s involvement with it. CleanTech later sued the NASDAQ, and attached as exhibits certain of its formal communications with the NASDAQ regarding Wey’s role. CleanTech stated that Wey and NYGG had introduced it to a variety of law firms and investment banks, but only one auditor: Goldman. 1558. Similarly, Wey’s clients employed Ahmed Mohidin at Goldman, or Mohidin at his previous firm, Kabani & Co. Wey’s known clients include: Bodisen Biotech, Inc. (delisted and subsequently dismissed Mohidin when it dismissed Wey);16 Deer Consumer Products, Inc. (delisted by NASDAQ for making “false and misleading disclosures” and its “involvement in a scheme to illicitly transfer corporate funds to a group of stockbrokers [i.e., Wey and his cronies] through a bogus consulting contract”); 17 Genex Pharmaceutical, Inc.;18 China Natural Gas, Inc., (restated financial results and sued by investors and the SEC for fraud); China Housing & Land Development, Inc.; 19 Shiner International, Inc.; 20 and AgFeed.15 Source: CleanTech Innovations, Inc. v. NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, Index No./653524-2011, Dkt. # 11-7, Exh. 4 (Email from William Uchimoto, counsel to CleanTech, to Michael J. Wolf of NASDAQ).16 Source: Bodisen Biotech, Inc., 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, at F-2,filed with the SEC on April 15, 2008.17 Source: Deer Consumer Products, Inc., Form 8-K filed with the SEC on October 9, 2012.18 Source: Genex Pharmaceutical, Inc., 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2004, filed with the SEC on May 16, 2005.19 Source: China Housing & Land Development, Inc., 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, at F-2, filed with the SEC on April 2, 2007.20 Source: Shiner International, Inc., 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, at F-1,
Just as Wey regularly installs Goldman as auditor, he regularly installs Defendant Staloff as a director and audit committee member or chair of Wey’s companies.60. Staloff was audit committee chair or member in Wey vehicles Smartlleat, Inc., 21 CleanTech Innovations, Inc., 22 Deer Consumer Products, Inc., 23 Shiner International, Inc., 24 and, most significantly, AgFeed. 25 As audit committee chair or member, Staloff selected the audit firm. In every single case, he made sure to hire the firm chosen by Wey because it would not challenge improper accounting, i.e., Goldman.21 Letter from Smartlleat Inc. to the SEC dated October 7, 2011, at 13.22 CleanTech Innovations, Inc., Amended 10-K filed with the SEC on September 30,2011, at 45.23 Source: Deer Consumer Products, Inc., Form 10-K for the year ended December 31,2011, at 40, filed with the SEC on March 29, 2012.24 Shiner International, Inc., Proxy Statement filed April 30, 2010 [unpaginated].25 AgFeed Industries, Inc., Amended 10-K filed April 30, 2010, at 4.
Defendant Arnold Staloff (“Staloff”) was an affiliate of stock promoter Benjamin Wey (“Wey”) and a director of AgFeed and chair of its audit committee from the time of its reverse merger in 2007 until July 5, 2010. Staloff had previously been a senior officer of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange at the time it became embroiled in a conflict-of-interest scandal involving Ashton Technologies, Inc., another Wey-affiliated company. Staloff thereafter became an affiliate of Wey, and served on the boards of many other Wey-promoted Chinese stock frauds, including SmartHeat, Inc., Shiner Intrnational, Inc., Deer Consumer Products, Inc., and CleanTech, Inc.
65. Before the Class Period, AgFeed was expressly warned by its investor relations firm regarding Wey, but did not disclose the warning to investors and did not investigate the possibility of Wey’s misconduct with respect to AgFeed. Specifically, Dixon Chen (“Chen”) of Global Consulting Group warned executives at AgFeed to distance themselves from Wey.66. In a February 4, 2008 e-mail from Chen to AgFeed’s executives, including Defendant Yan, Chen stated that “[m]any people wonder why [Wey] is not in jail for what he did to investors two years ago.” Chen also warned that Wey’s promotion of AgFeed “exposed the company to liability.”3131 Subsequently, Wey sued the maker of these statements for defamation. However, in an opinion dated May 23, 2011, Justice Sherwood of the New York State Supreme Court determined that the allegedly defamatory statements were substantially true.
Opinions have absolute immunity. Expressions of pure opinion 2 are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution on the theory that an idea or opinion cannot be said to be true or false and any harm which may be caused by an opinion can be corrected only through the competition of other ideas, and not through judicial intervention (see Epstein v Board a/Trustees, 152 AD2d 534, 535- 536 [2d Dept 1989] [letters to student newspaper criticizing a teacher’s performance were clearly assertions of opinion and therefore they were constitutionally protected, however unreasonable or erroneous they might be]; see also Restatement [Second] of Torts § 566, Comment b]).2 A pure opinion is a statement of opinion which is accompanied by a recitation of the facts upon which it is based or does not imply that it is based upon undisclosed facts (see Steinhilber v Alphonse, 68 NY2d 283, 289 ).Truth is a complete defense to defamation claims (see Fleckenstein v Friedman, 266 NY 19 ; Present v Avon Prods., 265 AD2d 183 [IS! Dept 1999]). Further, statements which are substantially true are sufficient to defeat a defamation charge (see e. g. Leibowitz v St. Luke’sRoosevelt Hosp. Ctr., 281 AD2d 350 [151 Dept 2001]). Therefore, truth as a defense need not be established to a literal degree (see Love v William Morris and Co., 193 AD2d 586 [2d Dept 1993]).
From: “Benjamin Wey” <email@example.com>
Date: April 2, 2014 at 4:15:41 PM CDT
Subject: Re: Need your comments – Publication deadline is April 3, 2014
Dear Ms. McKenna, Apart from your peaceful world, I just learned that you also write a blog. A piece here is concerning to us and we advise you to take actions to remove our names: https://francinemckenna.com/2014/02/28/a-china-fraud-dissected-part-2-agfeeds-auditors/
Since you mentioned my name and portrayed it in negative light, I need to ask you a couple of questions: 1. What is the reason and factual basis that you have, by mentioning my name in negative light? As you associated my name with a fraudulent company which frauds were connected with a racist reporter Bloomberg Dune Lawrence?
2. You mentioned that Benjamin Wey “Goldman and Mohidin will continue to have lucrative relationships with Chinese reverse merger companies so long as they satisfy Wey. Thus, where other auditors seek to cultivate a reputation for probity and independence, Goldman and Mohidin seek to cultivate Wey’s good opinion of them and their usefulness to Wey’s purposes. “who had promoted many Chinese reverse mergers, including AgFeed”? What is your factual basis for these libelous statements?
If you do not have any factual basis for your statements, I consider it libel and please take immediate actions to correct the mistake. It would go a long way towards your redemption. I am not your enemy. Please do not create a hostile environment for yourself. It is not necessary. It is up to you to remove your slanderous statement before April 3, 2014
This is the SEC complaint against individuals involved in AgFeed: http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1370541102314 As you can read through the materials on the SEC’s website, neither Benjamin Wey nor New York Global Group is a party to the SEC complaint. If would not agree to immediately remove all and any contents associated with Benjamin Wey or New York Global Group, please address the following questions since you will prominently featured, every day, in yoru(SIC) face, 360 days a year: 3. What is your relationship with a Roddy Boyd, a close friend of Dune Lawrence? As exposed in this article: http://theblot.com/roddy-boyd-exposed-journalist-manipulating-americas-companies-7715982
4. It was known that you have close friendship with con man Jon Carnes and the Jon Carnes crime family, and you have abetted his fraud. Is it true? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/regulator-alleges-fraud-by-silvercorp-short-seller/article16057626/
5. What is your relationship with Dune Lawrence? What is the basis for your statement that: “Dune Lawrence of Bloomberg wrote an excellent expose on Agfeed last Dec-ember.” Have you been involved in AgFeed in any way? What is your factual basis for calling it an “excellent expose? What independent fact checking that you have done in deriving such a conclusion?
6. Dune Lawrence has not written a single positive article about china. You rely on a chinese university for compensation. Could you explain why a fair person would not have written a single piece positive about China? You live in Beijng, apparently you have some positive views towards China. Can you explain Dune Lawrence’s odd behavior?
7. Do the President of Beijing University and the Dean of Guanghua school, whom I know, endorse your obvious anti-China stance? I would like to put their positions on the record, either through us or through Xinhua. Your comments could with a more colorful story. I am not your enemy. I am here to seek the truth. I am helping you correct your statement in your own blot. Our publication deadline is April 3, 2014. If you like reading this article, we can work on more, for you and about you: http://theblot.com/jon-carnes-crime-family-lands-2-years-prison-implicating-nasdaq-fooling-journalists-7717059
If you do not remove the false contents, have your lawyers call me. I am asking to be fair, truthful and do the right thing.
Publisher and Investigative Reporter