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Roger Buckley and Lars Beitnes have threatened legal action against the FPA

Discussion in 'Scoundrels' started by AsstModerator, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. AsstModerator

    AsstModerator FPA Forums and Reviews Admin

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    It started out as a simple claim that a connection between a person named in a review and the company was an error. Here's the message...

    "Legal matter

    Dear Sirs,
    My client, Mr Lars Beitnes the owner of Aston Invest has been incorrectly named and implicated in this blog:

    http://www.forexpeacearmy.com/public/review/www.astonmarkets.com

    This is merely due to a name similarity to a fraudulent company. This has caused much unsolicited attention for Mr Beitnes and we would like to seek immediate removal from the website. We would also like to seek information on the individual who posted the entry in on the blog. Please advise on this procedure.

    Regards,

    Roger Buckley
    "

    Even though the item started with "Legal matter", I decided to not implement the usual protocol for dealing with legal threats. I was hoping things could proceed peacefully. Instead, I had a staff member send a quick reply while I began checking the claim. I've learned from multiple experiences that a claim of a person not being associated with a bad company may or may not be true.

    "Hello,

    Can you please let us know which Aston websites Mr. Beitnes is or has been associated with?

    Regards,
    FPA Forums Team
    "

    If Roger could provide other domain names, that might help me check IPs and other registration details against the the details of AstonForex.com and AstonMarkets.com. So far, my research showed that Lars owned several companies with Aston in the name, but I had no definitive proof regarding whether the accusation of him being linked to AstonForex.com and AstonMarkets.com was true or false.

    Either way, Roger's answer below didn't bring me any new clues...

    "Dear Sirs,

    Mr Beitnes has not been associated with any website containing the name or brand Aston. Furthermore, Mr Beitnes is not involved, nor ever was involved in any Fx related business. We are happy to provide a letter to this effect from Mr Beitnes’ legal counsel confirming these facts. Please advise how slanderous erroneous post can be removed from the blog at your earliest convenience.

    Yours sincerely


    Best regards,
    Roger G. Buckley
    Group Chief Operations Officer
    WhiteNovember.com
    "

    I decided to check out WhiteNovember.com. Roger had said Lars was his client. The "client" is the director of White November. I suggested getting more info on this while I kept doing research...

    "Hello,

    Before proceeding, Is there some reason why you identified the director of White November Corporate Services as a client? This seems unusual.

    Regards,
    FPA Forums Team
    "

    Under the circumstances, I felt this was a very reasonable question. Roger didn't seem to agree. His next message was CCed to Lars and Daniel...

    "Dears sirs,
    I am acting on behalf of Mr Beitnes and have a power of Attorney to act on behalf of all his affairs, and the affairs of the Aston Group, which is the holding company. Mr Beintes is the owner of White November, a licensed and regulated corporate service provider in three European jurisdictions.

    I have now included Dr Daniel Attard, a lawyer on behalf of Mr Beitnes' and have given him instructions to quickly escalate this matter should you not take this complaint seriously. I expect a reply and resolution to this matter by Friday afternoon.

    Why are you not taking this formal complaint seriously and providing some kind of remedial solution?

    Yours sincerely,
    "

    Since Roger claimed to gave given the lawyer "instructions to quickly escalate this matter should you not take this complaint seriously. I expect a reply and resolution to this matter by Friday afternoon.", I intepreted that as a direct legal threat against the Forex Peace Army if I did not meet Roger's demands. I decided it was time to address him directly...

    "Hello Roger,

    I'm in charge of the FPA's forms and reviews. I was looking into how best to handle that review while my staff talked to you.

    It looks to me like you just make a legal threat against the FPA over 3rd party content. As a site which accepts reviews, I cannot allow anyone to seize control over what reviewers and forums members can and cannot say by using threats of lawyers and lawsuits.

    I now require that your threat be permanently and irrevocably lifted by 5 PM New York time on Monday, February 8th, 2016.

    I suggest you take a moment to read these links...

    http://www.forexpeacearmy.com/commu...me-or-my-company-or-i-will-sue-the-fpa.42833/

    http://www.forexpeacearmy.com/community/threads/how-the-fpa-handles-legal-threats.25458/

    I just put someone in the Scoundrel's folder over a lawsuit threat yesterday. I prefer not to have to do that again any time soon.

    Best regards,
    Bill K.
    FPA
    "

    I was already trying to figure out a reasonable approach which would protect both Lars' interests as well as the interests of FPA readers, but Roger's attempt to force things left me no choice but to lay out the consequences of his actions. Most of the time, the clear warning that the FPA publicizes threats is enough to make someone retract the threat and engage in a civilized discussion.
     
  2. AsstModerator

    AsstModerator FPA Forums and Reviews Admin

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    Instead of retracting the legal threat, Roger chose to deny the threat existed...

    "Dear Bill K.,

    There was no legal threat so absolutely nothing will be revoked from my precious email. I have however now included a legal counsel to seek any remedial action possible to this situation. If you have misunderstood the content of the email, I suggest re-examining the content.

    I cannot understand why a website would allow the personal details of a private individual to be posted based on a false assumption and speculation.

    Rather than send any additional pedantic time wasting emails I would greatly appreciate if you would give us an answer as to whether this slanderous completely false post against a private individual can be removed or not.

    I do not accept any petty threats to put me in a 'Scoundrel's' list, and should you wish to make this email chain public that is fine by me but it will just be a reflection of poor ethics.

    I am convinced the purpose of your website is to stop genuine fraud, and am confident that common sense and professionalism will prevail, and therefore Mr Beintes' name will be removed.

    Yours sincerely,
    "

    and then he sent a followup message which was only said...

    "Ps Bill K.- ironically it is Mr Beitnes and his holding company that have been subjected to legal threats as a result of your website contents, hence the request for removal. "

    Situations like this are one of the reasons I always deal with disputes by email, not the phone. It's easy after a phone call to try to claim something was misunderstood or taken out of context. With email messages, every word and phrase is available for easy verification.

    Like the messages before, I replied all. I could tell that dealing with Roger would lead to an inevitable place in the Scoundrel's folder. I wanted Lars to have a chance to fix the situation Roger had created. My reply...

    "Hello Roger,

    You threatened to have a lawyer "quickly escalate this matter" if the issue was not dealt with to your satisfaction in a very short period of time. If that isn't a legal threat, I'm curious to know what sort of escalation you had in mind. I don't believe you were referring to Danial and I having a pleasant chat about resolving the issue while riding an escalator.

    I have been spending time researching this issue while my staff was dealing with you. In case you hadn't noticed, there are tens of thousands of reviews and forums posts. Do you really think I have a team of hundreds to launch a full scale legal investigation of each post before it goes up? If I have to waste my time dealing with your "escalation via lawyer, but allegedly not a legal threat". I'm not going to have time to check any of your claims. I doubt you would bother to read them, but I could quickly point to some places in the site where strong claims that a post at the FPA was false ended with those posts proving to be factual.

    I believe the best option at this point would be for you and Daniel to permanently exit this conversation. Your methods are doing your client/boss more harm than good.

    Bill


    Hello Lars,

    Perhaps you would like to discuss this issue in a civilized manner? I do not believe Roger is the person to handle this task.

    Ironically, if Roger's most recent claim is correct, a simple removal may not even be in your best interests, Anyone going after you would probably already have screenshots. It would be very easy for an outside observer to suspect the FPA was bribed or blackmailed into hiding the information. The FPA doesn't take bribes or submit to blackmail, but some people will make up stories to fit their own worldview. If someone can use a 3rd party post to support an accusation, then proof the post ever existed might also be admissible. There's also the second place the information occurs which seems to have been overlooked by your staff. I'll need to talk to you about the legal threats he says you are currently facing as well as to ask you a few questions to be certain I'm making the correct decisions and alterations.

    The FPA has a policy of never removing or changing one word while under anything even resembling a legal threat. Roger's overly-aggressive words do mean I'll need you to state for the record that any and all legal threats against the FPA over 3rd party content are permanently and irrevocably withdrawn. If that is done, I believe it should be possible for the two of us to work towards a solution.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best regards,
    Bill
    "

    There was no answer. If possible, I didn't want to have Lars pay the price Roger's aggressive behavior, I sent a followup...

    "Hello Lars,

    I am wondering if you plan to write back or not. Leaving Roger's threat of escalation via lawyer on the table and expecting no action from the FPA side is not an option.

    Since I am a nice guy and believe in second chances, I can extend the deadline until 5 PM New York time on Tuesday. Please be aware that I do not believe in third chances.

    Best regards,
    Bill
    "

    I was offering to help Lars out if he'd just correct the error Roger made. I found Roger's claim that a review by an FPA reader was somehow leading to legal threats bizarre. I strongly suspect that it's a fabrication to try to gain sympathy. If it is true, then I correctly pointed out that making the information disappear might not help.

    My plan was to get Lars to retract the threat, then examine any possible threats made in reference to the review. Then I would have been happy to insert a note that careful research has not been able to establish a link between Lars and AstonForex/AstonMarkets. I would have stated that it was very possible the reviewer made a mistake based on Lars owning other companies with Aston in the name.

    This time Lars decided to take time out of his busy schedule to reply. His reply was not what I had hoped for to get this issue resolved...

    "Hi Bill

    Sorry for my late reply, but I am not the right person to push on tight deadlines due to an Incredible work load...

    I won’t go after you legally, SUBJECT TO you removing all posts on all your blogs where my name is mentioned, with immediate effect.

    I have never made a single fx deal in my entire life and find this situation absurd…!

    I hope you feel protected by the above confirmation and will move ahead with your actions with immediate effect.

    Failing to do so you force me to change my approach, which I hesitate to do, in good faith.

    Please let me know your full name and number and I can call you to discuss the matter in a cordial manner.

    Best regards
    Lars
    "

    All I needed was for Lars to lift the legal threat. Then we could probably have gotten this resolved. Instead, as you can see, he lectured me about setting deadlines and offered to lift the threat only if I complied with his demands. He also wanted to take this to a phone call, which was not going to happen.

    I tried one last time to salvage the situation...

    "Hello Lars,

    I suggest reading back through the whole set of emails. Roger is the one who started setting tight deadlines and mine were much more generous than his. I also have a very busy work schedule. Dealing with legal blackmail designed to force me to hide information takes up time I could be spending checking to see what should or should not be done about the information. It also cuts into time I have available to help traders recover money stolen by some of the worst criminal brokerages out there. If you didn't want to face time pressure, you should have told Roger to handle the situation less aggressively..

    "I promise not to sue you if you agree to fully and immediately comply with my demands first." is equivalent to "I will sue you if you do not comply with my demands." The FPA does not negotiate while under legal threat. If the threat is lifted, all negotiations are always conducted in writing.

    Based on what Roger has said, I've already explained that removal is very likely to be the wrong step - assuming Roger's claim is true. I would need to have more information about these claimed legal issues the post is causing you in order to make a decision on how best to handle the situation. Since you didn't provide this information yet, I've begun taking steps to try to verify Roger's claim.

    I still need the legal threat for all 3rd party content to be permanently and irrevocably lifted. Permanent and irrevocable means without any pre-conditions making such a statement into another poorly disguised legal threat. Otherwise, the threats you and Roger have made will be publicized. Since you were kind enough to at least reply, I can give you until Thursday at 5 PM New York time. There will be no further extensions.

    Best regards,
    Bill

    P.S. Daniel, I'm surprised you didn't inform Roger and Lars about Section 230 of the CDA.
    "

    As you can see, getting threatened with a tight deadline leaves me no sympathy for the other side to complain about deadlines I set. I work long and hard at the FPA, so why should Lars get exemptions from deadlines when his employees feel free to give deadlines to the FPA?

    I also clearly explained how he had failed to properly lift the threat. I was even nice enough to give him 2 extra days to do so. The deadline passed over 10 hours ago and I have heard nothing new from Lars.

    Again, I don't know if Lars has any relationship to Aston Forex or Aston Markets. I do know that he's been involved with some other companies which have Aston in the name. Is him being named in a review and a forums post which Roger missed a grave injustice because of a coincidence of names, or is the accusation true? I don't know. I do know that not one word has ever been removed from the FPA due to a legal threat.

    I believe that if what Roger told me about someone else legally threatening Lars is true, then making the post disappear instead of adding more information would have been the best choice. To try to confirm this, I added a note to the AstonMarkets.com review page at the FPA asking anyone planning legal action against any person named in that review to contact the FPA. So far, no one has.

    Instead, both Roger and Lars made what I consider to be clear legal threats if the FPA did not remove the information. I consider this to be nothing more than an attempt at legal blackmail to control content on the FPA site. I personally consider anyone who is determined to keep trying to do this after being warned to be a scoundrel. I believe I gave Roger and Lars more than enough opportunities to avoid this happening.

    CDA 130 gives websites protection against liability for 3rd party posts. Without it, all anyone would have to do is yell "lawyer" to hide online information like reviews and forums posts.

    This thread includes items I've written, so those parts don't fall under CDA 130. The FPA is an online publisher. I fully believe that publicly reporting an incident like this one in the Scoundrel's folder and adding my comments is covered by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as both freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
     
    paulm1162 likes this.
  3. IrwanI

    IrwanI Master Sergeant

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    Great Job FPA!
     
  4. bowwow1

    bowwow1 Recruit

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    Good show FPA! I say, jolly good show!
     
  5. Thandi Martin

    Thandi Martin Private, 1st Class

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    I like the professional manner in which you deal with the bullies' and scoundrels' aggressive approach to resolving problems.Keep up the good work.
     
  6. Geordie

    Geordie Recruit

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    This sort of pompous posturing makes me wonder if Mr Beitnes had a previous career in politics. They present statements without any verifiable facts. They simply threaten. Your response is one of the many reasons why FPA is such a valuable resource. I'd also like to say keep up the good work, it's appreciated.
     
  7. ruseneca

    ruseneca Master Sergeant

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    FPA always acts profesionally in situations like this one. I just want to advise leaving the other party to actually escalate the matter, this is the first step to do when it comes to resolving an issue. A well-known fact: you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide! In this case, it seems that the above-mentioned man tries to hide something. I know the story behind Aston Markets ( I've read it many times ), the domain names do not lead to a content...everything has gone. There are only a few skeletons in the closet that need to be thrown away. What people usually do is keeping them in the closet because they know the past better than us, witnesses which are more valuable than relics. Therefore, FPA should directly address the "legal escalation" rather than losing time in writing emais. What's more, FPA staff is not responsible for the reviews posted here, negative or possitive.
     
  8. paulm1162

    paulm1162 Sergeant

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    BRAVO to the FPA, keep up the excellent work
     
  9. novatrice1

    novatrice1 Private, 1st Class

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    Thank you for this email and this remarkable work.
    While time pimp for active traders we keep an eye
     
  10. FxMaster

    FxMaster Lt. Colonel

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    Its called dedication :) keep it up :)
     

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