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Saturday, March 25th, 2023, 6:16 am

Police Needs to Intervene in the Sirius ‘Open Source’ Scandal

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ is collapsing, but that does not mean that it can dodge accountability for crimes (e.g. money that it silently stole from its staff since at least 12 years ago)

A SCREENSHOT of the PDF from Standard Life was shared here (with sensible redaction) a few days ago. Things are belatedly progressing.

This post has taken a long time to prepare as we need to separate gossip/speculation from verified facts. Standard Life also claims to be pursuing the facts (since the 7th of March). As per their own update: “Dear Dr Schestowitz, I have attached our acknowledgement to your complaint. [...] If you’ve any questions, or problems accessing your acknowledgement, please email me at [redacted] and I’ll do all I can to help you.”

They’ve basically been looking into how on Earth the company (Sirius) was claiming to be paying into Standard Life accounts that don’t even exist!

The simplest explanation is, Sirius engaged in embezzlement. The management was contacted several times, being kindly offered the opportunity to explain what actually happened. Each and every time the response was schtum. For reasons we detailed here before, litigation seems imminent. Class action lawsuit is also likely, though the company is in hiding. Staff that actively oversaw and participated in the embezzlement is criminally liable, even if leaving the company later. They’ve been made aware of this (fraud, theft, forgery/embezzlement among the possible charges). Failing that, or in addition to that, pension providers can be sued. We’ll explain the legal grounds some other day.

What does this have to do with Techrights? Sirius is describing itself as Britain’s most respected and best established Open Source business.

If this is what the “most respected and best established” boils down to, then there’s serious trouble. Sirius is a major liability and a stain. This isn’t the company I joined more than 12 years ago. “You need to lie to keep your job” or “take one for the team” or “do something unethical/illegal to keep your salary” is the hallmark or symptom of criminal management, which needs to be prosecuted, not served (except served papers). I confronted the management many times before leaving (for over a year!) and nothing improved. They kept paying the salary, but behaviour only worsened over time, so I reached out to a friend.

Suffice to say, you need not be particularly charismatic to persuade workers whom you pay to also do bad things, acting out of fear (obedience for a payment). During a pandemic and financial crises (exacerbated by invasion of Ukraine) it gets even easier for bad people to compel workers to act unethically. This is a recipe for disaster.

Internally, as noted here back in December, I had circulated communications to try to ameliorate things amicably. But regarding my letters, however, they never wrote anything back. The attitude was to simply ignore the issues and to ignore the reporter. At one point I mused that I could joke with the boss, “so how has that secret money from Bill Gates worked out for you, eh?” Does one reckon that if the CEO goes to prison, Bill Gates will go visit him in prison? It’s closer than the facility Jeffrey Epstein was in when Gates visited him. As far as we know, the CEO is in Spokane area/WA somewhere (not too far from Seattle). He is hiding there, possibly not just from workers but also former wives.

Anyway, E-mails to the CEO are now bouncing. It’s a company that’s not functioning, lacks the staff to actually meet SLAs, and sooner or later will receive demands from clients that a refund is issued (not that the company has any money left).

There’s only one manager left in the company, apparently living with his girlfriend or someone else somewhere in the US (we cannot verify all the pertinent details). The company can implode any day now and we might hear just days later that he has been kicked out with a suitcase (he is working double-shifts at the moment, trying to slow down the collapse, which is inevitable anyhow).

The collapse of the company can devastate many people, who “have been in touch about trying to track down [...] pensions from the original Sirius pension scheme,” to quote one former colleague. “I am in the same situation and had previously given up trying to track it down.”

We still wonder how many people are impacted by this — probably a lot. It’s hard to find or track down every single person whom you worked with over a decade ago.

The Standard Life and NOW: Pensions plans/schemes are both registered with a company that has only one employee: the CEO. He moved everything else to two shells, one in the UK (Ltd.) and another in the US (Inc.). Both pension providers investigate this matter now.

Two months ago we requested written assurances from NOW: Pensions that the pensions cannot be scuttled as before. For the time being, Standard Life refuses to even tell what happened (the managers there made a guess/hunch) but it seems like no money ever reached their end. Now that the company is, in effect, ‘in hiding’ (a former CEO is rushing to delete anything that ever connected him to the company) It’ll be hard to sue, but accountability is still possible. The police may soon step in.

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