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NOW: Pensions and Standard Life (Phoenix Group Holdings) Not Progressing Fraud Investigations

Fraud investigations in the era of bankers going rogue

Hey it's still better than sportwashing qatar

Summary: Based on our experiences and findings, one simply cannot rely on pension providers to take fraud seriously (we’ve been working as a group on this); all they want is the money and risk does not seem to bother them, even when there’s an actual crime associated with pension-related activities

THIS site isn’t a personal site (unlike my personal blog and personal site,, but the issue seems commonplace and it impacts workers in “tech” (in my case, my former employer was an early sponsor of the Free Software Foundation).

I wanted to just post a quick update to say that 2 days ago I contacted two pension providers regarding their ongoing investigations of actual fraud. I wrote to them:

Is there any concrete progress on this yet?

This back-and-forth inquiry with your staff has gone on since January.

We’re fast approaching April and former Sirius staff does not want to be left aside as “April’s fools”.

The company is rapidly losing clients and may soon have key evidence in its shredders. Please progress this ASAP, even if there are not many of us and Sirius is not a large company.

We need action, not merely acknowledgements.

45 hours have passed and not even a reply from them!

One of the pension providers has not yet delivered what it promised it would send. The other has been mostly sitting on it for 3 weeks already. So what’s going on? Is this how Britain’s pension industry deals with fraud?

Sirius, the company, is ‘in hiding’ and it is losing customers (we kept noting escalation would follow for failure to provide a real address; it seems possible they not only squandered many people’s pensions but went even further). How long will it take for pension providers to take action? Will they wait until the company goes bankrupt? It might be too late by then. At a later stage we’ll explain why such delays can implicate the pension providers, making them partly accountable/complicit.

Sirius wasn’t always this rogue. Those pension providers too used to be more trustworthy, even putting their logos on athletes’ uniform to earn some trust (as if football is a badge of integrity). At one point Sirius had its logo on the jerseys of a young people’s football team (photo above), but that was a very long time ago. Nowadays it seems like the CEO of Sirius can barely even afford a shirt. Last time he held a company meeting he was wearing a rib shirt. No kidding.

With the Lord Mayor of Manchester

Meeting the current and 124th Lord Mayor of Manchester, Donna Ludford, yesterday morning.



Sirius ‘Open Source’ Bullying Its Own Staff

NOC for Architel
By Mike Reyher – Architel Operations Center, CC BY 2.0

Summary: Network operations centre (NOC) staff at Sirius ‘Open Source’ was subjected to intense abuse after Bill Gates had passed a bribe (even a double bribe, as we’ll explain later) and today we give another example of this

AS readers of this series are probably aware, NOC staff has always worked from home. Myself and my wife never took a day off for sickness (for 21 years), but some colleagues did. Some colleagues even worked when there were still ill. Did the management appreciate it? Not really…

Shown below is how one NOC colleague was treated a couple of months or so after the Gates Foundation gave the CEO money, though only after an NDA had mysteriously been signed (more on that in the upcoming video). This was the time the NOC staff was routinely being bullied, falsely accused etc. As if the company was hoping to scuttle the whole thing, or perhaps the unqualified managers were on an ego/power trip.

This is going back to September 30 2019, i.e. when Richard Stallman was under fire right after there was a Bill Gates/Jeffrey Epstein scandal at MIT (the media shifted focus away from that). It was also around the time Melinda Gates was pursuing a divorce, knowing about these scandals. Here is a message from the colleague:

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2019 08:27:58 +0100
From: xxxx

I was ill last Monday on my shift and couldn’t find them after a cursory look

On 29-09-2019 13:17, xxxx wrote:
> If both keys were there, why the delay?
> xxxx.
>> On 29 Sep 2019, at 12:45, xxxx wrote:
>> xxxx’s key is in puppet for xxxx and Sirius, or can be grabbed from any xxxx or sirius machine where it has been pushed.
>> As was/is xxxx’s.
>> In short, you’ve had both all along.
>>> On 28/09/2019 03:34, xxxx wrote:
>>> We’ve now got xxxx’s key so should be done by Monday.
>>>> On 27-09-2019 09:37, xxxx wrote:
>>>> Ok.
>>>> Back to support. Please resolve this as soon as.
>>>> Please use your investigative skills and complete this task. Read what
>>>> xxxx has written in previous email.
>>>> It is ridiculous that xxxx and xxxx have to wait for 3 months to
>>>> get these access sorted out. I seem to be playing tennis with support
>>>> and xxxx to get this simple task completed.
>>>>> On 27 Sep 2019, at 09:21, xxxx wrote:
>>>>> Well, yes, but surely easier to just grab them from any machine
>>>>> anywhere xxxx or xxxx already have access? Or xxxx puppet?
>>>>> No need for me to spend time looking that up when Dan (or anyone on
>>>>> support) can already do that.


What’s noteworthy about the above is that unqualified or barely-qualified family members of the above managers are involved too. This is where nepotism rears its ugly head too. That alone can make people sick (metaphorically).

A followup:

….. thanks xxxx…………………..

Now xxxx are you able to follow this or will this still be an issue?….

Kind Regards,


> Like, it’s really not hard, I’d just rather spend time doing the critical things that *are* hard.
> On 30/09/2019 10:22, xxxx wrote:
>> Hi xxxx,
>> As it shows below xxxx has not been able to locate the info.
>> Can you please send this agin or direct it to xxxx where he can find these so he can do this on his shift tonight.
>> *_Support, I need this done. _*
>> Kind Regards,


What’s behind all this? Here comes the explanation:

Sorry, you misunderstand me. I had sickness & diarrhoea during my shift on Monday and when I tried to find xxxx’s key I couldn’t as it wasn’t on any of the machines I looked on. However I have since found it.

On 30-09-2019 10:22, xxxx wrote:
> Hi xxxx,
> As it shows below xxxx has not been able to locate the info.
> Can you please send this agin or direct it to xxxx where he can find
> these so he can do this on his shift tonight.
> Kind Regards,


And later this:

Is there really any need for this constant criticism? It really makes me unhappy in the workplace. I’m sorry I was ill okay?

It has already become a chronic issue at this point. It was harming a person’s health.

Here’s the reply received from the imposter ‘manager’:


There is no criticism applied. I am simply trying to get access for xxxx and xxxx for the last 2/3 months now. Every time support can’t find some information or other. Which surprises me every time with the amount for years everyone has worked with Sirius and these are not new tasks.
It’s very worrying that simple tasks like this are not being finished in time. No one simply takes responsibility and the tasks are passed over constantly. And no one looks for instructions and always waits expects xxxx to take over.
Can we follow instructions and keep things professional please.

Later on there was a more detailed explanation of the background:

Please will you supply the specific times over the last 3 months where you have asked us to do this? As far as I can tell its only over the last week. I have explained that I was ill last week when I looked for the key – and I have apologised for being ill too.

And please can you tell me what you learnt on the depression course that you and xxxx went on and how you are putting it into practice? As I have said many times to you now, there a few of us at Sirius who suffer from depression and want to work in a positive environment that is free from constant bullying.

You will get the best from your team if you treat them well and with respect. Constantly putting us down will not produce the best work from us.

This “constant bullying” (I agree) did not stop after this. We were already losing key technical people at that point and the company was thus gradually losing the ability to even maintain its own infrastructure. A lot of the time we were presented with false timelines, cushioning false accusations. The blame/fault was almost always with managers, who not only drove away (or pissed off) colleagues but also failed to take action like paying simple bills.

To give one example, an important client kept having outages because the above managers didn’t even perform simple tasks like paying bills. Some NOC staff kept warning about it. In a handover to shift 2 (09/06/2021), for instance, the NOC person on duty wrote about “Third Invoice Overdue Notice” (yes, third), noting: “Concerned that they’re going to discontinue the service” (this would not be the first or last time).

The manager who did the most bullying at the time was hired not for skills or for relevant experience; it’s a former colleague of the CEO, who used to do secretarial tasks (saying anything more might give away the identity, but this is fact-checked). It’s astounding that around that time personal assistants could suddenly be elevated to management and even act like they’re bosses, clearly incapable of handling the responsibilities. Picking on ill and depressed people was their “pastime”. They fancied the idea of being in control of people vastly more qualified than them (who actually did all the real work, sometimes overnight with ‘jet lag’).

In the Manic Age of Irrational Government Subsidies (or Bailouts) Don’t Take Anything for Granted

UK debt

SO we might have a fourth Prime Minister in less than 12 months. Things aren’t so “strong and stable”, are they, Tories?

Given the awful state of public health and the bailouts for the rich (including energy giants) it “pays off” to be prudent and proactive. I left my job last month and lately I’ve been checking the state of pension schemes, knowing some of them are akin to pyramid schemes. I was already cautioned about this more than a decade ago (after the first financial crisis and meltdown). Shown above in this figure is our rapidly growing national debt (similar trend to the US, the political sibling of the UK). This does not seem sustainable simply because it is not. And as health and long life are a sort of wealth I decided to leave the job (almost a year ago I finalised this decision), but now it’s time to worry about financing the future.

I’ve ranted already about pension providers barely responding to their customers. I documented this here.

With Aviva, it took nearly a fortnight (and persistent nagging) merely to get this not very useful reply from a generic E-mail account (and no name):

> Dear Customer,
> Thank you for contacting Aviva.
> To allow us to get your query to the relevant Administration department
> as quickly as possible, we require some additional information to help
> us find your policy with us.

It took you nearly two weeks to finally respond to me.

> Please reply with the following information ?
> Policy Number ?*please note we may not be able to trace your policy
> without the policy number *

As far as I know, Aviva never sent me any correspondence with any details. Myself and my employer paid Aviva, but I have no record of the actual Policy Number.

> Full name (including any previous names that may be linked to your
> policies)

Roy Schestowitz


Roy Samuel Schestowitz

working for Sirius Corporation

> Date of Birth

[... redacted]]

> Full address (including any previous addresses that may be linked to
> your policies)
> National Insurance Number

[... redacted]]

> As soon as we receive the details we need, and we are able to find your
> policy our Admin team will be in touch.

Please do. I’ve been frustrated by how long it took you to respond and even blogged about it.

Aviva hardly bothered to communicate with me, ever.

> Warm Regards,
> The Aviva Customer Team

There seems to be no “safe” place for one’s money these days. Commodities, cash, “crypto” (scam)…. they’re all volatile. Pension schemes don’t even assure anything; they’re just there and people assume they too are “strong and stable”.

Nothing is “strong and stable” these days. Pension providers barely want to even speak to their so-called ‘customers’. All they want is their money. Keep paying us every month, they insist, no questions asked…

Lies as Standard Business Practice

Slobodan Miloševi?: I heard Sirius is hiring

Summary: At Sirius ‘Open Source’ people who lie, cheat and trample all over other people are trying to frame themselves as voices of reason and justice; nothing could be further from the truth and it casts Sirius in a negative light (as if it’s an outlaw organisation that escapes from one shell to the next to dodge liabilities, accountability and thus enjoy de facto impunity)

THE management at Sirius ‘Open Source’ has begun to resemble the EPO‘s Benoît Battistelli. Sure, it’s not French (EPO management has been French for like 85% of the time in recent years; António Campinos was no exception). There are even kangaroo courts. For those who don’t know, kangaroo courts are meant to seem like a place where justice is available; but in practice it’s just theatrics.

The management at Sirius ‘Open Source’ has been trying to downsize, but it is struggling to come up with the money required for separation fees. Moreover, instead of keeping skilled people it is aiming to retain family members. Yes, this is how awful things have become…

Having failed to convince people to leave willfully (to avoid having to pay separation fees), the management began trying to cause guilt, shame, and humiliation. It’s a common tactic (making staff miserable). Then it started changing addresses (3 times in just over a month). It won’t say why, but that might be a legal defence strategy (making lawsuits against the company more cumbersome). Then it picked on yours truly for calling a liar “liar”. As if the lying is absolutely acceptable and the problem is opposition to lies. Narrative inversion is also misused in this way in politics, e.g. misframing those who expose war crimes as some sort of unethical “foreign agents” and reckless, disloyal voices. So what we now deal with is a bunch of rascals trying to judge or even crucify their exposers, critics, and so on. This happened in Debian too, as yesterday’s story from Daniel Pocock explains. For those who didn’t see it, the gist as per this new story is that Debian ‘family’ (people who never coded anything in their entire life!) started intimidating and shaming people who say the truth — all in the name of protecting some brand or reputation!

To be clear, when I used the word “liar” I did not name a person and did not even name my employer, only judged its behaviour in a two-person conversation, berating unethical behaviour that had long been observed and pointed out internally (to no avail).

Sirius must be doing the same thing to other people, but it threatens people not to talk to each other (a divide-and-rule tactic) whilst inducing some sense of baseless regret, having done nothing wrong yet led to a conflict over someone’s ego, covering up likely unlawful behaviour.

The sad reality is that Sirius is now governed by a so-called ‘boss’ that sends nasty letters (days in the making but still with the wrong names in them; maybe attention and concentration issues), pretending to be all-knowing while lying to people, lying about people, and so on. Despite going by the title “CEO”, he is basically ‘bossing’ maybe a handful of people and some of them mock his lack of technical skills (even right to his face!). He has been trying to create a culture of lying, cultivating deceit and fostering cover-up instead of honesty, compelling colleagues to compromise their integrity (visibly against their will; they did complain, as we showed in prior parts).

The sad thing is that unethical people like these never belonged in the company in the first place! But in terms of recruitment the company has been racing to the bottom — to the point of hiring based on family connections and in spite of zero relevant skills. For management, the company started recruiting based on accents and style rather than knowledge and substance.

What was envisioned? That technical staff (geeks) would end up idolising or looking up to (or using as a role model) nothing short of a “bullshit artist”, who is conning clients as a short-term strategy of client retention? This is hardly a good investment, as it is tarnishing the names of workers, not just the company. I’ve wanted to leave for years, seeing the company was becoming a stain on my name (the company still uses my name in its Web site!).

Companies where ambition is tied to ruthlessness (towards clients and staff, burning people to get “ahead”) are likely to accept all sorts of truly unethical clients. This is what has happened in recent years. To make matters worse, the company was living a lie, naming bogus days for future meetings, saying in vain they’d advertise and hire in the US (later, upon inquiry, they admitted they hadn’t done that at all), and pretending to be vastly bigger or “growing” (there was no actual growth).

Finally, seeing that staff was resisting the lies, management decided to embark on a witch-hunt, hinged on a low-grade fishing expedition or muck-raking adventure. I refused to participate in kangaroo courts (not in compliance with the most basic international laws anyway) and resigned at the start of this month. Below is a portion of the report I sent days prior to the resignation.

The allegations is that Roy and Rianne do not speak to the management directly, as they wish to instead communicate through a legal representative. Roy has explained to managers that they are not an appropriate tribunal (clearly HR hasn’t been properly consulted about this):

Under the European Convention on Human Rights Article 6 (England is in the European Court of Human Rights) I am entitled to have a representative and access an objective tribunal. You will hear from my lawyer soon.

So basically they improvise and make it up as they go along, thinking they’re a sheriff or something — very unprofessional.

Why does this happen? It’s plausible that tribalism and self-service are the motivation.

The current CEO seems to have zero experience with Open Source, and some workers lack even a relevant degree in a computing-related field (it’s all about nepotism — harsh to hear, but true; it wasn’t like this when Roy joined the company).

As noted before, the company is misrepresenting itself to the public. It’s portrayed as a cross-Atlantic enterprise and the web site is faking the size of the company, which is like 1 or at most 2 people in the US and only half a dozen in the UK. They mislead existing and maybe future clients.

Other colleagues have long spoken about these issues (also past colleagues), a reputation harm to the company, but they have not been subjected to stalking or singling out. Why? Probably because they left the company early enough.

The company is basically looking for a finger-pointing opportunity, it tries to cover this up, and may conveniently cheery-pick Roy’s criticisms, which don’t name people or companies.

To make matters worse, the managers accuse Roy of “defamation” even though everything said by Roy is easily provably, just not very convenient. Conversely, the company itself lies routinely; for instance, the managers repeatedly said they would hire in the US; in a later meeting they admitted this was not done.

A Toxic Company of Bedroom Politics

Sirius ‘Open Source': Three's Company

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ has a severe case of nepotism and obscene case of hiring unqualified people based on ‘bedroom politics’; pointing this out to a friend outside the company is impressible, even if this endemic issue leads to technical issues and low employee morale

THE nepotism at Sirius was almost tolerable until colleagues found out they had been denied access to certain systems that far less qualified and barely-experienced colleagues were able to access. And why? Bedroom politics.

Bedroom politics is a recurring theme at Sirius and it’s further exacerbated by the fact that we’re talking about people without relevant qualifications and experience, having the audacity to suggest that people who work in daytime (like two bedroom partners) should be paid more than technical staff that’s on the beat all night long (with further disturbance to sleeping patterns owing to shift alternations about 6 times per month, akin to jetlag with all the lasting health implications).

The company’s management wasn’t willing to tackle the problem and instead viewed critics as the problem. Even if those critics merely discussed the matter outside of work without even naming the company or the people.

Sirius is going to find out that covering up abuses is a short-term strategy and a terrible technique/method for quelling dissent. It’ll all come out eventually. As noted in the report below, the company already has a history when it comes to that and it already resulted in major staff exodus; the reputation of the company cannot be redeemed by creating more and more “shells” as people inevitably find out who’s who (or where they came from).

As it stands, several employees have a romantic relationship and in spite of inadequate skills one trio of workers (with a very unconventional love affair, akin to a wife swap and love triangle) enjoy privileged access to some systems that more veteran colleagues cannot access. It’s perfectly clear that some people make all the decisions behind closed doors and some are denied any influence whatsoever because they are not part of the “clique” or the literal family. Career progression is not based on merits but a facade thereof. If it’s about who one knows who (or sleeps with who), then this degrades the image of the company, at least internally. One of the trio suggested lowering the salary of the nighttime Support Team, which her two other halfs aren’t part of. That’s rather offensive and can repulse those who really deserve double the salary for working overnight.

To quote or to paraphrase Roy and Rianne’s replies to threatening messages:

Dear all,

I believe I was unfairly treated on several grounds, including relevant protocols pertaining to several aspects. I will spare you the details but can elaborate if needed.

Here is the gist of the issues:

1. No due process
2. Verbal/oral distortion of claims
3. You misrepresented alleged evidence, but conveniently presented it as facts to my wife
4. No hard evidence presented (just a reference to a handbook we lack a copy of)
5. Rather gross accusation inflation against a person whom you did not even speak to

There are more points, but I shall keep this brief.

The company has a history doing this to couples, e.g. one blind colleague based in Germany; it was very serious and it went to court, based on a trusted source (it cost the company and/or its Directors — ???????? and ???????? — a lot of money, as went on for a long time; allegedly got settled at the end but injured the company).

We visited lawyers on Friday and on Monday. We spoke about the facts in length and have a good understanding of our rights.

We agreed that we don’t yet wish to escalate this matter and would rather settle amicably.



[Your longest-serving employee (aside from the founder)]

Actually, as we recently discovered, he’s not even the founder but more of an opportunist. As we shall show later (some time next month), it’s even worse than this.

Sirius will find out the hard way that Sirius should have stayed true to its mission instead of straying to Microsoft’s orgy territories.

It’s Already December and the British Government Has Decided to Barely Test People for COVID-19

Dec 8 2022 COVID-19

Is the ‘end’ of COVID-19 a political decision, coordinated partly from above by defunding and neglect?

“People tested positive in England,” according to this evening’s numbers (released minutes ago), are numbered at 23,216 for the past week.

Does anyone seriously think so few contracted COVID-19? No. Many of us still know people who not only get infected but also reinfected.

Looking at the lab-based COVID-19 tests conducted (England), here is the number of tests per day:

07-12-2022 7,646
06-12-2022 8,129
05-12-2022 1,758
04-12-2022 3,367
03-12-2022 7,288
02-12-2022 5,034
01-12-2022 10,688
30-11-2022 21,370
29-11-2022 24,782
28-11-2022 21,821
27-11-2022 15,866
26-11-2022 17,892
25-11-2022 19,099
24-11-2022 22,500
23-11-2022 25,377
22-11-2022 25,293
21-11-2022 24,212
20-11-2022 16,051
19-11-2022 17,128
18-11-2022 22,481
17-11-2022 22,791
16-11-2022 25,746
15-11-2022 28,498
14-11-2022 24,824
13-11-2022 15,351
12-11-2022 19,082
11-11-2022 22,427
10-11-2022 24,516
09-11-2022 26,689
08-11-2022 29,500
07-11-2022 25,162
06-11-2022 15,507
05-11-2022 19,275
04-11-2022 25,679
03-11-2022 28,210
02-11-2022 27,450
01-11-2022 31,824
31-10-2022 24,778
30-10-2022 16,980
29-10-2022 22,094
28-10-2022 27,261
27-10-2022 29,453
26-10-2022 32,207
25-10-2022 35,643
24-10-2022 26,232
23-10-2022 20,906
22-10-2022 25,517
21-10-2022 30,388
20-10-2022 34,067
19-10-2022 40,429
18-10-2022 41,373
17-10-2022 30,450
16-10-2022 22,627
15-10-2022 29,966
14-10-2022 33,088
13-10-2022 35,169

Notice how it has fallen to like a quarter what it was just months month ago.

Compare to the first week of December 2021:

07-12-2021 553,722
06-12-2021 486,459
05-12-2021 476,058
04-12-2021 503,124
03-12-2021 585,529
02-12-2021 555,481
01-12-2021 556,367

And the first week of December 2022:

07-12-2020 188,281
06-12-2020 209,309
05-12-2020 265,016
04-12-2020 278,014
03-12-2020 288,355
02-12-2020 262,352
01-12-2020 244,789

Lies, damn lies, and statistics. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away in any meaningful way. We just stopped testing and there’s no prospect of eradication anymore. Excess deaths across England remain very high.

Other testing methods are also down considerably.

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