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Bonus row Tezos Foundation probe 'set to clear president Gevers'

Gevers is responsible for a pile of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars

(Nik Hunger)

swissinfo.ch has learnt that a Tezos Foundation internal inquiry is likely to clear president Johann Gevers of all allegations of financial impropriety and mismanagement made by Tezos founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman.

Although the foundation’s probe has yet to be finalised, information received by swissinfo.ch indicates that an independent audit appears to offer no evidence that Gevers tried to manipulate a bonus payment to himself earlier this year. The audit may also show that Gevers has no case to answer against other allegations that surfaced in October. 

An official verdict is expected “in a few days” once the three foundation board members, including Gevers, have completed their examination of the evidence.

In October, Arthur Breitman issued a statementexternal link demanding the removal of Gevers, claiming he had “engaged in an attempt at self-dealing, misrepresenting to the council the value of a bonus he attempted to grant himself”.

The Breitmans claimed that Gevers had awarded himself Tezos tokens worth around $1.5 million (CHF1.49 million), which he attempted to pass off as $300,000 by downplaying the value of the “tezzies”. But it is believed the audit will not agree with the Breitmans’ suspicions of underhand dealings.

Gevers has strenuously denied what he says are “lies” directed against him, accusing the Breitmans of conducting a smear campaign. 

“No person in their right mind – let alone someone like me, who has a long track record of impeccable integrity and working in the interest of the community and building the world-leading Crypto Valley ecosystem – would do the things I am being accused of,” he wrote in an email to swissinfo.ch in October.

He added that he was “one of the largest [financial] contributors” to the Tezos initial coin offering (ICO) crowdfunding sale in July.  

Bitter personal row

Gevers heads a foundation responsible for allocating a huge stockpile of assets, now worth around $800 million, to develop the Tezos system by building a team of developers and finding business and social applications for the blockchain smart contract system.

The foundation was set up in Zug this summer to house the assets of a Tezos ICO that raised $232 million in a matter of days. Because investors paid for tokens in bitcoin or ether (two cryptocurrencies), that figure has rapidly inflated on the back of soaring cryptocurrency values.

Arthur Breitman’s October statement, entitled “The Path Forward”, also accused the foundation of falling behind in its mandate to move the Tezos project forward. “Recruiting came to a standstill and communications to the community languished waiting for approval,” it said.

The bitter personal row between Gevers and the Breitmans has set the Tezos project back at least two months. It has also resulted in three class-action lawsuits in the United States that claim investors were fooled into parting with their money in July by misleading Tezos statements.

Once the Tezos system is operational, the foundation will incrementally take over the company owned by the Breitmans, Dynamic Ledger Solutions, and its intellectual property rights, which will be released under a free software license.

swissinfo.ch

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