Marek Zmyslowski releases tell-all book after Interpol drops Nigerian extradition request

Polish entrepreneur Marek Zmyslowski has released the English version of a new book in which he documents the Nigerian extradition saga he endured last year.

Last year the former founder of Nigerian startup HotelOga Zmyslowski claimed he fell victim to investors who were trying to extort $300 000 by using an extradition request issued on 6 February 2018 through Interpol.

The investors claimed he siphoned off tens of thousands of dollars in company funds into his private account, that he went behind their backs to make deals to sell the company and that he ran a secret Polish-registered entity where the hotel management software platform’s intellectual property (IP) was held.

Polish tech entrepreneur Marek Zmyslowski claimed he was the victim of investors who were trying to extort $300k by using an Interpol extradition request

Zymslowski (pictured above) has denied that he defrauded the investors.

It has now emerged that Interpol has since dropped its extradition request.

Red notice, arrest warrants scrapped

The release of Zymslowski’s book titled Chasing Black Unicorns, comes after Interpol in May took down the Red Notice it issued in January last year and admitted it should not have been issued in the first place and that the matter is a purely civil conflict.

The decision was confirmed in a letter from Interpol dated 21 May, which was seen by Ventureburn.

This, as the Polish state prosecutor in the case, Artur Krzykowski from Warsaw, waived the extradition request in a letter dated 22 May (which Ventureburn has also seen), due to lack of evidence provided by Nigeria.

Last year on 23 April a Nigerian Federal court struck down and ruled as illegal, local arrest warrants issued against Zmyslowski, who says the ruling has since never been appealed.

The court ruled that the police action against Zymslowski was “unlawful” and awarded him with an amount of two million naira (about $10 000) as compensation — which he says has not been able to recover as yet (see screengrab below from Zymslowski’s TedX talk given last month — see below video).

“It’s been two years since the conflict started and the other side has failed to start any civil case against me,” Zymslowski told Ventureburn in an email this week.

In addition, he said he had published a rebuttal of investors accusations in which he had answered each accusation, one by one.

He said one of the parties involved in the case, Edmund Olotu has never answered questions about the reasons for his involvement in this case. Olotu is the founder of Lagos-based payments infrastructure firm TechAdvance.

“The Medium post issued by Mr Olotu was removed from Medium for rules violation (deception, disinformation), my lawyers are filing a civil case for defamation in the Nigerian court against Mr Olotu,” he said, adding that his lawyers have yet to file the charges.

Ventureburn contacted Olotu yesterday morning via his company’s email address and that of a public relations firm which earlier this year represented his business during a funding announcement, but had not received any comment by the time of publication.

This, as Maneesh Garg, the investor who invested $150 000 in Zmyslowski’s Nigerian entity Hospitality Technology Solutions and who was behind the extradition request, declined to comment when contacted by Ventureburn.

Garg, who is the founder of the Afriglobal Group, is the man Zmyslowski refered to in a blog post earlier this year (as well as in the below video) as “The Godfather”.

“No comment please,” he said when contacted by Ventureburn via Whatsapp.

‘Tell-all book’

Turning to his new book, which was initially published in Polish in February and now appears for the first time in English, Zmyslowski said it details how exactly the whole matter unfolded, while telling the story of his Jumia days.

“It’s a ‘tell-all’ book with all the, many times painful details,” he adds.

Zmyslowski says he has dedicated 100% of the book revenue to a foundation he set up with his girlfriend Yaritza Reyes called the Maya Foundation.

Last month he told an audience in a TedTalk, that until the extradition request was lifted in May, he was not able to leave Poland.

“For some people that’s not a bad thing, but all my business for the last six years was based outside of Poland, outside of Europe, 100% of my business life, my professional life was in Africa.

“So, I was cut out of my financial resources overnight. At the same time, having a lawyer in the US, France (where Interpol is based) and Poland is not a cheap thing,” he says.

Says Zmyslowski to an audience during the TedX: “When you make a lot of stupid decisions in life but you are extremely lucky, you have an interesting life. If you’re not lucky you’re dead”.

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