This Monday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has come up with a long list of allegations for a Russian-born firm Neuromama. Not many have heard about Neuromama before, but, according to its market cap, it is more valuable than Tesla.
Neuromama is one of those "invisible" companies with sales of close to nothing, yet demonstrating market values of billions.
The firm has not shared any financial reports since the last quarter of 2013, when it reported owning $1,081 in cash and $18.26 million in "intangible assets".
SEC grew increasingly suspicious of Neuromama as its paper value has quadrupled this year, constituting $35 billion on scant volume.
This sounded more than suspicious to SEC and this week the Commission has finally frozen Neuromama's trading activities.
But what exactly are Neuromama's wrongdoings? SEC has a clear answer to that:
"The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of NERO because of concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace about, among other things, the identity of the persons in control of the company's operations and management, false statements to company shareholders and/or potential investors that the company has an application pending for listing on the NASDAQ Stock Market, and potentially manipulative transactions in the company's stock."
If you look closer at Neuromama's activities, it gets even more interesting. The firm's assets are nothing short of a miracle. The Siberian-based company claims to own a search engine "NeuroZone" that is "a clone of Amazon and EBAY", a TV network, retail stores, NeuroPad, NeuroPhone and NeuroBook that would look very familiar to Apple users, live shows featuring a Russian singer Vladimir Kuzmin giving NeuroPads to Russian orphans.... and much more.
The company also claims to play a central role in science with its 600 patents (500 of which are expired) as well as its main project called "Heavy Ion Fusion" - a joint project between 7 countries aimed at producing safe nuclear energy (still in development phase).
However, the company's officials see it quite straightforward:
“We are convinced that all of our ideas are great. However, in case we had made some mistakes, they’ll make a switch for another idea, and partners will make money one way or the other.”
Neuromama's business was initially based in Siberia, later moving to Mexican Tijuana. Other sources mention the company claiming to have over 7 offices around the globe, though no one knows where exactly.
You may think, how has this company managed to get a $35 billion market cap? SEC officials say that it is nothing but an "all-too-familiar tale" of a largely unregulated OTC market.
In the last year, SEC worked to halt over 800 Neuromama-like businesses, though the Commission is still far from getting to the end of the list of all companies that continue illegal trading based on their paper values.
“Shell companies have been a problem for decades because the agency has lacked the resources to police them”, a former SEC enforcement lawyer Stephen Crimmins told Bloomberg.
The company has previously received multiple warnings from SEC and was finally banned from trading until August 26 this week.