Web browser Opera is under attack. A report found that some credit apps belonging to the company mislead their users. Opera disagrees.
With the constant growth in the market share of browsers like Firefox or Google Chrome, things look bleak for most other web browsers. Opera is also listed falling user numbers, A report now uncovered alleged offenses by the company of the same name, which could have further consequences.
The Financial experts from Hindenburg Research report shows several violations of the company: Some credit apps with too high interest rates and short payment windows mean a violation of the new ones Google Play Store guidelines, In addition, Opera's CEO, Yahiu Zhou, is said to have illegally channeled large amounts of money from the company into other projects. The investor warning, which was subsequently released, states that the total is $ 40 million.
Fraudulent Opera loan apps
The said apps are applications that are on the market in India, Kenya and Nigeria (CashBean, OKash and OPesa). These violate Google's Personal loan guidelinesin which it says:
- “We don't allow apps that promote personal loans that must be fully repaid within 60 days or less of the date the loan was granted.”
Officially, CashBean, OKash and OPesa also said that time slots of 91 to 365 days would be guaranteed. However, repayments were expected after just 29 days (OKash) or just 15 days. In addition, the descriptions of the apps in the Google Play Store are misleading. There is an effective annual interest rate of 33 percent, in truth this was up to 438 percent. Shortly before the payment window expired, users of the app were bombarded with messages, according to several reviews in the Play Store. Even the contacts of some users were contacted, presumably to build up more pressure.
Questionable transactions – $ 40 million postponed
According to Hindenburg Research, Zhou is said to have moved $ 40 million to other companies that either belong to him or are heavily influenced by him. The report lists some of the questionable transactions:
- “$ 9.5 million of cash went toward an entity that appears to have been owned 100% by Opera’s Chairman / CEO, despite company disclosures suggesting otherwise. Ostensibly, the reason for the payment was to 'purchase' a business that was already funded and operated by Opera. To us, this transaction simply looks like a cash withdrawal.
- $ 30 million of cash went into a karaoke app business owned by Opera’s Chairman / CEO, days before the arrest of a key business partner.
- $ 31 + million of cash was doled out for 'marketing expenses and prepayments' to an antivirus software company controlled by an Opera director and influenced by Opera’s Chairman / CEO. The antivirus company has no other known marketing clients, but is paid to help Opera with Google and Facebook ads and other marketing services. (Note: Most firms use a marketing agency for help with marketing needs.) “
Current statement contradicts the allegations
In a recently published statement, Opera now contradicts these allegations. There it says, like at ghacks.net it is cited that the report contains “numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions and interpretations regarding the business of and events relating to the company”. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that Google will draw its own conclusions. The apps were no longer to be found in the Play Store. However, it is still too early to see how the investigation will affect the browser and the company itself.