When rap mogul Akon announced his grandiose plans to build a hi-tech-functioning city in the West African country of Senegal, many reacted with excitement for what’s been described as a real-life version of Wakanda from Black Panther. However, the announcement also came with some understandable skepticism after the $6 billion price tag that’s needed to make it all happen was revealed.
Now there’s a lawsuit surrounding “Akoncity” currently playing out in New York, with a former business partner of the “Locked Up” hitmaker claiming that the whole thing is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
Music exec Devyne Stephens says that Akon, born Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, owes him $4 million following a lawsuit filed last year. Stephens wants a judge to freeze Akon’s assets due to the difficult time he’s having at the moment when it comes to collecting on what’s owed to him. As Page Six reports, both Akon City and its plan to run on a cryptocurrency called Akoin signal to “many of the trademark characteristics (known as ‘red flags’) of fraudulent business ventures such as Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes,” according to the findings of retired federal Special Agent Scot Thomasson. Stephen’s lawyer, Jeffrey Movit, went on to label Akon City as “broken promises.”
More from the lawsuit below, via Page Six:
“‘Akon has provided almost no transparency about who is investing in Akon City or how it will be purportedly built. Therefore, Akon City is likely a scam,’ Movit wrote, citing Thomasson’s affidavit.
Further, there is scant information about how the cryptocurrency would work and it’s being promoted with raffles and tokens, ‘which are characteristic of a multi-level marketing scheme,’ the filing claims.”
The affidavit even calls out Akon’s legal woes with the IRS, which has allegedly placed liens on the rapper’s real estate due to him owing over $6 million in taxes.
A rep for Akon summed up the report as “not based on any evidence,” further adding, “They are nothing but innuendo and speculation, made by someone who had a claim against Akon dismissed.” The rep concluded by stating, “Akon is proud of the efforts he is undertaking to create opportunities for his homeland in Senegal.”
Let’s hope Akon’s Wakanda-like aspirations don’t get him locked up in the vain of his breakout 2004 single.
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