Mars One financing under scrutiny

A simple model of Mars
A simple model of Mars. Photo: Kevin Gill / Wikimedia Commons

The financing for famous Dutch space project Mars One is being scrutinized. According to Financieele Dagblad, it seems like the project may have been hijacked by investment fraudsters.

Mars One plans to send people to colonize, you guessed it, Mars and then make a global reality TV show of it. The main role players get a one way ticket to the red planet and then their lives will be followed and broadcast live for 15 years. 

To realize this project, founder Bas Lansdorp calculated that a starting amount of 6 billion euros will be need it. At first it seemed that the funding would not come, but then Torben Pedersen came to the rescue. He is the Danish director of a Hong Kong company called World Stock and Bond Trade Limited. And he promised a significant capital injection - 6 million euros to start with, later maybe increased to 11 million euros.

But according to the FD, this may be a scam. FD journalists Jereon Molenaar and Sandra Olsthoorn was suspicious because the company seemed to have "a bit of a silly name". They therefore decided to do some research. They found that the address the investment company is registered does in fact exist. But they could find no trace of the Hong Kong investment company itself, nor its Danish director. Then thinking that Pedersen is probably in Denmark, they tried to contact him there. After numerous emails and calls, they finally got a response. Though not from Pedersen himself, but via Mars One founder Lansdorp. FD does not directly say that Mars One is a victim in this story, but does paint a suspicious picture.

Lansdorp himself does not seem to be concerned, according to BNR. "I think the story is a bit over exaggerated", he said to the broadcaster. "The office is not really there... The Rolling Stones and U2 are also not really in the Netherlands." According to him, Mars One was very careful when stepping into business with the investment company. 

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