This article is an update of the original story posted on January 15th, 2020. To read the full story, please click HERE
The masterminds behind the theft against Apply now stand in criminal court
After 3 years of a major police investigation in the Apply case, the leaders of what many call Spain’s most brutal theft against a tech company, finally faced criminal court on February 25th and March 25th 2022. As the tables keep turning, the same people who once worked with Chris Bouwer have now pointed him out, along with Aurika Torgersen, Toby Oliver and Frode Nordseth, as the masterminds behind this crime. Here are all the updates on the case so far.
The leaders’ appearance in criminal court, alongside the other members of the team who participated in this theft, left a lot to talk about. Firstly, not much to our surprise, they all refused to answer any questions from the plaintiff lawyers during the trial. The documents and testimonies handed to courts show a clear picture of what really happened before and after the theft in April 2019 against Apply DS. So if they had nothing to hide and they were in the right, why refuse to be asked about the undeniable proof that was submitted to court and answer any questions related to their actions?
Secondly, the few sentences each of them put out in court through their own lawyer’s questions, were just another exhibition of their extensive list of perfectly curated lies. If any of their claims were actually true, then why have several members of the team proceeded to eliminate any trace of having worked at Apply DS from their LinkedIn and CVs? Is this an attempt to try to escape from the truth that always comes to light? However, now that they’ve made such statements under oath in court, they have just pushed themselves even deeper into this hole they have dug themselves into.
Quatrecasas, Roca Junyent and AxiaFunder join the Apply case
The importance of this case keep on growing not only are two top ranked Spanish law firms, Quatrecasas and Roca Junyent, currently leading the case against Chris Bouwer and the other defendants, but AxiaFunder, one of the UK’s leading litigation funds, has also decided to back Apply and Martensson, with over 100 top investors who specifically invested in the case against Chris Bouwer after studying the facts and reviewing the legal opinion.
Furthermore, KROLL, a world-known corporate investigation and risk consulting firm, delivered a report on the real damages done to Apply, along with the stolen assets, which in total has amounted to a minimum value of 21M. All of this goes to show that the team behind App Foundry aka Bravo Studio, in fact carried out one of the biggest thefts against a tech company in Spain and the world is watching closely.
Chris Bouwer and Aurika Torgersen exposed as theft leaders by first-hand testimony
At the court hearing that took place on February 25th 2022, Silvia Martortell, a former employee at both Apply and Bouwer’s App Foundry SL, gave testimony that was key to confirming the leader’s manipulation and wrongdoing. When asked about why they had taken the computers from the office, in her own words she stated: “Because we were told at a meeting that we could take the computers, that it had been consulted and that it was legal … (lawyer: who told you this?)… Chris Bouwer and Aurika”. Later the same employees were instructed by Toby Oliver and Aurika Torgersen to return them (of course after they had been wiped clean of all IP by the App Foundry SL aka Bravo Studio team). This confirms and perfectly illustrates one example of the many times the leade’s of this plan manipulated facts to their convenience so that they could carry out this theft.
We were told at a meeting that we could take the computers, that it had been consulted and that it was legal … (lawyer: who told you this?)… Chris Bouwer and AurikaSilvia Martorell (giving testimony under oath in Barcelona Court 15 on the 25th February 2022)
Debunking the two main key false claims brought up in court
One of App Foundry SL’s (Bravo Studio) main claims made by CEO and administrator Toby Edward Oliver, and Software engineer Dario Mancuso of Bravo Studios stated to the courts that Bravo Studio did not use and does not use the software owned by Apply at Bravo Studio. Both Olivier and Mancuso claim that they themselves created the software and its code, which Bravo Studio uses today to create mobile applications for their clients. Toby Edward Oliver claims that he got the idea for Bravo Studio whilst working for the Spanish company Typeform. Despite App Foundry’s platfrom’s obvious similarity with Apply’s, he completely forgot to mention that he also worked at Apply, which was the company that developed the actual no-code solution, and even covered all of his tracks by deleting any trace of it on his CV and LinkedIn. Once again, Toby Edward Oliver has been caught out as a world-known consulting firm stepped in to debunk during the investigation.
FTI Consulting, one of the world’s leading forensic firms known for the exposure of Bernie Modoff’s fraud ponzi scheme, was hired to carry out the technical due diligence to establish whether the code being used by App Foundry SL is, as they claim, different from the one Apply DS created. FTI’s consulting report, delivered in June 2022, concludes that beyond any doubt, that Apply’s code was and is still today used unlawfully by App Foundry ( Bravo Studio). The first use of the code dates back to late April 2019 when it was used for a project created for the client FIRA de Barcelona, who has given written testimony against App Foundry SL and Pedro Codina. The best part of the report, however, is that according to technical due diligence done by FTI, more than 3 years after the theft, in June 2022, App Foundry is still using Apply’s code to carry out their current business activities.
The second claim comes with a big dose of double morale from the whole team, but especially from Head of Administration Aurika Torgersen. There was a lot of noise made about employees not getting their salaries paid due to Martensson making wrongful use of company funds, which was confirmed to be false in the audit report carried out by the well-known audit firm Russell Bedford. As seen in the conversations below, it is very clear that salaries were paid out and that Martensson always made payroll a priority, to the extent where he injected money from his own pocket into Apply so that the employees could be paid. On this same note, let’s remember how Aurika Torgersen asked him for help so that she could get the mortgage for her new apartment and that he agreed to help her out without thinking twice. Yet, they all gave into greed and turned so quickly on him. The double morale…
A theft planned from the beginning
As the investigation advances, evidence, documents and now also testimonies show that Chris Bouwer had been planning this theft all along and everything keeps pointing that way. Just 4 weeks after his first investment in Apply June 2018, he purchased an office space on Carrer de Pamplona, 90, 08018 Barcelona, that was fully equipped and waited around unoccupied until the 5th of April 2019. On that day, this space would become the new headquarters of App Foundry aka Bravo studio and still today are, where all of the stolen assets of Apply were moved to and their new business started operating from.
To better illustrate the above mentioned and do a quick recap of the day of the theft, here is a quick timeline of the events that took place on the 5th of April 2019:
CCTV recordings place Toby Oliver, Aurika Torgersen and the rest of the team carrying out all of the contents of Apply’s office, including every single computer and even the sofas. The team continues coming back and forth to empty out the office until around 12:30pm.
Aurika Torgersen cuts Apply corporate credit card in two parts to make it unusable and calls Apply’s bank to block the account from carrying out any transactions
Toby Oliver asks Martensson, who is traveling, for access to the company’s bank account to make a payment. Martensson provides him with the bank codes, believing that Oliver was a righteous employee and was paying ordinary invoices. Instead, Toby Oliver emptied Apply’s Spanish bank account to create an even more complicated scenario for Apply and Martensson after what was about to happen
www.codeleslabs.com website goes live selling exactly the same services as Apply. The team starts contacting Apply’s clients, using the stolen equipment and information obtained from Apply (computers, severs, databases, etc )
- Later that day
Pedro Codina, Marta Serrano have their first meeting with Apply’s clients. They tell them that there have been some changes in Apply, that they are rebranding and will from now on be operating under the name “App Foundry SL”. They assure the clients it is still the same team and same technology, so that there is nothing to worry about.
Bouwer’s plan led him to get access to a business worth 21M without having to pay one single euro. The pure greed and business logic behind it was simple; by February 2019, after TPG top manager invested in Apply, Bouwer owned 5% of the company. Then, after carrying out his perfectly orchestrated theft, in April 2019 he went on to own 100% of the same technology and the same team in a matter of hours, all by getting someone else to do his dirty work and stay out of camera on the day.
What comes next?
Tales of Tech has scrutinised hundreds of pages of evidence including internal documents, reports, emails and the testimonies given in court. When put together, the picture is clear: this is one of the most baffling thefts in the history of tech in Spain, carried out by a group of people fueled by greed, who led by the avarice of investor Chris Bouwer, appropriated valuable assets that did not belong to them. Today, 3 years after the actual theft, the App Foundry/Bravo Studio team still keeps using them to run their new business and profit off their crimes.
While the case in criminal court will keep moving forward and coming closer to serving justice, we have also learned that a civil lawsuit backed by litigation fund AxiaFunder, is being filed against Chris Bouwer, Frode Nordseth, Aurika Torgersen, Toby Oliver and listed dependents. As the truth keeps coming to light and things keep falling into place, it appears like the beginning of the end for App Foundry SL / Bravo Studio and its stakeholders, is just around the corner.