The Irish operation of Banners Broker is run by its agent Paul McCarthy of Maconne Online Marketing, Dublin Hill, Cork. He and the international operation have rejected accusations that Banners Broker is a pyramid scheme.
However, in an address to investors, the company said Mastercard had pulled out of its contract to supply prepaid cards.
The global chief executive, Chris Smith, said investors had until Mar 22 to clear whatever balance was on the cards Banners Broker had issued them.
“As you know we have been promoting this [prepaid card] specifically, as we truly believed this was the best option. Unfortunately Mastercard has the option in their contract to cancel the contract anytime. The email I received said that because of bad publicity surrounding Banner Brokers, they would not want to be associated with BB any longer.”
In November, Banners Broker defended its business model after the Irish Examiner reported that one of its principals, Rajiv Dixit, was previously a senior figure in a firm suspended from trading in Canada for its pyramid-style business.
Banners Broker claims there are close to 15,000 Irish investors and it had a major convention in the Citywest Hotel late last year to recruit people.
The company says it allows investors to rent space on third-party websites, with this then sublet to advertisers.
Mr McCarthy told investors in Cork that profits were guaranteed: “Every day you are involved in the company, you wake up the next day and you are richer again.”
In Mr Smith’s new address, it said it was working at ways of offering members alternative electronic means to withdraw their cash.
The circular, posted on the Irish franchise’s Facebook page, admitted that there had been compliance issues and it had moved to take down a number of blogs and YouTube clips that advertised its services but did not adhere to its policy.
Mr Smith had also agreed to bring in an independent auditor to examine the firm’s books to satisfy concerns raised by some critics.
“Unfortunately, this online ‘noise’ and bad publicity has come to the attention of Mastercard, and even though there is no logic or reason, Mastercard has decided to close the programme,” said Mr Smith.
Mr McCarthy said he did not wish to comment.