In court papers, Marc Freddy De Messel describes himself as man who made money through sheer hard work, grit and knack for timing windfalls with precision.
In the case which has attracted attention, the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) paints a picture of an all too benevolent man, dishing out cash to Kenyan girls.
In a country where men, either out of caution or poverty, not usually enthusiastic to given out cash to women, this was bound to arouse suspicion. Except, the circumstances this time round, as presented in court, appear quite different.
Felesta Nyamathira, one of the beneficiaries, describes him as a responsible father whose actions ought to be applauded, a well-known and reputable investor, cryptocurrency expert and philanthropist. In short, a man who can teach Kenyan men a few lessons on gifting and modern investments.
Her boyfriend, she tells the court, is a reputable and internationally known investor, famous for his early publicly announced investments in Bitcoin in 2013 and Tesla in 2019. He makes and spends his money in open public space.
“He is famous on social media and has published since 2009 over 500 You Tube videos and 15,000 tweets, with sometimes legendary market calls on stocks and cryptocurrencies, calling the top and bottom of the market circles with sharp precision,” Nyamathira says in her affidavit.
But it is the “small selection of investment interviews, portfolio shares and market calls he has made since 2009” attached to Nyamathira’s affidavit which peel the mask of the man who has borne her a baby.
From the analysis of the videos and the many YouTube postings, a picture emerges of a wild, carefree and happy investor at peace with himself. He talks endlessly about the cryptocurrency business and it does not matter where.
Like a child obsessed with a brand new toy, every place is game enough to touch base with his followers and offer investment tips. At Central Park in Nairobi where his children are playing, in Lake Naivasha where he is riding a boat, on an island in the Maldives where he is on holiday or even along Moi Avenue where he is window shopping, the man is ever talking crypto.
In the selfie videos recorded in these places, he’s all fresh and raring to talk for eternity. In contrast, the people in the background are bored to death, and cannot wait for him to be done.
Mesel says he was one hell of a lucky man; inheriting a modest fortune from his mother when she died. However, the fortune lay, not the inheritance, but in how he used it.
“I was lucky to inherit money at young age…my financial freedom is what I did with the money. Like the story of the Bible, three people, I invested in fertile ground,” he says.
In one posting, he explains why he had to rescue his inheritance from the banks after his initial forays into traditional securities and stocks failed to pay.
“The bank was doing the same stupid thing I was doing with the money, losing it,” says the man who credits Mark Faber’s “Tomorrow’s Gold” book for his success. By 2010, he had heard about Bitcoin investment but rejected it. He says it looked like a scam but also that he was hooked onto traditional securities. Around 2012, he began dabbling in cryptocurrency business.
He says it didn’t pay immediately, but the changes in his life soon thereafter tell a different story.
By April 2015, he was already rolling in a Lamborghini, and even took time to unveil it before his online fans, checking out its exterior and interior.
“I have always been into convertibles,” he says in the video while surveying the beast from all angles.
The following year, he takes off on a European Lambo trip with a fine damsel on his side, cruising in German autobahns but stalling in Czech Republic after a sudden explosion, attracting fire Marshalls.
The car is towed to the nearest Lamborgini garage in Austria, with Mesel issuing a parting shot:
“When you buy a Lambor, make sure to have a spare change to pay for the bills.”
In the post, someone cynically mentioned that Mesel looked happier standing next to the tow truck than when he was driving the big machine.
Mesel is a man of many girls, and he does not hide it. On June 1, 2018, he confesses that he is usually “very open” with his girlfriends. He usually tells them he is seeing other girls.
“I like to create (sic) is, that they become friends and that they will help each other. Same thing if you have different children, they will bond together, makes a lot of sense, saves a lot of energy… I hope to accomplish the same in having different girlfriends,” he said.
And many they are. One time, he’s lounging on what appears to be a Central American beach, with a Latino girl, talking crypto business but taking every chance to call her baby. Sensing she’s getting into the way of his obsession, she lifts off the laps and takes a walk.
The next moment he is in his sitting room on live show, Tebby, a Kenyan girl who has given him two children, is in the background breastfeeding their baby.
The other moment he is in Maldives in an exotic resort with Felesta, eating life with a big spoon.
On another occasion in a yatch on the Atlantic, he is with Tebby and Felesta, and his children, fishing. They end up catching only one fish, a tuna.
His fans trust him not with matters crypto, but also with relationships. On YouTube, they seek him out, including the issue of children.
While lounging on what looks like a hotel balcony, facing the national park, someone shoots a question: “Would you say that a 60-year-old should give up on the idea of having children? If not which nationality of woman would be open to that?”
Sweet and happy
He responds: “Yes but you should check if your sperm is still of high quality for pregnancy but yes go for it, countries like here (Kenya), you can easily find a very beautiful woman that will be loyal, and sweet and happy to have you.”
In that episode, he claimed his main worry for that particular year was to find quality girls, “and not to make mistakes, and to do a good job at that.”
But some cynics on his channel felt he was abusing the girls. On one such occasion in the Maldives, this matter is put to him, in a live chat. Instead, he summons Felesta to respond, while laughing off the remarks.
As she was wont to, a more than shy Felesta denies the assertion. Mesel asks her whether she likes the Maldives and she whispers back: “it’s good, I like it.” He pushes her further on the matter of marriage asking about her preferences.
Blushing and rolling her tongue, Felesta says she wants to be married because she wants to wear a gown like other girls; and have a ring on his finger. Mesel would have none of it.
“When I see other people having a wedding I admire them,” Felesta digs in. Mesel attempts to twist it a little, asking her whether she is ok being in a polygamous relationship, and doing a polygamous wedding featuring the other girls: “Noh,” she says timidly, and like a young girl: ” Maybe separate times….”
Mesel is unequivocal that he will only countenance marriage “maybe after 10 years” when everybody would have proven themselves.
But this sort of chat is held when Mesel is done talking crypto business, his chief obsession. Often, they are reserved for the last few minutes of his live shoots.
From the video recordings, he seems swept off his feet by the Kenyan scenery. Not even the September 2021 arrest could slow him down.
Basking in the glory of Lake Naivasha, he took time to narrate how four cops invaded his house, and took him with them, and his girlfriend, accusing them of terrorism financing and money laundering.
Still, Mesel was as easy as a Sunday morning. With his baby in his hands, and in the middle of the terrific narration, he breaks to make an observation: “During investigations, they were referring to this transaction and asking same questions, but a…. see how beautiful the birds here are, crazy eh? And yeah, I have been living in terror… in the past two weeks.”
He’s acutely aware that Kenya is the place to be for people like him; a growing economy, a huge but cheap labour force that sweats all day long to bag in 200 dollars a month and a small conceited middle class which locks its fortunes in a property. The set of circumstances makes people like him shine bright.
Ten times poor
“The middle class here live like us Westerners except that they are ten times poorer but they are almost equally smart, so over time their wealth will also become equal,” he says in one recording, in a middle-class facility.
He turns the video on the facility, and it’s a lonely place: “Not many people because not many people can pay for cocktails, only few people can….”
He says though there are little backward things that can be seen in Kenya, like people in a Lake Naivasha market throwing litter all over the place, he’s happier because “society is getting connected more and more.”
He does not own houses, he prefers to rent them. He believes renting gives on great flexibility. The balcony is his favourite spot for obvious reasons. On sea, he likes to ride the waves.