SG-registered firm eyeing football club buy admits to doctoring photos for marketing purposes

Supposed multinational group Bellagraph Nova Group (BN Group) recently made global headlines for its intention to acquire of English soccer club Newcastle United is now making headlines after it was found to have doctored images featuring Barack Obama alongside its founders Terence Loh, Nelson Loh, and Evangeline Shen.

According to Reuters, Nereides Antonio Giamundo de Bourbon, head of investor relations, said the company had "altered photos of Obama". Reuters further cited Bourbon, who said that some of the photos published in press releases on BN Group's website and sent to media had been "edited" to make it seem as though Obama was in a private meeting with its executives. These photos were reportedly posted on BN Group's official website as marketing materials, and have since been taken down. It is however added that Bourbon denied that BN Group made any false claims about "certain aspects" of its business. Marketing has reached out to BN Group for a statement.

Further investigations by Reuters also revealed that BN Group's claim to be located in Paris came out questionable. Reuters said that no company by the name of "Bellagraph Nova Group" is registered in France, according to official online records. It is stated on BN Group's website that it is located at 10 Place Vendôme in Paris, to which Reuters claimed it could not find the company at the location when one of its reporters visited. Reuters also reported that a receptionist at an office rental business in the building said BN Group has used its space but its staff were not always present. In response, BN Group's Bourbon said BN Group had a permanent office in Place Vendome.

Separately, BN Group also claimed in its marketing materials that Singapore-based fintech company Hydra X is one of the entities, adding that Hydra X is involved in the design and implementation of a trading system for the Singapore Exchange. According to Reuters, Hydra X has since denied such associations, and said it  BN Group is not a shareholder, and it is neither a part of, or a subsidiary of the BN Group.

However, Bourbon stood by BN Group's claim that Hydra X is owned by BN Group. He said that "sometimes the marketing moves faster than the process", and that Hydra X is in the process of merging into the group. He added that revealing further details would break non-disclosure agreements. Marketing has reached out to Hydra X for a statement.

Earlier in July, BN Group appointed Claire Jedrek as its global communications and media officer. According to a press release then, Jedrek said she is proud to be part of BN Group's "trailblazing initiative" and looks forward to injecting her energy and experience to help drive the group's "global ambition and scale to greater heights". However, just a week ago, Jedrek said in a LinkedIn post that she is no longer with the group.

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