Paris-based The Family co-founders Alice Zagury and Nicolas Colin have revealed that the entity has taken legal action against former co-founder Oussama Ammar, suspecting that he is responsible for the embezzlement of approximately €3 million.
Representing The Family, Parisian law firm Aleph Avocats’ Elsa Sammari commented in an email to French publication Capital, “A significant part of the 3 million euros was paid to Oussama Ammar or his personal holding companies. Oussama Ammar was supposed to re-invest them in start-ups, but we don’t know if he actually did it, and he refused to provide the documents showing that he did.”
Ammar, who left the organisation in November of last year, responded to the accusations via LinkedIn citing that his former co-founders failed to provide him with any stake in the startups he brought to The Family in 2020 and 2021, that the offer to buy out his shares in the company was, “scandalously low,” and that he has no intention of becoming the scapegoat for the operational and financial woes the organisation has experienced.
Commenting exclusively to Tech.eu Ammar said,
"I am sad we end up in a very public fuss but as we cannot reach an agreement to who owes what to who, it is not a bad idea to go in front of a judge. It will take time but I am sure that the legal system will help close this in the best fairness and let everyone do what they want with their life after."
As noted previously by Tech.eu’s Robin Wauters:
The Family has always been a strange beast to me personally, from the day it was founded back in 2013 up until today. It wasn't and isn't really a tech startup accelerator, not really an advisory firm, not really a seed investment firm, not really an incubator, not really a physical gathering space for founders, but all of the above rolled into one. Sorta kinda.
Be that as it may, the company has raised ~$25 million from a host of reputable VC firms, including Index Ventures, Idinvest, White Star Capital, e.ventures, Hummingbird Ventures, Project A and plenty more, to build up an impressive portfolio with stakes in 200+ startups. It has backed the likes of Algolia, Preply, Docker, TOA Berlin, Heetch and PayFit.
On top of that, The Family also ended up owning majority stakes in a group of companies that includes Kymono (which basically sells 'startup fashion'), entrepreneurship school Lion, and corporate innovation advisory outfit Pathfinder.
While the legal firm of Aleph Avocats, and “several others” are now involved, The Family has also indicated that PricewaterhouseCoopers has been called upon to conduct a full audit of financial dealings and flows of capital between The Family and Ammar, which could prove to be a rather mighty challenge.
As noted by Capital, “The Lebanese-born entrepreneur says on his LinkedIn profile that he moved to Dubai. His two personal holdings, Fabuleo Ltd and Aletheis The First Ltd, are registered in Hong Kong.
Adding to the web of entanglement, The Family is comprised of some twenty individual organisations including The Family (Holdings) Ltd, and The Family (London) Ltd., both registered in the UK, a U.S. entity The Family Global Operations Inc is registered in Delaware, with a Cayman Islands organisation The Family (Global Godfathers) SPC filing a Writ of Summons against Oussama Ammar et al. that dates back to 22 February of this year.