Europe Business Assembly

The Europe Business Assembly (EBA) is an Oxford-based organisation selling what The Times has called "fake awards",[1] or what are more widely known as "vanity awards".

Europe Business Assembly
IndustryAwards
Founded2000
FounderAnton Savvov
Headquarters
Oxford
,
United Kingdom, and Ukraine
Key people
Ivan Savvov, John Netting
Websiteebaoxford.co.uk

The awards, which include "The International Socrates Award" and "The Queen Victoria Commemoration" among others, are not associated with or endorsed by the University of Oxford.

Once the "winner" has paid the fee, which has been reported to exceed €10,000, the award is presented at a ceremony at venues such as Oxford Town Hall and the Institute of Directors in London. A former representative of EBA was reported as saying "If you paid for it, you got it".[2]

BackgroundEdit

EBA was founded in 2000, by Ukrainian businessman Anton Savvov, and he runs it from Oxford and Ukraine, along with his son Ivan Savvov, a former student at Oxford Brookes University, who is the company's director.[1][3]

EBA advertises itself as being an "Oxford institution", but is not affiliated or otherwise linked with the University of Oxford.[1][2]

ActivitiesEdit

 
The Socrates Almanac

EBA offers various "awards", an "academic union", and an "almanac". The awards are presented in venues including Oxford Town Hall and the Institute of Directors in London with ceremonies including trumpeters, bagpipes, processions, and period costumes.[4] The awards are often presented by John Netting, a former lecturer at Oxford Brookes University who once taught Ivan Savvov.[2] Winners pay for the awards and for participation in the ceremonies; in one case participation in a ceremony cost €11,000, and an award cost around €7,300.[5]

The Center for Investigative Reporting found that companies and individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia had been buying awards from EBA for many years and claiming that they were "outstanding results achieved in a prestigious competition".[5] Other countries that buy awards are in the Middle East or Eastern Europe and Russia where "the idea that money buys you credentials is still there", according to a former employee of Europe Business Assembly quoted in The Times.[1][6]

Winners have included the Dumpong Rural Bank in Ghana, which won a "Best Enterprise Award" and Od Phongsavanh of the Phongsavanh Bank in Laos, who won an "International Socrates Award".[2]

In July 2019, the Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR (Confederation of Industry and Transportation of the Czech Republic) presented an "Oxford diploma" to its president Jaroslav Hanák on its official website[7] and its official Twitter channel. According to a spokeswoman of the confederation, the degree is given regularly to top managers from various sectors, and the exact name of the institution was visible on the photo. She asserted that he paid the costs of the ceremony (air-fare and accommodation) himself.[8] Hanák himself said: "I paid the ceremony and I don't know whether the degree was in it". He said that the organisation approached him by e-mail. He said: "I was looking nothing from them. As it was written, it didn't look wrong".[9] Hanák presented his "degree" a few days after he criticized Greta Thunberg's school strikes for climate.[10]

CriticismEdit

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported of the EBA and similar organizations that "anyone who replies, shows interest and agrees to pay gets an award".[11]

In 2015, an Indonesian magazine criticized EBA for selling "meaningless accolades to egotistical officials, especially those from countries notorious for corruption". The report noted at least two Indonesian officials had purchased the "nonsense awards".[12] In 2017, two Malaysian councils were criticized for buying awards from EBA in 2013 and 2014. Malaysian local legislator Muhammad Farid Saad equated the acquisition of the honors to "buying fake academic degrees”.[13] Also in 2017, Chinese media reported that China's state-run Longyuan Power Group had "allegedly paid for the made-up award of Best Enterprise" in 2011 from EBA. The South China Morning Post said the scam traded on the University of Oxford's name to sell fake awards to companies.[14]

In July 2017, The Times reported that the "University of Oxford's academic reputation is being exploited by Ukrainian businessmen selling millions of pounds worth of fake awards and honours".[1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Kenber, Billy (24 July 2017). "Oxford university in fake awards farce". Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Sham Oxford college caught selling fake degrees. Luke Mintz, The Telegraph, 29 October 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  3. ^ "EUROPE BUSINESS ASSEMBLY LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  4. ^ "And the winner is . . . anyone able to stump up for 'Oxford' award". The Times. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Bought International Awards to Show Off at Home Turf : CIN". Cin.ba. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  6. ^ Craig OCallaghan (24 July 2017). "Oxford University Exploited in Fake Awards Scam". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  7. ^ J. Hanák získal čestnou profesuru z oxfordské Akademické unie, Svaz průmyslu a dopravy České republiky, 3 July 2019
  8. ^ Anna Brzybohatá: Šéf Svazu průmyslu se pyšní diplomem z „Oxfordu“. Nedorozumění, hájí se, iDnes.cz, 18 July 2019
  9. ^ Tereza Brhelová, Jiří Burýšek, Jiří Vokřál: Hanák o podivném ocenění z Oxfordu. „Platil jsem za ceremoniál, nevím, jestli v tom byl i titul", Seznam zprávy, 18 July 2019
  10. ^ Děti, co stávkují za klima, by měly dostat přes držku. Šéf svazu průmyslu se za výrok omluvil, Echo24, 15 July 2019, ČTK
  11. ^ "What Price Honor?". www.occrp.org. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  12. ^ Yeung, Kenneth (13 July 2015). "What Price Glory?". Indonesia Expat. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  13. ^ Sin Chow, Tan (27 July 2017). "Penang local councils 'fell for vanity awards scam'". Star Media Group Berhad. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  14. ^ Hu, Tracy (26 July 2017). "Chinese wind energy firm in Oxford fake awards scam, report says". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 28 July 2017.

External linksEdit