I really don’t see the problem

From Saul Hansell at the New York Times:

[A] new Internet search engine, Accoona… powered by innovative artificial intelligence technology [sic]…

[F]ounded by Marc Armand Rousso…

[R]egistered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell its stock to the public… [M]anaged by a little-known underwriter… [U]nderwriter, pulled out of the offering… “After completing our due diligence review, we have chosen to disassociate ourselves with the company.”…

[Rousso] pleaded guilty to stock fraud charges in the United States in 1998 and was convicted of stock fraud in France in 1999… [S]ettled several suits brought by investors who claimed stock losses…

[V]ery little of Accoona’s $149 million in revenue last year came from its search engine…

[N]early all its revenue was from several online electronics dealers it also owns… [G]enerated numerous consumer complaints about aggressively selling accessories, spotty product availability and poor customer service…

[Search engine] attracted only 106,000 visitors from the United States in July, according to comScore…

[S]earch results… filled with links to second-tier sites and those of promoters trying to manipulate search engines with various tricks.

[R]ousso… paid more than $3 million during the last three years as a consultant to Accoona… [O]wns 14 percent of the company’s stock.

[A]lessandra Coderoni, whom Mr. Rousso married in August 2006, was paid $1.4 million to serve as Accoona’s chief operating officer in the 15 months before the marriage…

[Rousso] took control of several companies, promoted them to the public, and liquidated their holdings at a profit through a series of brokerage accounts in various names…

[E]ffort… to launder money stemming from [his] schemes…

[A]rrested, and he pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money-laundering charges… [S]entenced to probation, a $200,000 fine and forfeiture of $4 million in assets… [B]anned from working in the securities industry…

[A]lso convicted of securities fraud in France, related to selling American stocks to European investors at inflated prices… [F]ined 120,000 euros.

[A]lso caught up in the investigation over illegal campaign contributions to the 1996 Senate campaign of Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey because he had raised money with a partner who later pleaded guilty in that case…

Accoona bought three companies based in Brooklyn that operate discount electronics retailers, including ButterflyPhoto.com, NYLiving.com, BestBuyPlasma.com, Digitaletailer.com, Lcdtvs.com and BuyersEdge.com…

ButterflyPhoto, the largest of these sites, has an unsatisfactory rating from the New York Better Business Bureau…

[O]ne of a group of online dealers that lure customers with low prices and then use aggressive tactics to get them to spend more money. “You will see prices online at $100 below cost… [T]hen they will call you to say that with this particular product, you need to buy this expensive battery to go with it.”

[C]ompany [says it] is “committed to providing the highest level of service and observing the highest ethical standards.”