A SCOTTISH firm is pushing “male virility enhancement” pills condemned by American drug watchdogs for leading to dangerous blood pressure levels.
Querto Services, a Scottish limited partnership (SLP) formally based in Glasgow, is marketing what it claims is a herbal product that provides “hotter sex and bigger results” across the globe.
However, the Canadian-made pills, called Vimax, were last year the subject of formal warnings from the US Federal Drug Administration, which claimed they may contain hidden ingredients that can be hazardous to health for some people taking certain medication.
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On a separate website Querto Services also trades in a pill called Vimax, in similar packaging, as a female detox product that it claims helps its consumers “flush pounds”.
The business, which is described as a billing agent, is also given as
the contact address for websites offering a range of bizarre products, including a £512 electric comb it says will help correct male baldness, a body-building supplement that it claims will make customers “look 52 per cent more ripped” and female raspberry ketone diet pills dismissed by doctors as useless.
The firm is just the latest of scores of SLPs – businesses that under an obscure reserved Scottish corporate law are allowed to have secret owners, pay no taxes and publish no accounts – caught up in international conroversy, not least in e-commerce.
Vimax's website, which gives Querto Services LP as its address
Its sites – Herald investigations have identified at least seven – often feature “free trials” and have a template very similar to those offering similar products, such as diet pills, from other SLPs.
Other SLPs have been named in major corruption scandals in the former Soviet Union, where they are openly marketed as off-the-peg “Scottish zero-tax offshore companies”.
Edinburgh and Lothians MSP Andy Wightman has been campaigning for action against SLPs.
He said: “It is rapidly becoming obvious that the time is approaching when all SLPs that cannot demonstrate legitimate reasons to exist should be struck off the register of companies and denied the extraordinary privileges that are offered by this legal vehicle.”
MSP Andy Wightman
The Herald contacted the UK number on the website offering Vimax.
The woman who answered the phone said she was in Quebec, Canada.
Asked why a Scottish company was selling products condemned by the FDA, she said Vimax was not a drug and did not require FDA approval.
When pressed to comment on other Querto Products, she put the phone down.
Another Querto Services LP website
The FDA last year said Vimax contained an erectile dysfunction drug. It added: “This undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.”
Querto Services also is named as the operator of websites offering diet pills from Garcinia Cambogia, which it calls a “miraculous weight loss fruit” and which the site claims has been scientifically proved to suppress appetite and stop carbohyrdates being turned in to fat. Querto also fronts websites selling raspberry ketones. Both products have previously been dismissed by Glasgow University’s nutrition expert Professor Mike Lean, who says there is no good scientific basis to support the claims made for them
The Querto diet pill sites, like those for male enhancement pills, offer free trial periods.
Another Querto Services LP website, this time Vimax as a diet pill
The SLP itself is currently registered at a virtual office in Bath Street, Glasgow, where hundreds of other such firms are also based. Its websites, however, used its old address, 78 Montgomery Street, the home of one of the most prolific hosters of Scottish tax haven firms.
There is no suggestion that UK agencies or hosts at these addresses have any involvement in the business.
Querto Services was set up in 2013. Its offshore-based partner companies, Lausanne Group Sa and Sion Holdings, were also the formal owners of Avenilla Commercial, one of the SLPs allegedly used in the Moldovan bank looting, according to a report produced by US investigators Kroll for the former Soviet republic’s parliament.