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Osho’s Swiss copycat shut down

Osho’s Swiss copycat shut down

Pune Mirror

Pune Mirror | Jun 10, 2014, 02.30 AM IST

By: Kaumudi Gurjar

Swiss Government dissolves Osho International Foundation after complaints of misappropriation of funds by its board members

Trouble has been brewing within the walls of the Osho International Meditation Resort in the city since last year, after it was was rocked by allegations of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement — but that matter is yet to see the light of the day.

On the flipside, it took just 12 days for the Swiss Federal Supervisory Board and Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs to get their act together to provisionally suspend board members of Zurich-based Osho International Foundation (OIF), revoking their signatory authority and freezing their bank accounts.

The order was issued on June 2, following a complaint filed by Robert Doetsch alias Swami Ramteertha on May 20, against Zurich-based OIF president Michael O’Byrne, vice president John Andrew, and board members D’Arcy O’Byrne, Kaus Steeg and Rudolf Kocher, asking that they be removed from their posts for misappropriation of funds.

Last June, Pune-based Osho Friends Foundation filed a similar complaint in Bombay HC, demanding a probe in the illegal transfer of IPR to Zurichbased OIF. According to allegations against OIF trustees, a foundation by the same name had been created in Switzerland with a view to mislead people to believe it is an extension of the Pune-based headquarters.

Having a keen interest in preserving and protecting archives of Osho, Doetsch, a former board member of OIF, raised doubts on the infringements of OIF’s objectives and misappropriation of financial assets, and had sought the dismissal of board members from their positions.

While issuing the order, the Swiss Supervisory Board pointed out potential conflicts of interest of OIF board members. The order stated that Michael O’Byrne and his brother D’Arcy O’Byrne are presumably financial beneficiaries of companies that directly profit from the marketing of the IPR of Osho’s works.

The Bryne brothers also hold executive positions in all organisations involved in the marketing of Osho’s works, including more than 650 book titles that have been translated in more than 65 languages globally, more than 9,000 hours of audio recordings of Osho talks, and more than 1,800 hours of videos and paintings by Osho.

Swami Premgeet alias Yogesh Thakkar, who had filed a petition in HC last year pointing out that parallel OIFs in Switzerland and UK possess no authority to store, sale and retain the proceeds out of Osho’s IP works, told Mirror, “Switzerland has taken the appropriate step in protecting their interests.

When will the office of Charity Commissioner and HC take action to protect Osho’s IPR, which is illegally transferred to Switzerland? The Indian government is losing millions of dollars in terms of royalties every year. For the first time, justice has been done in favour of the Osho community in the world at large.”

Asked if the Zurich-based OIF would appeal against the order, Ma Amrit Sadhana, spokesperson of OIF headquarters based in Pune, said, “We are seeking legal advice from our lawyers for the future course of action.” Swiss Federal Supervisory Board has decided to appoint attorney lic. Iur. Andreas G Keller to carry forward the trust’s work.


The writ petition filed by Yogesh Thakkar and Kishor Raval in June last year questioned the parallel OIFs in in London and Zurich, which mislead disciples of Osho Rajneesh in believing that it is an extension of the Pune-based OIF headquarters.

Zurich-based OIF has claimed that Osho’s work was transferred to them in 1980, but Thakkar and Raval suspect that only one trustee member had undersigned this transfer of IPR to Zurich.

After losing battle to retain trademark at United States Patent and Trademark office, the board members of OIF had produced a Osho Rajneesh’s will which was later withdrawn from the court after three experts challenged its veracity.

As the said Osho’s will was allegedly signed in Pune, Koregaon Park Police station had registered an offence against six members of OIF last December 8, but nothing has been done in this regard.



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