Big problems for online porn credit card processor


Sanjiv Bhattacharya of Details profiled the rise and fall of online porn payment processor Chris Mallick.

After earning a fortune processing online-porn payments, Chris Mallick spent $32million to make Middle Men, a movie about his fabulous rise starring Luke Wilson. The movie bombed, but that was just the beginning of his problems. His multi-million dollar company mysteriously imploded leaving thousands of cutomers asking, "where's our money?" This wasn't how the story was supposed to end. In the March 2011 issue of Details, Mallick opens up to writer Sanjiv Bhattacharya and chronicles the downfall of his empire and how it came to be true that, in some circles, "Mallick" is now slang for "swindle."

One of the most brazen vanity projects in Hollywood history, Middle Men focuses on one man–based on Mallick–and his entrepreneurial genius, his business acumen, and his un-corruptible core, which allowed him to keep his moral bearing amid a sea of sleaze and filth. Despite good buzz and reviews, the movie would earn a total of just $754,000 at the box office, and it hurt all the more because it was not just his first major production, but was all about him. But Mallick would get through this–he still had ePassporte, the online-payment-processing business that was his cash cow. And he wasn't a newcomer to that industry. In fact, that was what Middle Men was about–how he'd made a fortune brokering online transactions for the porn industry. Soon, Mallick's problems weren't confined to Hollywood. While away on a trip, Mallick was bombarded with a series of frantic voice mails from the ePassporte offices. Apparently Visa had dissolved their business relationship. Mallick was stunned. His company could not function without the credit-card giant. ePassporte without Visa was like a car without wheels.

"You know when things are so bad they make you laugh?" he says. "I was like, 'You're fucking with me! Okay, is there a tsunami now? What's next?' "

A month later, ePassporte folded. That's when Mallick's problems stopped adding up and started multiplying. The company had roughly 100,000 account holders, and they wanted their money back–now.

Mallick's still around, he just doesn't have all the answers. He can't explain why Visa abruptly terminated its relationship with ePassporte: "I have a lot of ideas about what's going on, but I don't have any facts." He insists the credit-card company is responsible. Visa says it was merely responding to a request from SKNA ( St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank). And SKNA won't comment, pending possible litigation.

"I'm a big believer in conspiracy theories," he says, "and I can't say it out loud, but I know exactly what happened here." And then he says it: SKNA may have screwed him. "It's Gordon Gekko 101–if you want to buy something, you cripple it, break it up, buy the pieces for cheap, and reassemble it later. That's just business. It's not the way I want to do business, but . . ."

Read the rest of the story at Details