Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Important Swiss article on the Directory Scams

Journalist Christian Bütikofer has done a great deal of research into the directory scam industry and Yesterday stopECG published an English translation of his latest article which came out in the Swiss Newspaper Tages Anzeiger

Here are added a few notes on the content of the article

Under the headline Systematic challenge of Court decisions it is noted that the guides use a ruse whereby they can continue to trade as long as condemnations are under appeal, of course such laws are there to protect us but with the scam guides it is standard fare to take appeals all the way to the highest court and to drag out the legal process. Thus the ECG’s fine and condemnation of September 2003 was not finally confirmed until April 2008

Similarly Construct Data appeared to agree before the Austrian court to cease demands for money against those who had signed the companies trick contracts, only to circumvent the agreement and continue to rake in money for another year. By the time Austrian law finally closed in on Construct Data an almost identical company had appeared in Mexico

In Switzerland Bütikofer has discovered that Novachannel were condemned in 2008 but that they simply appealed and continued to trade unabated. The appeals gave Novachannel time to do a mass mailout on behalf of its Med1web directory, then before the final police raids the disputed contracts were simply sold to a Portuguese company.

As well as the widely reported penalties against the ECG Bütikofer has uncovered the penalties against Novachannel in Switzerland and a whole string of fines in Italy which brings the total known fines incurred by the Ludenbach guides since 2003 to around 1,000,000 Euros. The actual fines are almost certainly dwarfed by the legal costs of appealing them, these figures give a window on how much money is at stake.

The article also exposes how Intercable Verlag sold its disputed contracts to a Hungarian company. Central European Advertising Kft. (CEA Kft) The ownership of the new outfit is hidden through a holding company called Central European Advertising LLc based in Delaware, USA.

Under the heading Mud attack against Seco The article draws together previously reported links through the pornography industry between the scam guides and the German company Eye-Net GmbH which hosts a forum used to defame anyone who dares to stand up to the guides. The posts that named Seco staff have been removed but a huge body of content remains on the forum, and the account used to defame Seco is still active

CEA.Kft appeared at the very end of 2008, it remained unnoticed until May 2009 when it purchased the disputed contracts of scam guide Intercable Veralg AG. These disputed contracts and the subsequent demands for money when people signed them in error had resulted in a criminal investigation against Intercable in Switzerland. Just over a month after unloading the contracts to CEA, Intercable was raided, staff arrested and the company put into liquidation.

In addition to the information in the article stopECG can reveal that an Intercable related company that was only recently established, VS Verlag Service is also in liquidation. This company had as one of its board members a former long-term employee of Intercable Veralg.

Prior to liquidation they were looking for personnel and wrote that their main customer was to be a publishing house in Hungary.

Below are some addresses for persons in dispute with CEA Kft, they're reproduced here because some of the Hungarian characters corrupt on the stopECG website. For full advice please visit stopECGs page on CEA Kft

Mayor of Budapest

Mr. Gábor Demszky Mayor
Városház u. 9-11, 1052,

tel : +36 1 3271038
fax : + 36 1 3271809
Contact person: Ms. Maria Tomanek

Office of International Relations

Office of International Relations,
H-1052 Budapest,
Varoshaz u.9-11.

tel: +36 1 3271075/76
fax:+36 1 3271807/82

General Inspectorate for Consumer Protection

General Inspectorate for Consumer Protection
(Fogyasztóvédelmi Fofelügyeloség)
1088 Budapest,
József krt. 6.


Hungarian Police

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