Article in the Daily Mirror (Mirror Investigates) 26th Jan 2006
Other Languages, Click Your Flag.
26 January 2006
BIG BULLY WHO GOT RICH OFF EURO AD CON
WATCH OUT FOR GERMAN AD PARASITE
Penman & Greenwood
HE looks like a rich, arrogant conman. And that's exactly what he is - meet Meinolf Ludenbach.
The German-born cheat has been running an international scam for years, so we are delighted to show you his ugly mug.
Ludenbach specialises in conning small firms into advertising in his worthless business directories.
Victims are sent cleverly worded invoices which trick them into ordering ads they don't want.
When they refuse to pay, he sets his debt collectors on to them.
Last week we told how threats from his British lawyers, Wragge & Co, had forced the closure of a website that campaigns against Ludenbach's nasty empire.
Ludenbach is behind European City Guide (ECG), which operated from Spain and was fined £200,000 in 2003 for fleecing firms in Britain and across the continent. One reason he likes Spain is that he loves bull-fighting. Unlike us. We prefer fighting bull.
Ludenbach is also linked to two similar operations, Novachannel - currently under investigation by watchdogs in Switzerland - and Austrian-based Construct Data.
And here he is, pictured for the first time in the UK, thanks to our chums on Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
One of his victims was Swansea music shop owner Jules Woodell, who was stung for £600. Jules hit back by setting up www.StopECG.org to publicise the scam. Last week the site vanished from the net after Wragge & Co solicitor Nick Cunningham threatened to sue the internet company that helped get Jules's site online.
Among the bizarre objections was the fact that the site claimed to be "established in opposition to all companies that mail potentially misleading contracts". We asked lawyer Cunningham what was wrong with campaigning against misleading contracts, but he didn't reply.
Nor did he respond when we told him:
"We intend to describe your clients as notorious parasites, or possibly leeches, conmen or cheats."
"I hope you will let us know if your client has any reasonable objections to such descriptions. Also, we can't find any mention of NovaChannel on your website on the page where you list your clients."
"Is this because Wragge & Co are ashamed to be representing them?"
Just in case Cunningham had any doubts about his clients, we sent him the file of stories we've written about Ludenbach's operations dating back to 2001.
The lawyer might be silent, but they didn't manage to silence shop owner Jules.
We're delighted to say that he's found another host to put StopECG back on the web - though he doesn't expect it will be long before they too get leaned on to pull the plug.
"I expect it will survive ten to 14 days," he said. "But I've got two more companies lined up who say they'll do it." Good luck Jules, you're a star.
©, Daily Mirror 2006
Back to index | Meinolf Lüdenbach