With a letter of 12 July 2019, the initially closed proceedings (file nr. 115 Js 915/16) were have been resumed and preliminary proceedings due to infringement of § 16 UWG (Unfair Competition Act) were initiated (file nr. 115 Js 424/19).
Writing the prosecutor’s office translated:
“Preliminary proceedings against Mr. Guido Josef van Rüth a. o.
Alleged crime: Fraud
Dear Mr. Ecker,
I hereby inform you, that in accordance with your letter from 13 May 2019, new proceedings against the accused von Rüth because of an infringement of § 16 UWG (so-called snowball system) in connection with Lyconet’s Terms and Conditions of 2014 were initiated and are being worked on under the file number 115 Js 424/19. In regard to your further complaint, I submitted the file to Prosecutor-General of Cologne.
With best regards
With his letter of 13 May 2019, Bernhard Ecker lodged a 17-page complaint against the closing of the proceedings. Within this complaint, indications and facts concerning Lyoness, that obviously have not been further investigated before, were highlighted and reasoned in detail.
In particular, attention was drawn to the fact, that Lyoness has not – as alleged to the Public Prosecution – stopped to apply certain business practises. Nothing could be further from halting this business practises. They only were redrafted even more opaque and confusing.
Under item 8 of the claim of 13 May 2019 it is, inter alia, explained:
The business practices under examination have not been stopped but are being pursued with a construct that is even more opaque.
Compared to the previous “advance payment system” de facto nothing has changed but, in principle, only the wording was changed. Until November 2014, Lyoness named their investments “Advance payments on vouchers”, with which members basically only could obtain considerable profits if they recruited new investors. Later, when the WKStA (Public Prosecutor’s Office against Corruption) investigated against Lyoness because of the forbidden snowball system according to § 168a StGB (Criminal Code) as well as because of serious commercial fraud, and the first judgement of Civil Courts obligated them to make repayments, Lyoness drafted new Terms and Conditions and renamed its distribution from Lyoness to Lyconet, since the name Lyoness – especially in the media – already had become very negatively attributed. The conversion to the new Terms and Conditions was forced since members could only log in to their online member account if they had accepted the Terms and Conditions. Meanwhile, also Lyconet has fallen into disrepute so that the term “Cashbackworld” was chosen.
We welcome the well implemented and renewed measures of investigation as well as the transmission of further critical issues to the General Public Prosecution of Cologne.
We advise all German Lyoness victims to directly contact the Public Prosecution’s Office Cologne under the file number 115 Js 424/19 and to lodge possible claims against Lyoness in a well-documented way.