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Match.com Sued for $1.5Bn over “Nigerian” 419 Photos

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A Florida woman has filed a $1.5 billion class-action lawsuit against online dating site Match.com, alleging the website allowed photos of her and thousands of others to be used illegally to create phony profiles intended to dupe romantic hopefuls out of money.

The website “conspired with criminals operating from locations including Internet cafes in Nigeria, Ghana and Russia” who created fake profiles for romance “scams,” according to the lawsuit which was filed last week.

The suit also says that Match.com, owned by media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, was aware of the fake profiles as the company approves, edits and posts each profile.

“The real scam here is this meritless lawsuit, which is filled with outlandish conspiracy theories and clumsy fabrications in lieu of factual or legal basis,” a spokesman for Match.com said in an emailed statement.

“We’re confident that our legal system is as adept as we are at detecting scammers and will dismiss this case in short order.”

Match.com is one of a stable of dating websites owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which also owns content hubs like Vimeo.com.

Match.com was “unjustly enriched” by the publication “of thousands if not millions of unauthorized photographs” the lawsuit argues.

“Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com or another website,” Yuliana Avalos, a part-time model who is the lead plaintiff in the suit, said in a statement.

“Virtually all of this criminal activity can be eliminated with the introduction of free software to the defendants’ website,” said New York attorney Evan Spencer, who filed the suit.

“All IAC has to do is screen international IP addresses from posting domestic profiles in the United States, and the vast majority of fake profiles would be eliminated.”

The suit also alleges that Match doesn’t use facial recognition technology, which Spencer used in his investigation, to spot phony profiles and doesn’t police existing profiles to root out scammers.

Nearly 200 photos of Avalos, many of her clad in a bikini posing on the beach, were found in Match profiles, according to Spencer. Pictures of more than 3,000 people, including celebrities, soldiers and Facebook users, were illegally used and disbursed in millions of daily emails to promote niche dating sites based around interests ranging from race to age to political persuasion.

Match.com has been the target of several suits in recent years over false profiles. The website launched in 1995 and claims to have millions of members in 24 countries.

In 2012 a Texas federal judge dismissed a case that argued the company duped consumers into believing it had millions of subscribers when more than half were inactive, fake or scammers.

“The language of the agreements in no way requires Match.com to police, vet, update the website content” or verify the accuracy of profiles on the site, U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay wrote.

This case is different, Spencer said, because none of the photos were submitted by members on Match.com putting the images outside of the website’s terms of use agreement.


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NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

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Tonye Jaja, chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by agents of John Asein, director general of the agency.

NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

He disclosed that an unnamed member of the NCC Governing Board had threatened his life through phone calls and SMS messages.

The Board Chairman, who made the claim in a statement, titled: “Notification of threats to my life and reputation in the line of duty as chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” ‎said the development followed statements he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission as part of ongoing investigations into allegations against Asein. ‎

According to Jaja, Asein is being investigated over alleged conflict of interest and abuse of office, among other offences.

The chairman of the NCC Governing Board also alleged that Asein and his agents have vowed to destroy his reputation through publications in the media.

The statement read: “Yesterday, I received a verbal threat during a telephone call and an SMS from one member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright (NCC).‎

“In a nutshell, he threatened that he will use online newspapers and other means to disgrace me and rubbish my reputation.

“His annoyance and threats is not an isolated incident, it is part of a coordinated onslaught of threats, publications of propaganda and other acts of reprisal targetted against me in my capacity as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

“The persons behind this have gone to the illegal extent of forging certain documents and leaking government official documents to Online newspapers in their desperate attempts at smearing my hard earned reputation.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Police is currently investigating one of such incidences.

“All this smear campaign is because I ‎was invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the ICPC as part of their investigation of Mr John Asein the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) whom they are investigating for allegations of conflict of interest and abuse of office, etc.

“‎As a responsible and law-abiding citizen,  who could not disobey the invitation of the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau, I went to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and deposed to an affidavit to confirm the veracity of the written and oral statements that I submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Instead of these persons to apply the same steps of going before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or any other court of Justice in Nigeria to swear an affidavit and oath on the pain of perjury, in support of any statements they are making, they have resorted to peddling fake news, falsehood and false, unsubstantiated allegations through the pages of online newspapers and other social media platforms.

“In recent times, their anger and onslaught has intensified because their attempts to “kill” and “bury” the investigations proved abortive considering that the ICPC, the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau continued with the investigations which they had previously in an online newspaper described as the petition against Mr. John Asein as jokers.’”

The Governing Board Chairman added that anybody who is sincerely interested in knowing and verifying the truth of the allegations against Asein can make Freedom of Information requests to the Department of State Services, ‎Chairman of the ICPC,‎ Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Inspector-General of Police through the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of the Federal Investigations Bureau.

 


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Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

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Health Plus, a pharmaceutical company, has accused Alta Semper Capital, a foreign private equity firm (PEF), of a fraudulent attempt to take over its business.

Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

In a rejoinder to a press release earlier issued by the PEF, Health Plus dismissed the appointment of Chidi Okoro as chief transformation officer and the claim that Olubukunola Adewunmi George, chief executive officer, remains a director and shareholder

Health Plus stated that it entered into a five-year partnership with Alta Semper Capital in 2018 to inject fresh capital to further grow the business.

George, the rejoinder stated, was prepared to give PEF a controlling stake in order for them to realise their investment.

However, it added, PEF started working of schemes aimed at taking over the business after seeing the vastness of the Nigerian market.

PEF, according to Health Plus, deliberately starved the company of funds, neglected its obligations to the business, appointed Okoro as CTO and was running the company in utter disregard for George’s wishes.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors was said to have resigned two days ago while another director resigned five weeks ago over the debilitating effect of the impasse on the company.

The rejoinder stated that George had, in May 2020, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court (FHC/L/CS/609/2020) seeking to stop HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited (the investment vehicle used by Alta Semper Capital and which they control) and their nominee directors from continuing to run and manage the company with disregard to her interests as a member of the Company.

After being served the court summons, PEF appealed for a mediation of the crisis outside court, a process frustrated after three meetings in three months.

Alta Semper thereafter filed an arbitration claim in England.

“Alta Semper’s latest actions, including the arbitration claim that it has now filed, constitute a serious affront to the authority of the Court seised of the suit, a desecration of the integrity of the Nigerian judicial system and a gross violation of Nigeria’s extant legislation.

“The General Public, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, our Staff, loyal Customers, Vendors, Landlords, Bankers and all Stakeholders are advised to totally disregard and ignore the earlier unauthorised Press Release from those who have no real stake in the Company, its employees or Nigeria.

“Mrs. Bukky George remains the Founder & CEO of the Company and is focused on preserving and growing this national treasure,” the rejoinder read.

 

 

 


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Labour Vows to Shut Down Airports, Banks, Others from Today

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Organised Labour in Lagos State has said all sectors would be shut from Monday.

Labour Vows to Shut Down Airports, Banks, Others from Today

Amaechi Asogwuni, deputy vice president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), spoke at a news conference on Sunday, said airports, banks, and offices would not be allowed to function.

“No airport will be in operation in Nigeria; banks are not expected to function, so no business owners should risk himself, for Nigerian workers have taken that decision”, NAN quoted him as saying.

“We are the workers and we are withdrawing our services; we have the right to do so because protests are our constitutional right. And I believe we will enforce it; schools shall remain closed until this action ends.”

The labour leader appealed to Nigerians to join the protest.

He reminded them that it was part of their quota to democracy.

On the increase in petrol price, Asogwuni said the federal government should have engaged the organised labour and other stakeholders.

“The government did not do that at a time it ought to; it failed in its duty to engage labour before time. On the issue of electricity, the government had earlier had an interaction with labour in Kano and we discouraged it from proceeding.”


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