Lyoness: a decisive issue in Austria's next elections?

Five years since the last general elections were held in Austria in 2008, on 29 September 2013, the people of Austria will elect their new parliament. For those unfamiliar with Austria's political structure, here's a brief summary:

Austria is a federation of states organised as a parliamentary democracy and headed by a president. The parliament constitutes the federal legislative authority and thus makes the federal laws, which are executed by the Austrian government and controlled by the Austrian judicial system. Due to the multitude of political parties active in Austria (caused by the principal of proportional representation), governments consist of coalitions of several political parties, that hold a majority of the 183 seats in the parliament. Thus, the Austrian government does not get directly chosen by the Austrian people, but is the result of negotiations based on the outcome of the legislative elections

Austria is currently governed by a coalition government of the two biggest political parties - the Social-Democrats (SPÖ) and the Liberals (ÖVP). According to the latest polls, this coalition hangs on to a very slim majority of 52% of the votes (SPÖ 27%; ÖVP 25%). Some earlier polls even contest that the coalition has a majority and rates both parties at an aggregate of 49-50%. While the Austrian media - so far - have chosen to profile the road towards the elections as a tight struggle between SPÖ and ÖVP to become the largest political party in Austria, the opposition parties may attempt to break down the coalition, in order to get a chance at becoming part of the government themselves.

According to the polls, the largest member of the opposition, the far-right FPÖ, has a stable support among the electorate of 18-19% of the votes. The Green party moves between 13 and 16 per cent, Team Stronach (founded by euro-skeptic Austrian-Canadian business man Frank Stronach) is expected to get up to 10% of the votes, with the rest of the votes divided up between several smaller political parties, including the BZÖ of Gerhard Huber and the late Jörg Haider.


While in the beginning of the 'Lyoness saga' it was SPÖ Member of Parliament (MP) Johann Maier who challenged the then-incumbent government (containing ÖVP and BZÖ) about the Lyoness racket; the roles have been reversed now and MP Gerhard Huber of BZÖ is one of the politicians giving the government a hard time about their lax attitude towards the global scam operated from within their borders.

Mr. Huber has received support from the Austrian Green party, which has also criticised the Austrian government and the authorities it's responsible for, for not putting a stop to Lyoness earlier and still allowing Hubert Freidl and his gang of racketeers to commit fraud all around the world.

Due to its small size, the BZÖ is unlikely to play a major role in the next Austrian elections. However, if the coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP gets broken up, the coalition possibilities slim down rapidly. It is unlikely that SPÖ will want to be part of the same coalition as FPÖ or BZÖ and reversely the ÖVP will not be very enthusiastic about governing with the Green party. Therefore, a three party coalition incorporating both SPÖ and ÖVP seems implausible.

On the left side of the Austrian political spectrum, there is not really a possible coalition either, as SPÖ and the Greens in best case total around 44% of the votes. On the right flank, there are some more possibilities, as ÖVP could team up with parties like FPÖ, Team Stronach and BZÖ (which could total up to 57% of the votes). However, the euro-skepticism of Team Stronach and FPÖ may be a deal breaker for ÖVP, like ÖVP's positive attitude towards Europe may turn Team Stronach and FPÖ off of the idea of jointly governing. Nevertheless, if SPÖ and ÖVP do not reach a majority in parliament, the best chances for a coalition still lay on the right flank of the Austrian political spectrum. Thus, the only chance for BZÖ to play a decisive role in Austrian politics for the coming five years, is if SPÖ and ÖVP fail to form a coalition government, which in return will probably only happen if SPÖ and ÖVP do not reach a total of more than 50% of the votes. To a lesser extent (because they have a considerably higher vote share - and thus will be a larger force in opposition - and the coalition chances on the left are way slimmer), the same goes for the Green party.

While under the current economic conditions in Europe it should not be to difficult for opposition members such as BZÖ, FPÖ and the Greens to find some serious issues that can be blamed on the current government of ÖVP and SPÖ, this strategy has not rewarded these parties over the last five years, given the persisting likeliness of an ÖVP and SPÖ coalition. Most opposition parties will realise that the Austrian population is very well aware that this government has performed under tough economic conditions, and that it is highly doubtful that a different government would have performed any better.

Thus, details could make the difference. Such a detail is constituted by the Lyoness case. However, politically, Lyoness constitutes a complicated problem for the main political actors. With 470,000 members in Austria, Lyoness is connected to about 5.6% of the Austrian population, and to roughly 10% of the amount of voters that showed up to the ballots during the last legislative elections in 2008.

Granted, it is unlikely that all these 470,000 members are 'premium members', yet given the facts, it is very likely that a big share of them is. The votes of these people could go either way. If they are still convinced that Lyoness is the 'great opportunity' it claims to be, they are not likely to vote for a party that wants to demolish this 'great opportunity'. Then again, the growing number of dissatisfied Lyoness 'members' in Austria will be more enthused to vote for such parties.

It seems that most Lyoness members in Austria are still pretty much under the delusion imprinted in their minds by the Lyoness racketeers. Therefore, the coalition partners SPÖ and ÖVP will feel strategically forced to avoid this controversial topic during the election campaigns. In fact, given Lyoness' history, it is not in the slightest improbable that Lyoness has told these political parties that if they come down too hard on Lyoness, the members will take their votes elsewhere.

Although this may seem like a sensible political strategy to many, it should not be forgotten that in the unfortunate event that Lyoness' inevitable downfall will hit Austria during the election campaigns, ÖVP and SPÖ will be the blamed parties for not taking action earlier and may wind up with hundreds of thousands disgruntled Lyoness victims voting for other parties. With a slim majority of 52-53% of the votes at best, the ÖVP-SPÖ coalition could not recover from such a hit. Therefore, it is in the best interest of nearly every opposition party to challenge the current Austrian government on their lax attitude towards the Lyoness racket over the last decade and to speed up the crumbling process of the Lyoness scam.

The election campaigns will only really kick-off after the Austrian population and politicians are back from vacation and only then we will see whether the political advisers of the Austrian parties have figured the same angle as we have. We are hopeful and expect at least some fireworks the coming weeks.

Monday morning recap: what you may have missed over the weekend

Our regular readers who have not been checking our Blog over the weekend, may be interested to learn that there have been some new developments. For instance, we introduced a new section entitled 'The Witness Statements' ('TWS')  in which we translate the testimonies sent to Plattform Lyoness, and publish the testimonies sent to us by Lyoness victims. We have already uploaded three of such statements.

Additionally, we have uploaded an article discussing the love-hate relationship between 'MLM' and Lyoness, we discussed Lyoness' efforts to cleanse Wikipedia from the truth and we ridiculed the myth that only 30-35 people are unhappy with Lyoness.

We also launched two appeals to our readers; to help us spread the truth on Lyoness and to send in your Lyoness stories. In our 'helpful links' section, we integrated an update to a full-fledged Wikipedia article in Spanish.

Lyoness and its love-hate relationship with 'MLM'

A few days back, well-known 'MLM Watchdog' Troy Doole published a highly interesting document on his website. The document, reportedly written by a reputable, highly-regarded person from the 'MLM' world, details why Lyoness (America) is a fraud, and how Lyoness (America) violates a number of federal regulations and should therefore be forbidden and closed down in the United States. For obvious reasons (e.g. to protect his source), mr. Doole has decided not to disclose the identity of the author at this time.

The document is pretty self-explanatory. As reported for a while here, the whole 'business model' of Lyoness is a mere sham, designed to lure people into a web of lies designed to draw the last penny out of the pockets of its victims. Because of that, combined with the fact that key information has been withheld from the victims before they decided to invest, Lyoness is illegal under every national and international framework of legislation, due to its commited fraud, which is a form of theft. Additionally, the many complicating aspects of the Lyoness 'business model', meticulously set out by the referenced document, show how Lyoness has been violating a large number of US federal regulations on, for instance, pyramid and Ponzi schemes, much like it has done in all the other countries its active in.

Have a look at the document yourself.

Earlier, the Complaint Centre has reported that Lyoness has somewhat of a 'love-hate relationship' with the concept termed 'multi level marketing' (abbreviated as 'MLM'). While in most countries where Lyoness promoters are trying to recruit new members, the amazing powers of 'MLM' to make everyone achieve 'financial freedom' are thrown around at some point, in the United States, one of the largest 'lifelines' within Lyoness has been instructing and convincing its members that Lyoness has nothing to do with 'MLM', but is in fact 'way better'. Like goes for almost all other lies told by Lyoness and its promoters, this lie is adapted to the circumstances. In a hostile environment towards 'MLM', the Lyoness promoters will argue that Lyoness has nothing to do with 'MLM'. In situations where it gets accused of organising a 'pyramid scheme', particularly in national settings in which 'MLM' is deemed legal, the Lyoness promoters will argue that Lyoness is not an 'illegal pyramid scheme', but a 'legal MLM company'.

The other way around, 'MLM' promoters are usually known for sticking up for each other and each other's companies, in order to protect their common interests. While this has been seen in a few cases for Lyoness too, the sympathy of 'MLM' promoters towards Lyoness seems to have reached an ultimate low point now, with quite many well-known 'MLM watchdogs', such as Troy Doole (as well as his anonymous source) and Ted Nuyten openly criticising the 'company' and calling it a fraud. Whether this is caused by a genuine interest to protect the world population from being scammed, or whether it is rather driven by the understanding that the support for such an obvious racket, may lead to severe damage to certain reputations when the whole scam (inevitably) falls to pieces. Who's to say?

In any case, once again, the Complaint Centre would like to stress: a fraud is a fraud, no matter what you call it.

Help us spread the truth about Lyoness!

By now, the Lyoness Complaint Centre has reached over 65,000 page views. We have reached about 9,000 unique viewers. We are very grateful to everyone who helped us reaching these viewers and informing them about Lyoness.

We particularly want to emphasise the help of regular posters on popular forum topics on Lyoness. This help has proven extremely valuable to the number of people reaching our Blog, for a number of reasons. Firstly, more people reach our Blog because of the link being posted on a forum they visit and read. Secondly, this increase in viewership leads to a higher ranking in search engines such as Google, which further increases the number of viewers reaching our Blog. Thirdly, an increasing amount of backlinks at reputable websites/Blogs/forums, also increases our rating in Google, again leading to a higher viewership. Thanks guys!

However, we are an ambitious blog. We will not rest until we have reached at least as many people as Lyoness has scammed (an estimated 3 million people). Therefore, we will need your help!

Help us spread our message!

Share your stories, experiences and information about Lyoness with us; file your complaints!

Follow us on Twitter, Tweet our articles; Like and Share us on Facebook and Google+!

Post links to our articles on forums, blogs, etc.!

Tell everyone you know to stay away from the Lyoness scam!

Update: Helpful links - others on Lyoness

Readers of this blog should be aware that this blog is by far not the only medium concerned with the pernicious nature of the Lyoness pyramid scam. Several other noteworthy sources report regularly on current developments in the Lyoness case.

----Update: Now a links for Spanish readers, to a full-fledged Wikipedia article in Spanish.----

Several very interesting articles have been written by English author and income opportunity fraud expert David Brear, on his blog These articles can be found mainly in the latter months of 2012 (September and so forth).

A well-structured article has also been published on:

In many countries, consumer forums have picked up on the devious nature of Lyoness' pyramid scheme. These are the ones the Lyoness Complaint Centre has found.

If our readers have any additional recommendations, please inform us through the comment section of this blog.

*Note that this blog does offer the opportunity to translate the articles published here into nearly any language through the Google Translate function in the top left corner of your screen. These are automated translations and their quality heavily varies. We do not accept responsibility for translation errors occurring due to the use of this tool.*

For German-speaking readers:

For English-speaking readers:

For Polish-speaking readers:

For Danish-speaking readers:

For Swedish-speaking readers:

For Greek-speaking readers:

For Spanish-speaking readers:

For French-speaking readers:

For Serbian-speaking readers:

For Norwegian-speaking readers:

For Dutch-speaking readers:

For Italian-speaking readers:

For Hungarian-speaking readers:

For Croatian-speaking readers:

Traditional media sources:

Suspicions of Lyoness operating an illegal pyramid scheme have been reported in traditional media souces for quite some time already, particularly in Austria and Switzerland. However, the articles published there have become considerably more concrete as the amount of evidence has grown and the number of victims has increased. These are some of the media sources one could check to remain updated on the situation concerning Lyoness:

Experts on Lyoness:

Eric Breiteneder is an attorney who has dedicated most of his time in recent years to the fight against Lyoness. Several victims have successfully gotten their money back through his services. Additionally, he publicly warns people against Lyoness and assists the Austrian authorities and media with their investigations into Lyoness. His personal website is:

Karl Hengstberger and Peter Hauser (also an attorney) have investigated Lyoness as well.

A full list of Austrian and Swiss attorneys with knowledge of the Lyoness dossier can be found here.

The Witness Statements #3: 'Of course it was a lie'

Plattform Lyoness Witness Statement #3:

"Twice I was (of necessity because I was already almost forced to do so) at an information event. The first time about 2 years ago and again nine months later for a friend's sake. There were two different seminar leaders, but both were very upbeat and overly optimistic. The rhetoric aimed at brainwashing.

On request, it was confirmed that the down-payments would return, but only in vouchers. To my question: "what happens if I cannot find and convince other people to join", they laughed and said: "no worries there; Lyoness is unrivaled and the idea is unbeatable. Soon, there will be ​​advertising and people will be tearing the card out of your fingers."

It was shown in a propaganda film of Lyoness and repeatedly stressed that this is only the beginning of everything and one should take the opportunity NOW before it is too late. It was also promised that soon almost everywhere the cash back card can be used, even at discount stores. I also noticed that almost not a word was mentioned about the free card, but the goal was simply to find as many premium members (i.e. paid members) as possible, and have them invest as much as possible.

The TÜV and ISO certificates were referenced and it was said that the few large corporations involved like OMV, EDEKA, McDonalds, Media Markt and Saturn Hansa have thoroughly examined Lyoness. Media Markt and Saturn Hansa are no longer partners of Lyoness in Germany and the others just sell their vouchers.

Concerning the down-payments, I forgot to write something. It is mentioned that the down-payment of e.g. 2,000 euros is fully refundable, yet only in vouchers. So, if I would pay 2,000 euros and then change my mind, I do not get my money back, but vouchers worth 2,000 euros. 

Of course that was a lie, and no-one gets to read the terms and conditions.

I have not invested a single penny in Lyoness, because I found the whole atmosphere (cult-like) very strange and because the whole thing presented there to me, did not make much sense.  

What bothered me most was that they were discouraging questions! Everything was very amateurish, like a walk in the park. My only regret is that my good friend has terminated our friendship that goes back years,  because I did not want to become a Lyoness Premium Member. The brainwashing had fully hit him. He also terminated the friendship with another friend, who also did not want to join Lyoness. Up until the first contact with Lyoness, he was an absolutely reliable, honest and not a stupid man. Also, his finances were fine. Now,  he terrorises other people and uses force to convince them to join Lyoness. There is also 10 times the  question whether you really do not want to be there now. Many feel harassed and are already angry. Of course, lies are told permanently and everything is projected way too optimistically. I am sure there are people that have very sad stories to tell because of Lyoness 

Share your Lyoness story too! Contact us or Plattform Lyoness.

Help spread the truth about Lyoness!

Disclaimer: The Complaint Centre Lyoness does not accept responsibility for (the consequences of) errors that may have occurred while translating this testimony from its original source (link on top of article). In case of doubt or uncertainty, the original statement is leading.

The Witness Statements #2: 'Lost 23,000 euros' to 'cult-like structured' Lyoness

Plattform Lyoness Witness Statement #2:

"As previously reported, I have unfortunately fallen for the statements of the Lyoness tricksters, and I have down-paid the 2,000 euros. I was interested in the investment - and I am sticking with the term 'investment', because the seller, even after a year, still spoke of investing in the new countries! 

Through the Swiss Consumer Forum K-Tipp, I was fortunately preserved in time from further evil, due to the reports of Germanius, Twist and PonziCharles. Because I have not managed to recruit anyone, my money is still completely with Lyoness. Meanwhile, I have met several victims and I am in contact with them. 

Here some information:

The first victim invested € 27,000 into Lyoness about 4 years ago - returns so far: approximately € 6,000.
This person told me: "Since 2011, I have made virtually nothing".

The second victim invested € 4000 about 4.5 years ago - returns so far: approximately € 400. This person said: "I am entitled to commissions, but stopped recruiting, because I did not want to lose my friends. Then  I slowly realised how Lyoness works. In the beginning, I was blinded by the glossy brochures!"

Furthermore, I know a group of investors who have invested about 3 years ago in "Ami-Continental matrices" and have so far had zero return! 

Lyoness sells down-payments on nothing! 

The supposed global company is a global money collection system! Lyoness leeches between consumers and traders and has no economic benefit for the people!

Freidl has done nothing else the last 20 years than exploit people through payment systems of various types, and only a few have been allowed to divide the booty with him! 

This also explains the cult-like structure of the organisation, in which the newly recruited members are only allowed to know a bit. When they are loyal to Lyoness, they are allowed to learn more. Really everything is only know by a few, who are of course the ones that enrich themselves the most!"

Share your Lyoness story too! Contact us or Plattform Lyoness.

Help spread the truth about Lyoness!

Disclaimer: The Complaint Centre Lyoness does not accept responsibility for (the consequences of) errors that may have occurred while translating this testimony from its original source (link on top of article). In case of doubt or uncertainty, the original statement is leading.

The Austrian Mafia #9: Lyoness' attack on Wikipedia

It is one of the most beautiful initiatives in the world: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Set out to educate the world population in every available language, on every possible subject, independently of any other organisation or individual, and completely free of charge, Wikipedia has rapidly become one of the most respected websites on the internet and a 'go to' source for nearly everyone seeking (basic) information on nearly everything.

Although it has taken quite a while, recently, we were happy to report that Lyoness was no longer hidden on Wikipedia behind a 'redirect' to the mythological land of 'Lyonesse', from which the name 'Lyoness' was directly derived, but that 'the world's largest shopping community' had finally gotten its very own article on the world's largest encyclopedia.

However, we are reliably informed that a user by the name 'LyoNewMedia' has been trying to delete or alter vital parts of the article, as well as to diffuse part of the truth on Lyoness. As reported by the main contributor to the Lyoness Wikipedia article, 'Lyoness Expert', 'LyoNewMedia' has even succeeded to have the Wikipedia community remove the references in the article pointing to the excellent Blog of mr. David Brear and his articles on the Lyoness racket. According to our own investigations, 'LyoNewMedia' has been trying to pull off the same the tricks on the German version of Wikipedia, where this user is one of the main contributors on the Lyoness article.

Although the Complaint Centre Lyoness greatly values neutrality, objectivity and open-access, it should not be the case that the Lyoness racketeers get granted permission to write their own 'truth' on Wikipedia, whilst isolating the millions of interested people all around the globe from the actual truth. We therefore appeal to the good sense of the Wikipedia community to disallow this obvious puppet account of Lyoness to change anything in the Lyoness article, as this obviously violates all pillars Wikipedia was built on in terms of Wikipedia being unbiased, neutral and objective.

Another important question to consider is why Lyoness is so keen on altering and hiding the truth. Do they have more to hide than they previously claimed? Does the Blog of mr. David Brear out too many of their well-hidden secrets?

Luckily, Lyoness' attack on Wikipedia has not stopped the efforts of others to publish Wikipedia articles in other countries. Next to the Swedish Wikipedia page that popped up earlier, now we have been informed that Lyoness is featured on the Spanish Wikipedia too.

The Witness Statements #1: 'We lost our life savings to Lyoness'

Plattform Lyoness Witness Statement #1:

"I would like to testify how Lyoness was presented and sold to me. It was in September 2010 when my husband and I first saw a Lyoness presentation. Basically, we had heard of and liked the concept of "money back with every purchase", which we understood immediately. So we took the cash back card immediately. 

After listening to the first part of the presentation, the presenter announced a short break and explained that in the second part those who would stick around, the ones seriously interested, were going to make money. We stuck around, because we needed to make money. We listened to the second part, then known as the "business part". We only understood a small part of it, so we went to further presentations, in order to step by step understand the whole. I must admit I did not completely grasp it to this day.

Since I was present at almost all presentations, of course I was sold a business package. Of course I had concerns about investing so much money (naturally I was excited to earn 16,572 euros), but I also knew that I must find people who paid down on a business package. In the first part of the presentation, there was a slide on which an example of a "supplement" was shown. This was shown as follows: if I would want to have back one of my 50 euro units, I would need to enumerate 575 euros and I would get vouchers worth 625 euros. This was only once casually mentioned in the end of part 1. I did not realize what a deposit of 2000 euros entailed, until I encountered Plattform Lyoness. 

But again back to how my business package was peddled to me. Actually, I had planned to only make payments in Accounting Category 1 (50 euro positions). I was told that was not clever, because when I would enroll a business partner and I would not be 'present' in the first three accounting categories (then they had a different name), the units purchased by this business partner would not benefit me, but my recommender instead. You probably know the slide with the two large red crosses? And of course countless times I was made ​​aware that I my deposit will render a return of 16,572 euros. Of course, I wanted to have this amount, but I was still doubting quite a bit, until the real clincher was revealed: AMERICA.

After a presentation, the presenter took some people aside and almost conspiratorially, as if they would trust us with a "privileged" secret, drew on a piece of paper some matrices (which I do not understand to this day) and told us that now is our chance to earn money in a huge market. I would just need to purchase units there and wait, because everything would happen so fast there, that within a short time several of my units would multiply. Within one year, at most one and a half, we would benefit. The decision to purchase units should be taken quickly, because the American market would be only open for two more months for Austrians. 

However, in order to be represented in America, it was a precondition that one was a business partner (now: premium member) in Austria. So I made ​​a decision. Unfortunately, this was a wrong decision, as I know now. 4000 euros of my savings are tied up in Lyoness. The supplement that I would have to pay I want to get my investment back is 50,000 euros. Where in the world should I take 50,000 euros from? If I would have had such money, I would have never fallen for these tricks in the first place. I hoped to earn money because we have a mortgage to pay off and because we need every single euro we have. 

The facts are that today, after almost three years, I have not once received the 450 euros for the multiplication of a unit in AC1. Concerning the units I purchased in America, there I have 2 units above and 1 unit below, in some none at all, after three years. How long will it take until I have 35 units above and below even one single unit? Well, this is my story. If I think of anything else to supplement my story, I will write to you again."

Share your Lyoness story too! Contact us or Plattform Lyoness.

Help spread the truth about Lyoness!

Disclaimer: The Complaint Centre Lyoness does not accept responsibility for (the consequences of) errors that may have occurred while translating this testimony from its original source (link on top of article). In case of doubt or uncertainty, the original statement is leading.