What was supposed to be D-day for anyone interested in the Lyoness story, turned into a bitter disappointment. On the day on which the Austrian Ministers of Finance and Justice were legally required to answer to the parliamentary inquiries filed by Gerhard Huber, member of the Austrian parliament for the BZÖ, it became clear that the Austrian government could not care less about the racket developing under their very noses for almost a decade, scamming 3 million people out of billions of euros worldwide.
The answers provided by both Ministers, which they waited to provide for 2 months, until the last day before the statutory deadline, were outrageously short and of an abominable quality, to say the very least. Beatrix Karl, Austrian Minister of Justice, came to the conclusion that the Austrian authorities have dealt with the Lyoness racket satisfactory, and crushed the dreams of millions of victims that they could count on government support in their strive for the retribution they deserve, as well as of millions of Austrian citizens believing they live in a country where justice is served.
Next to referring to her own answers to earlier questions, which contain little more than summed-up, irrelevant facts, Karl is of the opinion that anyone deliberately scammed out of his or her life savings by these racketeers, with the apparent approval of the Austrian government, has to take action him or herself to redeem the money. The Austrian authorities occupied with the investigation of Lyoness, which have been working on this case for quite a while now, will need a lot more time to conclude their investigation - and can therefore not be counted on by the victims of the Lyoness racket.
"To the number 14535/J-NR/2013:
Member of parliament Gerhard Huber, and his colleagues filed a written request with the subject "the growing number of victims of Lyoness".
I answer these question as follows:
To questions 1, 2, 11, 12, 15 and 16:
First, I refer to the reply to the earlier answers to questions filed by Gerhard Huber and his colleagues, concerning "the Lyoness system", with the number 11785/J-NR/2012 and concerning "allegations and confusion about Lyoness", with the number 13277/J-NR/2012.
The public prosecutor for economic and corruption has not yet finished its investigation. I ask for your understanding I cannot answer questions about the results of an ongoing investigation, as that could jeopardise the rights of the injured parties and the future success of unfinished investigations. Speaking of whether criminal investigations are conducted against certain persons would also violate data protection regulations.
To questions 3, 13 and 14:
In the area of civil law legislature the justice department cannot take action for the benefit of victims. Civil claims are the responsibility of the injured themselves, and they should pursue their own interests in individual cases in front of independent courts.
To questions 4 to 10:
For the requested statistics, I refer to the answer to the questions of parliament member Johann Maier and his colleagues, with the subject "Judicial proceedings pursuant to § 168a of the Criminal Code", with the numbers 4128/J-NR/2006, 557/J-NR/2007, 93727/J-NR/2008, 1153/J-NR/2009, 5050/JNR/2010, 8200/J-NR/2011, 12054 / J -NR/2012 and 14230/J-NR/2013."
The Minister of Finance, Maria Theresia Fekter, has not got any better news for the victims and unconsciously admits that she has not fully understood the Lyoness racket - comparing the Lyoness membership with a 'hobby' and generally describing the fraudulent 'advance payments' as a way to acquire a 'future customer base'. Perhaps Fekter should have a look around and study the subject a bit more intensively.
Maria Theresia Fekter:
To the written parliamentary questions filed under number 14534 / J of 25 April 2013, filed by parliament member Gerhard Huber and his colleagues:
To the questions 1, 4 to 6, and 7:
Due to the tax law confidentiality rules, in accordance with § 48a of the Federal Fiscal Code (BAO), no information may be shared about the implementation of the specific methods of delivery or fiscal court proceedings.
Additionally it should be noted that to ensure a stable revenue in times of budget cutbacks, the protection of taxpayers' money and a high tax morale are essential. As part of an effective and efficient detection and prosecution of tax evasion and fraud in any form, intensive cooperation between authorities at both national and international levels are required.
To question 5:
Concrete facts about ongoing investigations cannot be provided to the parliament. In the following text, the tax treatment of payments for the acquisition of market share or a customer base in general are described:
Basically, it is assumed that the consideration of advance payments for the acquisition of market share in future commission income, will render potential future customers. A contribution to a customer base is thus made, yet the details of the payment date are not yet known. The exact amount of the deposit of the member has no direct influence on the future customers, the resulting influent commissions are unknown and can not be influenced by the member.
With the deposit therefore a future customer base is acquired. Its acquisition is, however, only at the time prior to the first commission from this customer base actually accrue. According to the Income Tax Regulations 2000, Rz 523 expenses for the acquisition of a customer base are a capitalisation of a portion of the representing business or goodwill. Therefore, the payments for the acquisition of a market share (customer) are not tax-deductible immediately, but according to §8, paragraph 3, of the Income Tax Act of 1988 mandatory tax should be considered as distributed over 15 years. However, the depreciation begins
to run when the first commission from the acquired market shares in the position (settlement) lands on the account. If a taxpayer claims losses, in any case it will have to be examined whether a hobby was responsible for these losses."
This is all quite funny if one considers that Lyoness has been hiding in plain view for a decade now, and was spotted by - and brought to the attention of the Austrian government and authorities in 2004 (!!!). For almost a decade, less than nothing was undertaken to stop or forbid the racket and prevent millions of people worldwide from being scammed out of their money, and now, when the fairy tale falls to pieces, the Austrian government waives all responsibility and leaves its tax-paying, legitimacy-providing citizens (of which more than 470,000 were enticed to hand over their money to the Lyoness racketeers), which are legally their only source of power and whom they are supposed to represent and protect, standing in the cold.
Victims seeking financial retribution for their damages might have a better shot using the civil courts for suing the Austrian state, which is largely responsible for the harm done to them, than to sue the effectively bankrupt Lyoness racket, which will make sure it has not got a single traceable dime to repay its deceived 'members'. It may also be more effective than desperately trying to peddle their valueless positions for a strongly discounted price on eBay.
P.S. Did anyone else notice the familiar hand gesture of both Ministers?