So, another vague and preposterous legal threat and my web hosts have caved like bullied ginger children. Pages have been taken down and then immediately duplicated to over 30 (at last count) web sites all over the world. The web tends to react like that.
This situation will not last. The Society of Homeopaths did not get away with it and nor will more minor bullies. To be told to remove a web page on the threat of ‘one million pounds per day’ (hooks little finger to mouth) is just plain daft, especially when we are not told why such offense was being taken.
Professor Dr Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi FRCAM(Dublin) has failed to respond to my simple request to document his specific concerns, and nor has his ‘legal advisor’ Tanja Suessenbach. And worse, neither have my web hosts, Netcetera, responded to my last emails to them. That has left me in a difficult position. Netcetera asked me to remove the pages until I have reached an agreement with Obi. He will undoubtedly now have no reason to speak to me now Netcetera have so easily complied. This leaves me with few options. Firstly, go digging and find a reason for Obi to back down and also, just simply move hosts. Positive Internet have offered to host this site for free – the hosts with a real backbone. (Just a few technical headaches to overcome first.)
But on to more fun things.
Part of Suessenbach’s letter was to tell Netcetera in no uncertain terms that Obi was the owner of the Royal College of Alternative Medicine’s (RCAM) Trademarks and she helpfully provided me with a copy letter of Good Standing from the Company Registration Office in Ireland and copies of Trade Mark registrations. This was quite ridiculous. Writing about a company in no way violates a person’s rights under Trade Mark legislation. Nor does a letter of good standing provide evidence of the integrity of the directors. It just shows that the company is registered and is providing statutory returns.
The Registrar letter classed RCAM as ‘normal’. So, the obvious thing was to get hold of those returns and a list of directors and their holdings, and see if that was true.
The Company Registration Office (CRO) in Dublin has a handy web interface (http://www.cro.ie/) for accessing such reports. A few euros lighter and I have the latest company returns from RCAM. The first is a Directors Annual Report which truly is a work of art in nice computer generated cursive script. Obi tells us that,
we are joyfully humbled to publicly announce an inspiring interim profit of thereabouts 415 Euros (before tax) which we ethically hope to double by this time next year.
The next quarter was somewhat better with a profit of 1628 Euros. No profit and loss or cashflow statements were provided as Obi sought an exemption due to RCAM’s small size. So, it is a modest business to say the least.
Far more interesting was the latest register of Directors and their holdings. Joseph Obi owns all equity in the business, but Irish company law requires a company has at least two directors and a company secretary. So, first Professor Joseph Obi is listed as Wellness Consultant and Professor and gives his residential address as Wellness Cottage, Butlersbridge. That sets off alarm bells. What a coincidence of ‘wellness’!
Fortunately, Ireland has another fantastic online resource: the Post Office Address Checker. In using this service, I have failed to find a ‘Wellness Cottage’ in Butlersbridge. Now I do hope I am mistaken as supplying a false director’s address would be an offence and could lead to Mr Obi being disqualified as a director and fined.
The second director of RCAM is given as a Dr Andrew Ifeanyi Obi. His occupation is listed as ‘International Medical Advisor’, and his address is given as Suite 275, Thomas House, 47 Botanic Avenue, Belfast. Andrew Obi’s signature is much more scripted than Joseph’s.
This is a picture of 47 Botanic Avenue, Belfast. It must have tardis like proportions to contain at least 275 suites. Most of them will fail to have windows, which must be a shame. Actually, this building has a number of purposes. It is home to Green Inc Film and Television, the TV production company set up by cheeky chappy Patrick Kielty. (Follow link with sound on for full humorous effect).
More importantly, it is also home to Belfast company Mail Boxes Etc. (You can just make them out in the photo.) This company provides business services included rented mailboxes. It would make more sense if Suite 275, was Box 275. Now, once again I do hope I am wrong because providing a mailbox for a residential address would also not please the company registrars in Dublin.
What is also a little irregular is that CRO insist that at least one director of an Irish company is resident in the Republic. Dr Andrew, even if he is in Belfast, does not appear to be, and Professor Joseph appears to be based either Gateshead and/or London. He has hired a London-based ‘legal advisor’ and many press stories about him do not mention his Irish residence. Being a non-resident director requires a hefty bond to be paid.
One last discrepancy that I do not understand is that I can find no reference to Dr Andrew Ifeanyi Obi on any of Professor Obi’s web sites, including RCAM. Indeed Goolging various combinations of either ‘Andrew Obi’ or ‘Ifeanyi Obi’ reveals only dire warnings of aliases being used for Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud (419 scams). Now, of course this does not mean that Dr Andrew is involved in such things, but rather we have no idea who he is, what he does with RCAM, why his director report does not appear to list a real residential address, or even if he exists at all.
But we know from the Irish Independent that Banned doctor claims to head college that does not exist. The companies registered address is just another “standard call answering and mail collection service to give the impression that it does [exist].” RCAM is just a web site run by Obi, but registered as a trading company in Ireland. For what reason? To make it sound impressive in intimidating legal letters?
What does all this mean? I am not sure, although the concerned citizen within me compels me to alert my suspicions to the relevent authorities in Dublin. Joseph is being a busy man right now blogging away. Yesterday, he told the world that,
Supermodel Kate Moss has today firmly and comprehensively dissociated themselves from the Quackometer Blog.
What a shame. We were getting on so well. I bet she has gone back to that waster, Dougherty.
Now, what I suggest to Mr Obi, and I have written to his ‘legal advisor’ to this effect, is that he stops fantasising about Kate (that’s my job) and writes to Netcetera and withdraws his threats, writes to Google and withdraws his demands to remove my site from their listings.
It’s not too late to back off from this silly nonsense.
I do think a word in the ear of the relevant Irish authority wouldn’t be a bad idea – neatly wrapped in copies of the press coverage of Obi’s shenanigans. I also think the same to Ms Sussenbach who, if what I can surmise from the Internet, has almost certainly been taken for a bit of a ride by Obi.
By the way, is Mr Obi English or Nigerian? I’m not sure and I’m not sure he’s sure. One minute he’s accusing the GMC of discriminating against foreign doctors (him?) and the next (on the Huffington Post site) he claims to have been born in England.
This linkin profile is about as close as we can get to a CV.
Note that he has three ‘recommendations’. One is from wellness.fm – another alias site of his.
Outstanding. That’s all bloody hilarious. Or at least it would be if you weren’t being threatened with nonsense legal action.
Outstanding LBD!! Stick it to him!
Shame on Google and you hosts – I do hope they apologise to you for their spinelessness
On the profile page of his blog it reads:
“The wicked backspin caught you off guard. How will you play it off without losing your footing?
By simply carrying on regardless . . .”
And I fear that exactly what Obi will do, even after this article. He knows that there are many, many gullible fools out there just waiting to be taken advantage of.
Great stuff. The inconsistencies over the directors’ addresses are *very* interesting.
By the way, I’m pleased to see Positive Internet have offered to help. They have an impressive record when it comes to helping out bloggers.
Excellent work as ever LCN. And three cheers for Positive Internet.
well done LCN. I think the only response to people who use legal chill to silence legitimate critique and discussion is contempt and humiliation, something that the internet is very effective at delivering.
Unfortunately these idiots make it difficult to ignore them, which would be the preferable course of action.
It’s an old cliche I know, but people who live in glass houses really shouldn’t through litigations. Foot and shot comes to mind.
Carry on the good work. I thought that the bad doctor was based in Gateshead?
Excellent. I do think tipping off the Irish authorities about His Ethicalness bending the rules regarding residency of company directors would be a good move.
Firstly, dealing with the legal fall-out would distract him from ripping off the gullible
Secondly, it might encourage the invertabrates at Google & Netcetera to stand up to the next charlatan who tries it on
Thirdly, other woos who are planning on using legal bullying to stifle free speech will get the message that retaliation will be swift and drastic.
Excellent work! Hurrah for Positive Internet.
Yesterday I googled JCO and the first page was 90% his own self-promotional websites. Repeated the excercise today and it’s 90% stuff which puts him down.
Oh, and you got your numbers wrong. According to his own website, there are 5,000 bloggers conspiring to do him in. But he is suavely relaxing in Belfast and enjoying the attention.
I noticed that today too Mugsandmoney.
I might call into suite 275, Thomas House, Botanic Gardens, Belfast tomorrow. Perhaps Professor Dr Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi FRCAM(Dublin) might ethically offer me a suavely served glass of finest champagne and together we could cheerfully and eagerly watch hilarious Whoopi G. films while celebrating his umm, ethical escape from 5000 (that’s five thousand) malicious internet assassins. I’m sure it would be a blast.
Oh and well done Poirot. This is great news.
Well exposed LCN, it seems “ethical” can mean whatever one wishes it to mean..
Both Obi and the Society of Homeopaths exude probitiness in their general statements and their attempts to silence critics. It is quickly exposed for what it is. A flimsy simulacrum.
The RoI electoral register can be checked at www. checktheregister. ie (Butlersbridge is a village of under 200 inhabitants in Cavan county apparently) but if “Wellness Cottage” is a made up address then obviously you won’t find anything. Someone registered with 192.com could find him in the UK electoral register though…
It looks as if Ms. Suessenbach has been involved in setting up an educational establishment herself:
I agree with a lot of what you say, CN; but do I detect a pro-establishment bias behind your supposedly impartial anti-bad science scepticism? The law is notoriously an ass, and there is no question that Obi’s (and anyone else’s) use of the law to silence legitimate discussion and criticism is a threat to us all; but although you are always happy to attack the easy targets (Obi, Soc Hom etc), I haven’t seen you referring to the more ‘respectable’ forms of silencing of scientific debate exemplified by the recent case of Michael Hollick. You have a reputation for honest and impartial scepticism, and I guess I would like to be reassured that it is genuine. Quis custodies custodiebit? Paul C (a fellow sceptic)
You da man, LCN – splendid digging.
Obi is quite clearly a flat-out scam artist, and deserves all the exposure (in the sense “The Truth Will Out”) that you and rest of the blogosphere can give him.
One thing I wonder about. Do we know if Obi was ever formally investigated by the police in the North East of England in connection with any of the the allegations referred to in the Northern Chronicle articles you linked to in your earlier post about him? Have you thought about ringing the newspaper and asking them? The person who wrote the story may have moved on, but I would think a local paper would usually be interested in a follow-up on something that they “broke” originally.
This guy seriously tried to pass off Thomas House, 47 Botanic Gardens, Belfast as a residential address?
Botanic Gardens is a (very pretty) public park, and the only entities with legitimate addresses there are the groundskeepers’ depot, a bowling club, the Queens University PE centre and the former building of the Ulster Museum. Mind you, given how insane this character appears to be, I could well believe that he actually does sleep there. Under a shrub, perhaps, clutching a bottle of homeopathic meths.
Sorry Sarah – first mention of address (gardens) was a slip of the typewriter. Correct is ‘avenue’. Have ammended appropriately.
He seems to have maverickly not filed his ethical annual return for 2007, which was due on the 15th on January.
Any more news? Have you passed on Dr Obi’s address details to Irish Companies House?
le canard noir,
Ahh – all becomes clear. Mind you it’s a bit of a shame. I was enjoying some highly entertaning mental images of an Unstoppable park-dewlling Topdog, suavely akip in the bandstand and maverickly flouting the municipal bye-laws.
I wish you every success in your quest to defeat this prize loon. Google and Netcetera ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Might want to think about opposing this one?
might be related to the following?
Great information…fyi they are busy on LinkedIn and I was duped into their group and got some emails from Professor Obi. I have now withdrawn my group association. Keep up the good work.
This is a cut and paste of an e-mail exchange I had with Mr Obi that glaringly highlights his fraudulence given that I was truly seeking a legitimate discourse originally. Read it from the very bottom up as it goes sequentially that way.
“Dear Matt Storey,
Thank you very much for your recent email.
Please kindly do not contact us again ; as you do not seem to understand precisely what RCAM is about.
On 01/27/09 9:18 AM, Matt Storey wrote:
That is unfortunate that you feel that way as I would truly have an ability to swell the ranks of such an organization were it legitimate as I work with a very large network of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. Frankly I find it insulting to be shrugged off in this manner and it speaks volumes for your online detractors.
On 01/26/09 12:20 PM, Professor Joseph Obi wrote:
Dear Matt Storey,
Thank you very much for your recent email.
Please kindly do not contact us again ; as you do not seem to understand precisely what RCAM is about.
On 01/23/09 10:08 AM, Matt Storey wrote:
Dear Professor Obi,
I’m not really sure that your approach is the best as far as requiring payment to join a networking group. You have four members yet you would expect someone to pay between 1,000 to 10,000 euros just to get access to network with four people! Given the question of the integrity of the organization that you see in online threads it doesn’t bode well to counter their attacks. If it requires a payment to join the organization, fine but a payment just to join a linkediN network—no thanks.
On 01/22/09 3:20 AM, Professor Joseph Obi wrote:
Thank You for your recent message.
The reason why you cannot join the LinkedIn Group is because you are not a Member of the RCAM Professional Empowerment Programme yet.
You are also not a Fellow of RCAM at this particular moment in time.
Our weblinks are specifically designed in such a manner as to ethically ensure that only those with a genuine interest in RCAM actually get to communicate with us.
This is because we receive well over 1000 emails per week from those who are simply just hunting for free advice ; and we cannot duly cope with such exceedingly risky demands.
So please kindly visit http://www.ClinicalSchool.org for further details about joining RCAM ; from where you can expediently send us your Official RCAM Application using the online communication form.
You recently missed the Christmas 2008 Fee Reduction which expired on the 31st of December 2008 ; so you will sadly now have to pay the Full Fee.
As you are seriously involved in the Corporate Aspect of Alternative Medicine ; I strongly suggest that you apply to become a Corporate Fellow of RCAM , via the Ad Eundem Route , for a one-off Fee of €9999 ( Nine Thousand ,Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Euros). The Full Benefits of RCAM Fellowship are available at http://www.ClinicalSchool.org .
Otherwise, you may wish to join the RCAM Professional Empowerment Programme for a one-off Fee of €999 ( Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Euros) and upgrade later .The Full Benefits of the RCAM Professional Empowerment Programme are also available at http://www.ClinicalSchool.org .
All Fees are paid electronically, via Credit Card or Wire Transfer. Instalment Payment Options are also on offer too.
As you may have already gathered, RCAM will be in California (and Chicago and Florida) USA during February /March / April 2009 – to ethically promote the New Alternative Medicine Doctor Prefix Title ‘ DR(AM)’.
You are therefore very strongly advised to sort out your RCAM Corporate Fellowship Application as soon as possible , should you wish to play an exceeedingly pivotal role in our USA Operations ; and anything earn up to US$1000 per successful referral.
As soon as your application is received , it will be passed directly to me for scrutiny , interview and decision.
So please kindly follow my advice and apply for EITHER Corporate Fellowship via the Ad Eundem Route OR Membership of the RCAM PEP Initiative.
My Direct UK Phone Number is +44 7979 514 900 (as I am currently here for a conference). Feel Free to phone me as soon as you get this message ; as this will additionally grant me an opportunity to speak with you directly.
On 01/21/09 10:30 AM, Matt Storey wrote:
Hello Professor Obi,
I received the message pasted below after my request to join the RCAM group but when I go to the site and try to register it takes me back to the LinkedIn page and it does not seem to let me do any kind of actual registration. I am very involved in complementary and alternative medicine practices here in the US and actually will be in Dublin in March and would love to visit with your organization while I am there. Any suggestions or help to join the linkedin group and RCAM would be much obliged. I appreciate your time.
Thank you very much for your recent enquiry about the RCAM Professional Empowerment Programme (PEP) via : http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=47562
Please kindly visit the following web page (below) ; for further information in relation to your Query :
Once you have completed all of the necessary formalities, you will then be admitted to the group. “
This nutjob is now a car dealer selling tired old Mercedes on ebay with wildly inaccurate descriptions.
Ebay ID: alternativemedicinedoctor
I found your weblog web site on google and check just a few of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the very good operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Seeking ahead to reading more from you afterward!…
Dr Obi, if he really is a doctor tried on numerous occasions to extort money from me. It was pathetic to see how desperate he was, trying again and again.
He appears to be in South Wales now, helping protect our culture!!!
Prof Obi signed this petition in Wales:-
Which is very worthwhile of course but he gives his address as “Cardiff South and Penarth”.
On the plus side it’s nearer the Irish Republic than Gateshead.