Aron, Stephan and Christian Steinkeller have been outed as clients of the Eliminalia reputation management agency.
Eliminalia is notoriously known for their blackhat approach to “erasing” their client’s past.
The Steinkellers were outed as Eliminalia clients via a leaked documents obtained by Forbidden Stories.
Forbidden Stories cite themselves as a
network of journalists whose mission is to protect, pursue and publish the work of other journalists facing threats, prison, or murder.
Eliminalia is a Spanish company run by founder Diego “Didac” Sanchez (right)
Thankfully the Steinkellers or Eliminalia didn’t resort to prison or murder. Instead they targeted coverage of their illegal exploits via threats and manipulation.
The Steinkellers were top earners in the notorious $4 billion dollar OneCoin Ponzi scheme.
The brothers promoted the scam through “One Dream Team” branding.
In 2021 news broke that the Steinkellers had been indicted in Italy on OneCoin related charges.
That same year a shell company paid Eliminalia €38,000 euros on the Steinkellers’ behalf.
As reported by Forbidden Stories, tactics used by Eliminalia include:
- impersonating European Union officials;
- abusing GDPR laws; and
- filing bogus DMCA claims (supported by fabricated backdated articles)
Based on the data they’ve reviewed, Forbidden Stories claims Eliminia successfully removed articles from “hundreds of journalists” between 2015 and 2021.
Eliminalia claims its services remove “unwanted and erroneous information” for clients with a “right to be forgotten,” but nearly 50,000 internal company documents leaked to Forbidden Stories contradict this narrative.
The files show how Eliminalia worked for scammers, spyware companies, torturers, convicted criminals, corrupt politicians and others in the global underworld to hide public-interest information.
Previous reporting, including by Rest of World, identified some of Eliminalia’s clients – but this leak, which includes confidential emails, client names, contracts and other legal documents – gives a fuller understanding of the opaque company’s operations.
In addition to targeting legitimate media coverage of his clients,
Sánchez and his business partner José María Hill Prados also run at least 50 companies globally, including a surrogacy company facing litigation for child trafficking.
Outfits like Eliminalia are able to do what they do due to outdated DMCA laws and well-intentioned but asinine European GDPR laws.
Data protection laws, Eliminalia and other firms realized, could be weaponized to remove content from the internet. Two laws – the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and GDPR – were easily exploitable.
As part of the coverage of the leaked Eliminalia files, OCCRP reached out to the Steinkellers for comment. They declined.
Forbidden Stories reached out to Eliminalia for comment. They also declined.
Upon learning of pending coverage of their exploits, Eliminalia quickly rebranded as Idata Protection.
Company filings reviewed by Forbidden Stories confirm the rebrand, possibly resulting from investigations by journalists and researchers that generated negative press.
But when two members of the consortium visited the office, an employee said, “the company is called Idata Protection, but we belong to Eliminalia.”
Sánchez, the founder, was no longer in Barcelona, according to the employee.
If you’re wondering whether BehindMLM was targeted by the Steinkellers and Eliminalia, I do recall receiving some GDPR nonsense related to the Steinkellers.
Although they’ve mostly dried up, scammers in Europe still sometimes try on the ruse. I only keep correspondence sent by lawyers so if what I’m remembering was sent by Eliminalia, it would have been cookie-cutter enough for me to just respond to and delete.
I did note one July 2021 notice archived on Lumen Database. Sent from “Global News” and filed as a bogus DMCA notice against BehindMLM’s original reporting on the Steinkellers abandoning OneCoin, I believe this is probably the work of Eliminalia.
For reference, BehindMLM unilaterally declines to act on any bogus GDPR requests.