ALEX NEUMANN AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3280

Council Meeting: JUNE 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Principle: Privacy

Ruling Categories:

Overview

[1] On 9 May 2022, Stuff published a story with the headline, Infamous conman Wayne Eaglesome now German ‘millionaire’ Alex Neumann. It reported that Eaglesome, who had more than 250 convictions and about 40 aliases, had been spotted in Turkey using the name Alex Neumann, and claiming to own $90 million in bitcoin. The story included a photograph of a page from Neumann’s passport showing his photograph, date of birth and passport number. Neumann complained to the Media Council that this was a violation of his privacy and would enable others to use his passport to commit fraud.

[2] Stuff replied that there was an overwhelming public interest in sharing his identity with a wider audience to ensure others were not tricked into trusting him. 

[3] The Media Council agrees with Stuff that this story about a convicted fraudster is in the public interest. Principle 2: Privacy, states in part “the right of privacy should not interfere with publication of significant matters of public record or public interest”. The public has a right to know what the complainant looks like and details about his current alias, in the hope that others might avoid being defrauded by him. No principles have been breached. 

[4] There were insufficient grounds to proceed with this complaint.

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