Tory party chairman Grant Shapps posed as a web guru named Michael Green to sell get-rich-quick advice over the internet, it’s been alleged.
According to the Independent, Shapps is being investigated by the advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Shapps is alleged to have misled the public by presenting “Michael Green” as a genuine businessman with a personal fortune of £17 million who was happy to reveal the secrets of his success and personal wealth.
Shapps, who is in David Cameron’s coalition cabinet, claimed that he used the fake name to keep his business interests separate from his political life.
Apparently Shapps’ online business HowToCorp.com is now owned by his wife Belinda and he has nothing to do with it. The fact that he showed up at a $3,000-a-head conference in a Las Vegas hotel wearing a badge with the name Michael Green has nothing to do with it.
The ASA said that it will also probe testimonies that endorsed the claims of Green and another supposed successful businessman, “Sebastian Fox”, to see whether or not they are genuine.
But the ASA will look at whether claims made by HowToCorp’s “Green”, who has told potential customers of his $28m fortune and ownership of two high-end luxury aircraft and offered to disclose his business tips in the advice manuals advertised by the firm, are misleading.
Just before he was promoted into Cameron’s shadow cabinet, it’s alleged that “Green” used the website and for advice sessions that charged callers $300 an hour.
In 2007, Green claimed that audiences could “make $20,000 in 20 days guaranteed or your money back” if they bought his software for $200.
Since his missus took over HowToCorp has been branded as “Sebastian Fox’s HowToCorp”.
The ASA says that if Michael Green and Seb Fox are not “genuine businessmen and real people” then sanctions could be bought in.
Shapps told a local hack that the complaint received by the ASA was “spurious”.
Google last month blacklisted a network of websites run by Mr Shapps’ family for supposed breaches of its rules on copyright.