Paul Blanchard, a UK PR guru for the rich and famous, is not feeling very well these days. He’s taken legal action against The Times, the UK's newspaper of record. The Times, on June 6 published "PR guru Paul Blanchard 'wasted charity money and failed to pay his staff'" (paywall), which included a laundry list of accusations:
A second story "PR boss Paul Blanchard taped saying he did not like Jews" (paywall), published July 29 in The Times states that Blanchard was recorded making both antisemitic and anti-gay comments. Blanchard’s explanation to The Times was "I said it to 'win' the dare, not to be homophobic or antisemitic. If you hear the recording you can clearly tell I am being ironic, and mocking people who hold these views."
Similar stories were published by The Sun ("NO HONOUR, PR firm boasted it could ‘win Damehood for celebrity author for £80,000’ in leaked emails") and Pink News ("PR boss claims it’s 'ridiculous' to say he’s homophobic or antisemitic after being recorded saying he 'doesn't like gays or Jews'").
The Signpost will not add to Blanchard’s troubles, beyond noting that his firm ran a Wikipedia paid editing service and did not have its paid editors declare their paid status. The surprising part of the website which advertised their service is that it used the name and a photo of Jimmy Wales, apparently to promote the paid editing service. The website is archived here.
After The Signpost emailed Wales about the matter, Wales contacted Blanchard, and the website was removed within a few hours. Following multiple requests for comment to Blanchard and his office, we were informed that Blanchard was unable to respond for the next week, on the advice of his doctor.
Wirecard was a payment processor, currently being liquidated, which discovered in June that it did not have €2 billion in its bank accounts. The money may never have been received and existed only as a bookkeeping entry.
According to The Wall Street Journal "Germany Asks Russia to Help Find Former Wirecard Executive" (paywall) the former CEO was arrested in late June and released on a €5 million bond. Later, he was re-arrested on fraud charges. Two other executives were also arrested and others are under investigation. The former COO is believed to be hiding in Russia. One aspect of the collapse is especially interesting: the company appeared to not only invent cash in their bank accounts from thin air, but also padded their list of business partners, according to The Wall Street Journal, "Wirecard Boasted of Hundreds of Partnerships. Some Were Less Than Meets the Eye" (paywall). News releases announcing new partnerships were demanded regularly by Wirecard executives. The WSJ states "Some (employees) joked internally that these releases were Wirecard’s real product."
Did this "product" include Wikipedia editing by Wirecard employees? Apparently so. User:Wirecard AG and User:Wirecard both edited Wikipedia's Wirecard article. Neither were very successful, with User:Wirecard AG making a single edit where he removed criticism of the firm sourced to the Financial Times. User:Wirecard, who changed his username to User:John from Wirecard, only made eleven edits, the first of which was a complete rewriting of the article, dropping over a dozen names of purported partners and listing 18 subsidiaries. He was blocked for using a promotional username. In his unblock request on his user page he stated that
I am a Wirecard employee and have never used and will never use this transparently named "Wirecard" account for anything other than a) a logo update (which I tried to do here) or b) to update current business numbers that have been officially declared in Wirecard's annual report. I have never and will never make any changes to any text on Wikipedia.
which obviously included some false information. He was then indefinitely blocked for promotional editing.
Wikipedia's administrators appeared to react quickly in this case. But did they catch all the Wirecard employees who were editing the article? It's impossible to say, but it should be noted that the article was largely promotional into late June, even after the firm had filed for insolvency, see e.g. this version. (Disclosure: Smallbones has edited the Wirecard article since late June).
Ghislaine Maxwell was Jeffrey Epstein's longtime companion, girlfriend, and allegedly a sex criminal who procured teenage girls for Epstein. She apparently sent us a photo in 2011. See this Signpost report for information on Epstein's possible editing of Wikipedia.
the source and the author were both listed as "Ghislaine Maxwell", even though it’s unlikely that the photo is a selfie. The next day an OTRS request was received, with the ticket confirmed on August 11. Based on the request the OTRS volunteer changed the source to "I.Maxwell" - which is the same initial and surname as those of two siblings of Ghislaine. On the same date, Padbob1 added the photo to the article and removed a reference to an article in the Daily Mail which contained accusations of sex crimes and possible "sessions with teenage masseuses" with Prince Andrew. That was the last of Padbob1's five edits on Wikipedia, which were all on the Ghislaine Maxwell article.uploaded a 2007 photo of Ghislaine Maxwell on August 1, 2011. Confusingly