Legal Opinion: Josip Heit, MLM Leader, Declared a Person of Public Interest!

MLM artist Josip Heit and his legal battles
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Josip Heit, domiciled in Germany, is notably engaged in multi-level marketing endeavors. Legal representations made by his Berlin-based legal counsel, Irle Moser, as documented in court filings, attest to this. Mr. Heit holds authoritative positions in several corporate entities spanning jurisdictions, including the UK, Germany, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, and Mohéli. One might pose the legal question: Does he qualify as a person of public interest?

Some Legal Considerations

A “person of public interest,” often referred to in legal contexts as a “public figure,” is an individual who has gained recognition within the broader society, typically because of their activities, achievements, or particular roles they occupy. This recognition can arise from their involvement in matters of public concern or their influence on a large segment of the population.

The US Legal System

The U.S. legal system, particularly in the context of defamation law, distinguishes between public figures and private individuals, with public figures facing a higher threshold to prove defamation. There are two categories of public figures:

  1. General Purpose Public Figures: Individuals who occupy positions of such pervasive power and influence in society that they are deemed public figures for all purposes.
  2. Limited Purpose Public Figures: Individuals who have thrust themselves into the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved.

Key Considerations under EU Law:

The term “person of public interest” is not uniformly defined across all EU member states, as the legal systems and traditions of each country play a role in shaping its precise definition. However, there are general principles and guidelines derived from European Union law, particularly from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which, while not an EU institution, has a significant influence on EU law and its member states. Below are some key considerations:

  1. Right to Privacy vs. Freedom of Expression: The concept of a “person of public interest” often arises in the context of balancing the right to privacy (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) against the freedom of expression (Article 10 of the same Convention). Public figures or persons of public interest may have a reduced expectation of privacy in certain situations, especially when their actions have implications for the public or are newsworthy.
  2. Public Role: Individuals who play a role in public life, such as politicians or high-ranking officials, are often considered persons of public interest. Their actions, decisions, and conduct can have a significant impact on society, making them subjects of legitimate public debate.
  3. Voluntary Publicity: Those who voluntarily seek publicity or willingly place themselves in the public eye, such as celebrities or influencers, may also be deemed persons of public interest.
  4. Public Interest: Not to be confused with the term in question, but the notion of “public interest” plays a role in determining whether someone is a person of public interest. If the public has a legitimate interest in being informed about an individual’s actions or affairs, that individual might be considered a person of public interest.

Upon careful examination of both the United States and European Union jurisprudence, it is evident that individuals who actively engage with the public through press publications and social media platforms may be classified as persons of public interest. Consequently, their actions and representations in these capacities are deemed to serve the public interest.

A General Legal Opinion

A leader of a company or a scheme with worldwide activities, especially if that company or scheme has a significant impact on the public or is involved in matters of public concern, would likely qualify as a person of public interest. Their position inherently places them in a role of influence and visibility.

Furthermore, if such a leader is also a public speaker, regularly addressing the public or media, they further solidify their status as a public figure. Their statements, actions, and decisions can have wide-reaching implications, making their activities a matter of public interest.

In light of the above, it is reasonable to conclude that a leader of a globally active company, especially one who also engages in public speaking, would qualify as a person of public interest or a public figure, at least in the context of U.S. law.

Some US Reference Cases

  1. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964): This landmark U.S. Supreme Court case established the “actual malice” standard for defamation claims brought by public officials, laying the groundwork for subsequent decisions related to public figures.
  2. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323 (1974): In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court further clarified the distinction between public figures and private individuals in defamation law, introducing the concept of the “limited purpose public figure.”

Preliminary Conclusion About Josip Heit

Josip Heit, a resident of Germany, has been identified in various media outlets as a principal figure associated with global multi-level marketing (MLM) endeavors, including but not limited to G999, Swiss Valorum Bank (formerly known as GSPartners), and Lydian.World, a metaverse with more than 570,000 citizens. In relation to these ventures, Josip Heit has been documented as a keynote speaker at numerous international events.

Josip Heit and Sophia Thomalla

Moreover, Mr. Heit has been depicted in official communications, such as press releases (refer to the specific press release concerning G999 or this one regarding criminal complaints in the G999 context), public investor recommendations (see here), and across social media platforms as a pioneering leader in his field. In 2020, Josip Heit joined TV celebrity and influencer Sophia Thomalla in front of the media to promote his G999 blockchain. Notably, these communications often target individual consumers, suggesting an intent on Josip Heit‘s part to present himself prominently to the general public.

It is also pertinent to note that various financial regulatory bodies have issued warnings concerning the MLM operations associated with Mr. Heit, underscoring the public’s vested interest in these ventures from a financial perspective. Given these considerations and in light of the legal standards of multiple jurisdictions, it is reasonable to classify Josip Heit as a “Public Figure” within the legal context.

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