E-pistle 2007/006 – The Italian Whisky Mafia

By Joep van Drunen, Holland

Whisky is popular. Unbelievable popular. And once whisky became popular, it started to overload Ebay too. Everybody happy, you could buy beautiful whiskies for a good price. However, the problem for me were the quite high sales fees at Ebay (too expensive) and the fact that they had no proper category for liquor, including whisky. Let me think, what was it? Listed in category:

Collectibles > Bottles & Insulators > Bottles >
Modern (1900-Now) > Whiskeys: Screw Top.

In the country where kids get killed because they find a gun of their father, it is illegal to sell collectible whiskies. The bottle is no problem, but the contents are not allowed. In February 2005 my own small auction site saw the light: www.whiskybay.com. First bottles where my own of course. After that slowly some others started to auction and sell.  And then suddenly a whole bunch of Macallan, Springbank, CC’s and so on appeared. Although Italian sellers, there was no doubt at first because their name was new and some also sold on Ebay with positive feedback.

After approximately 1,5 years there were some members who told me that they bought suspicious bottles.
One of them was sure it was a fake. I started to investigate some sellers and auctions and found out they were frauds.
On Wednesday 23 august 2006 a newsletter was sent with the announcement of a Blacklist. The list would be public, and contain some persons I found to be frauds. A day after the newsletter was sent, I got a disturbing email from Luc Timmermans of the malt maniacs. He told me that a friend of him, Geert, bought a fake CC Ardbeg bottle from a seller called ‘Oldbottles’.
It was sold on my site. It turned out to be a fake;

• Painted gold screwcap
• Copied label
• Mismatches and types on the label

I acted immediately: I banned all the IP addresses in the database from Italy. Searched for all the Italian members and blocked them. After that I started to compare telephone numbers and addresses. And after a “reverse” search on the internet, I managed to build a “fraud matrix” for Whiskybay. As everybody can see on that overview, strange things are going on.

Sergio Borroni is well known to the Malt Maniacs. Nevila is the same man. Or is he the companion?
Sergio is the former owner of Mondowhisky.com. As Nevila, he uses the email address info@mondowhisky.com.
So that is enough evidence. They are one. All the telephone numbers are the same and used on my site.

Marco and Anna are 2 persons or Anna is also someone with multiple personalities… Looking at the telephone numbers they all gave, the addresses could be traced with a reverse method of searching. The strange thing is the totally different name on the address found in Italy. Or is it not that strange? BAMBI RENZO? One of the names used in a email is MarcoBambi. That is funny, isn’t?

The people mentioned here are quite close to each other (I mean in Italy). Are they friends? Companions maybe?
After my newsletter I decided to send a “broadcast” (multiple message) to the people above. After that I tried to contact them. Telephones are working, but not answered. Emails are not replied to. They are aware of the blacklist that is now on WhiskyBay. Here a short piece of an email I got from our friend Sergio: “My number it is 50013 and the other is 50100 and I want to hope for law on the privacy that my personal data have been only used for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

Let’s do a little “Sherlock Holmes”. He is talking about his number (postal code). He says his own number is 50013 and not 50100. Okay, that can be true. BUT, we know that Sergio is the former owner of mondowhisky. Look at the postal code given by rossoferrari (info@mundowhisky .com): 50013 !  Anna and Marco have the same problems keeping things apart. In the database I can see lots of different postal codes, but all addresses are the same. I am 100% certain that these people know each other and are frauds.

The strange thing about the bottle Geert bought is that it was sold by “oldbottles” (Nevila or Sergio).
The name on the address Geert got is:  NICOLA ALIVODAJ, VIA CORTI 1, 50013 CAMPI BISENZIO (FI), ITALIA.
This name was never used on my website. It is Nevila. Another thing is that, if you look closer to my matrix, Oldbottles is using postal code 50100 on the website, BUT says in his email to Geert that his postal code is 50013. Puzzled?

Nevila = Sergio Berroni = Nicola Alivodaj!

Regarding my site and Ebay: The people mentioned in my fraud matrix are also operating on Ebay.
At least I am trying to fight whisky fraud, Ebay won’t. At the moment I am writing this, another big fraud case is investigated.
Italian again? No, Dutch I am afraid….. to be continued.