A shadowy company linked to Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has stopped marketing software designed to infringe copyright after a complaint to criminal prosecutors. The move comes in the wake of a letter from Labour MP Steve McCabe to the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, and the Metropolitan Police, asking for the firm to be investigated for possible fraud and copyright violations.
The TrafficPaymaster software, sold by Shapps-linked How To Corp, generates potentially large levels of advertising revenue by “scraping” content from other websites in order to attract internet traffic. But visitors to TrafficPaymaster.com are now asked for a username and password — suggesting that the company has stopped actively marketing the product, opting to serve only its existing user base.
With pressure growing on the Tory chairman — who was appointed less than two weeks ago — a Labour source told Scrapbook:
“We want to hear the views of the Crown Prosecution Service as soon as possible.”
Shapps has thus far dodged the bullet by virtue of transferring ownership of How To Corp to his wife before he became a minister. But eyebrows have been raised at the credibility of this ruse — given that Belinda Shapps has described herself as a “social media novice”.
Shapps is suspected of continued involvement with the outfit using the pseudonyms “Michael Green” and “Sebastian Fox”.