Five more major magazines published by Media24 have been suspended by
the Audit Bureau of Circulations for inflating their sales numbers, writes Borrie la Grange in The Times.
The massive scam was uncovered after a routine audit by the ABC revealed irregularities in the groupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s magazine circulation numbers. All 12 affected titles have been suspended by the ABC.
Other Media24 magazines were earlier found to have inflated sales numbers, including FairLady and True Love.
Forensic auditors now believe they have come to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe bottom of the rotÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â in the scam, which stretches back at least two years and affects 12 popular magazines ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â including MenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Health and Sports Illustrated.
This could see up to nine senior magazine managers facing possible criminal charges, and publishing giant Media24 shelling out millions in refunds to advertisers.
Media24 yesterday announced that the employees ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â six at its womenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s magazine division and three at subsidiary Touchline Media ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â have their heads on the block after 12 magazinesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ sales figures were ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdishonestly manipulatedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to inflate them.
Media24 Magazines owns 60 titles, including You, Huisgenoot and Drum, and claims to sell more than 5.9 million magazines a month.
Circulation figures are vital for wooing advertisers in the publishing industry.
Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times' website.