First Published: 2008-04-23

Guardian, Observer agree to remove defamatory articles on British tycoon

British sister publications agree to withdraw inaccurate reports on Nadhmi Auchi.


Middle East Online

Tracking even the search engines

LONDON – British sister newspapers The Guardian and The Observer have agreed to delete six articles on British tycoon Nadhmi Auchi from their Web content and databases as part of a settlement in a defamation case.

The British papers also pledged to contact Web search engines to inform them of the articles’ removal.

In a letter from Guardian Media Group, the company’s legal counsel acknowledged the six articles contained “significant inaccuracies” and asked search engines to remove all links and hyperlinks to them.

The articles, which were first published in 2003, made a number of false claims about Auchi.

The British papers also promised not to republish the six articles, after pledging to pay a substantial sum in relation to Auchi’s legal costs in the defamation case.

Internationally renowned law firm, Carter-Ruck handled the case. Partner, Alasdair Pepper said “It took the issue of proceedings for the Guardian to agree to stop publishing the articles, but they are now down and the matter resolved. Another publisher is now shortly to be sued over false material it is publishing on the internet, having failed to heed a warning letter. A fulsome apology, injunction and substantial damages will be sought against it.”

It is not the first time a British newspaper falsely published allegations about the tycoon. The Sunday Times and Mail On Sunday apologised to Auchi for wrongly reporting in 2005 that he was embroiled in an investigation in the United States.

The Sunday Times said that its report was based on an internal United States Department of Defense report that was subsequently discredited.

The Financial Times, too, apologised to Auchi for making mistakes in an article published on 11 November 2003, which linked him to alleged corrupt practices in a mobile phone contract deal in Iraq.

Il Mondo, a leading Italian weekly business magazine, also acknowledged earlier this week that it had published allegations that were “wholly false.” A representative from Schillings, Auchi’s London-based law firm in the case, said: “This was an interesting case because although Il Mondo is based in Italy it is still liable pursuant to English law to the extent that the content of its Web site is accessible here.” Schillings is a leading UK law firm protecting the reputations of high-profile individuals, corporations, and brands.

In recognition of Auchi’s extensive business, charitable and humanitarian activities around the world, he has received 8 awards and honorary appointments, including a number of Royal and state decorations, such as the Coat of Arms from Queen Elizabeth II.

Auchi is also the president of the Anglo-Arab Organisation (AAO), a non-profit group that promotes the integration of British Arabs into mainstream British society, whilst retaining their identity.

The AAO philanthropy achievements include donations to charities, humanitarian causes and scientific research.


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