Friday, August 07, 2009

private eye piece about Economist libel case

Type your summary here

Type rest of the post here


metsavend said...

Lucas, it is shame YOu do not publish full text of this interesting article.

Legal hacks gathered at the Royal Courts of Justice on 28th July for
what promised to be one of the biggest libel cases in years. For
months rumour-mongers had been muttering that Shillings, the Russian oligarchy's favourite law firm, was going to sting the Economist for extraordinary damages.

Envious lawyers predicted that Shillings partners would be buying
yachts on the back of their monster claim on behalf of the oil tycoon
Gennadi Timtchenko. Nervous jouranlists whispered that the Russians
could close the Economist.

As events turned out it wasn't the Economist that closed but
Timchenko's case against it, which barely lasted a morning.
Timchenko's lawyers first asked for a postponement and then announced
that they had reached a settlement. Bemused onlookers jumped out of
the way as the Economist's normally strait-laced journalists charged
like a herd of crazed wildebeest out of the court to the Chez Gerard
bistro on Chancery Lane and downed enough champagne to fill a Siberian
oil pipeline.

Although the settlement dictates that all sides must remain silent it
is easy to infer that the truth behind the riotous celebrations was
that the Economist had seen off the most determined effort yet by the
Russian super-rich to exploit England's authoritarian libel laws.

The Economist had put Timchenko's name under the headline "Grease my
palm,-- Bribery and corrupton are endemic in Russia" and that was more
than enough for Schillings to say the magazine was accusing its client
of corruption.

Its Russian correspondents were taken off newsgathering as the
Economist threw all its investigative resources into defending a libel
claim that threatened to bankrup it. Its efforts were closely followed
by Russia-watchers inside and outside government, who have long been
intrigued by the multi-billionaire Timchenko, now a Finnish citizen. He
vigorously and expensively contests any suggestion that his company's
remarkable success in trading Russian oil has anything to do with
Kremlin connections.

The Wall St Journal and others found no evidence of illegality, though
they have also noted that Gunvor's ultimate beneficial ownershp and
the destination of its vast profits - the company had revenues of
$70bn last year - are unclear.

The Economist filed a very robust defence indeed. Instead of flying to
London to pick up easy money, Timchenko faced the prospect of a long
fight, and the possibility that fresh revelation would be made in open
court. He ran away from the confrontation.

You only had to look at the exhausted waiters carrying bottle after
botle to the Economist's table to realise that the magazine had won a
magnificent victory. But what of Schillings?

The day before the case began, Timchenko's private jet landed at
Biggin Hill His "people" watched the shambles in the high court. They
also read the Economist's long defence document lodged at the high
court and will have had to report to their master that, far from
stopping investigations into his interests, the libel action had
unearthed new lines of inquiry.

All Schillings's threats and billable hours merely produced an anodyne
"clarification" in the current issue of the Economist, which offers no
apology and makes no mention of paying a penny in costs or damages. In
a carefully worded statement, the Economist just disowns allegations
it had never made.

Unknown said...

Hadn't checked this blog in a long time but... my god Lucas, you even have links to the very tellingly titled blog of 'La Russophobe', full of xenophobic remarks. Is that were you get your sources?

It says a lot about your credibility as a journalist (and that of the economist) the kind of extremist connections you have. Congrats!