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Elton John loses libel case against Murdoch-owned The Times

By Daniel S Levine,

Musician Elton John lost his libel lawsuit against The Times, a paper owned by Rupert Murdoch.

In June, The Times ran a story on a tax avoidance scheme with the headline “Screen Play: how movie millions are moved offshore,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The article mentioned Ingenious Media executive Patrick McKenna and claimed that McKenna was the “Crocodile Rock” singer’s main accountant. McKenna also happens to be involved in two major film investment schemes. Another story mentioned John’s connection to McKenna.

John wrote a letter to the paper, saying that he did hire an accounting firm where McKenna once worked, but he never met the man.

The Guardian reports that The Times published a correction a day later, clarifying that McKenna was never John’s accountant. A second correction said that Ingenious Media never had anything to do with the tax avoidance schemes.

However, John still sued for libel, saying that the corrections weren’t given the same importance as the original story. He claimed that it was “severely damaging” to his reputation.

But on Wednesday, High Court justice Michael Tugendhat didn’t agree. “The conclusion I have reached is that the words complained of are not capable of bearing the meaning attributed to them by the claimant or any other defamatory meaning,” the judge said.

After the verdict, Murdoch commented on libel on Twitter, writing, “British libel laws limit freedom of expression everywhere. Hope Cameron keeps his promise of major reform, but not holding breath.”

 
 

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