Sir Elton fails in challenge with Times over tax claims

November 2012



The High Court in London has rejected a libel claim brought by Sir Elton John against the Times newspaper after he was mentioned in one of the broadsheet’s tax avoidance exposés earlier in 2012. The singer’s financial affairs were referenced in a June report into the legal but arguably unethical schemes employed by some of the rich and famous to avoid paying taxes but the article also claimed, incorrectly, that John had engaged the services of the chief of Ingenious Media, Patrick McKenna, to work as his accountant in regards to a tax avoidance scheme. The next day the paper issued clarification that McKenna had never acted as John’s accountant, and the following month issued a second clarification stating that Ingenious had never offered to move money offshore for the singer. John sued The Times for defamation, claiming that the articles were “severely damaging” to his reputation and charity work. However, Mr Justice Tugendhat disagreed, ruling that, contrary to Sir Elton’s claims, he does not believe that the average Times reader would have inferred that the singer was, or was reasonably believed to be, involved in tax avoidance from the broadsheet’s report saying that “the words complained of are not capable of bearing the meaning attributed to them by the claimant or any other defamatory meaning”. Sir Elton was ordered to pay the Times’ costs, estimated at £10,000, and was refused leave to appeal although has 21 days to seek permission from the Court of Appeal.

No Comments

Comments are closed.