Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trafigura again

My third post in a row about this; sorry. I have got really worked up by a company which allegedly caused 15 deaths and injured thousands of innocent people in the Ivory Coast; then attempted to subvert the reporting of parliamentary proceedings in the UK. Check out their Wikipedia entry - apparently they have also gamed the legal establishment in The Netherlands, preventing relevant evidence reaching the victims in their London suit for compensation (an agreement in this case was reached last month).

Trafigura are suing the BBC news programme Newsnight for libel.

I quote directly from Carter-Ruck's (Trafigura's lawyers) press release announcing this lawsuit, dated 15th May 2009 and currently available on Carter-Ruck's website:

"Speaking today, a Trafigura spokesman said:

“Trafigura has today brought libel proceedings against the BBC over its Newsnight broadcast. This decision was not taken lightly.

Trafigura has always accepted that the Probo Koala ‘incident’ is a matter of public interest and has never objected to the media reporting on it responsibly. However, the BBC’s one-sided reports on 13 May were wildly inaccurate and libellous, leaving us with no choice but to take legal action. There was no justification or public interest in the BBC misleading its viewers in this way.

Trafigura has always denied that the slops caused the deaths and serious health consequences presented by the BBC – a position fully supported by independent expert evidence which will be presented to the Court in due course. As the BBC is well aware, these matters are already the subject of a personal injury action currently taking place in London. It is deeply regrettable that the BBC felt it appropriate to prejudge those proceedings in this sensationalist and inaccurate way.”

The trouble is, this statement appears to be in conflict with the Minton Report. The Minton Report was commissioned by Waterson & Hicks, another law firm acting on behalf of Trafigura, in the aftermath of the Ivory Coast disaster. Basically, the company was attempting to ascertain privately whether the human tragedy in Abidjan could possibly have been attributed to the dumping of slops from Trafigura's ship MT Probo Koala. And the short answer appears to be yes (check out the link above, it's a very interesting document).

The thing is, the Minton report is dated 14th September 2006. In large part it contradicts the press release quoted above, issued 15th May 2009.

Newsnight's 13 May 2009 report

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it darkly hilarious that CarterRuck are still not allowing news agencies to report the contents of the Milton report despite the fact it's freely available online. Surely even these self-serving, greedy pricks are going to realise that.

I agree that the report is highly suggestive ofvthe fact that the deaths and Trafigura's behaviour could well be linked, which is presumably what C-R are scared of. However, their pathetic corporate (alleged!) cover-up is in the public domain now, so I await the next development in this with baited breath.

It was truly excellent to see the power of Twitter force them to back down :D