Blow to libel tourism as court throws out claims of corruption and crime in Eastern Europe because judges believed they had little connection to Britain

Daily Mail

The trend for foreigners to have libel disputes settled in Britain could soon be a thing of the past following a landmark High Court decision.

Britain is a popular destination for so-called libel tourism because complainants believe they have more chance of winning a case in our legal system.

But yesterday, two libel cases involving allegations of corruption and crime in Eastern Europe were thrown out by judges because they were deemed to have little connection to Britain.

The decisions were hailed as a victory against libel tourism, which has become an embarrassment to Britain after a number of US states introduced laws enabling their courts to refuse to enforce defamation judgements handed down here.

One of the two cases was brought by a former Moscow policeman against City fund chief William Browder, chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management, who said he had covered up a £150million fraud by causing the torture and murder of a prisoner.

But Mr Justice Simon said that the policeman, Paul Karpov, had no established reputation in Britain and so could not have suffered harm from the allegations. ‘The connection with this country is limited to the presence of some of the parties and it being the place where some of the defamatory material was, and continues to be, published,’ he said.

The judge said that there had been denunciations of the murder in America and Europe, but in Russia the official view was there was no reason for an international response to a fraud against the Russian state and the death of a Russian citizen.

The second case was brought by a Serbian tobacco baron, Stanko Subotic, who was accused by banker Ratko Knezevic of murder, drug smuggling and altering his appearance with plastic surgery. Only one copy of the newspaper which carried the allegations, Politika, found in Britain.

Mr Justice Dingemans said Subotic had suffered no damage in England and Wales and that even though there had been ‘minimal’ internet publication, the case was not ‘worth the candle’.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens, part of the legal team that successfully saw the Russian case thrown out, said it was ‘a truly landmark judgment’. ‘Crooks, brigands and oligarchs will be discouraged from the abuse of British courts,’ he said.

In California politicians agreed they needed a law to ‘pressure foreign jurisdictions like Britain to change its laws to place greater protections on free speech’, after US writer Rachel Ehrenfeld was held to have libelled Saudi businessman Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz in her book on the financing of terrorism in 2003. The book was not published in Britain, but Mr Justice Eady ordered her to pay damages of £30,000 because 23 copies had been distributed in this country over the internet. займ на карту займ онлайн https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php https://www.zp-pdl.com unshaven girl

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