Elton John was not libeled by the Times of London in two articles about tax evasion, the British High Court ruled
Elton John was not libeled by the Times of London in two articles about tax evasion, the British High Court ruled Thursday.
The singer had filed suit earlier this year after the News Corp.-owned broadsheet published the series on "The Secrets of Tax Avoiders" in June.
A June 21 story headlined "Screen Play: How movie millions are moved offshore" said that John's former accountant was Patrick McKenna, the CEO of British media investment firm Ingenious Media, whom the paper said was involved in investment schemes aimed at skirting British taxes.
McKenna never worked for the "Bennie and the Jets" singer and was never caught up in any tax evasion conspiracy, and the Times published a correction the next day, clarifying both facts.
The newspaper's lawyer, Manuel Barca, argued that the references to John were "fleeting" and clearly stated that any association with McKenna was in the past.
While the judge said in his decision that John should accept the printed correction, he rejected the claim that the words in the story implied that John avoided taxes, saying it was "lacking any possible basis."
The U.K., notorious for what some call its "libel tourism," frequently rules in favor of plaintiffs in action against publishers.
Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. CEO who owns the Times, sounded off about his anger that the lawsuit even occurred.
"British libel laws limit freedom of expression everywhere," he tweeted. "Hope [Prime Minister David] Cameron keeps his promise of major reform, but not holding breath."
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