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Wikileaks claims news organisations pressured to remove articles on billionaire fraudster

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Documents recently made public by the Internet site Wikileaks reveal that several large newspapers have removed or censored content related to the Iraqi-British fraudster Nadhmi Auchi, who has been publicly linked to Barack Obama via payments to former fundraiser, Antino "Tony" Rezko . A Guardian article, which no longer exists, stated that Auchi is also linked to senior members of the UK Labour Party.

Wikinews has confirmed that at least some of the articles involved definitely previously existed but have now been removed, including from newspapers that usually keep all of their articles online.

A New Statesman article included the Wikileaks documents confirms that "Mr Auchi's lawyers have written to ask us to remove the names of the articles concerned", and that this is what lead them to remove the content. The New Statesman removed a list of censored articles regarding the incident after receiving complaints.

The articles were taken down following letters from the Carter-Ruck law firm, which points out on its website that "A libel claimant does not have to prove that the words are false or to prove that he has in fact suffered any loss. Damage is presumed.”

One of the removed articles was published by The Guardian. It pointed out Auchi's "past links to Saddam Hussein's regime." It also said, "[a]ttempts by a French investigating magistrate to have Mr Auchi arrested during corruption inquiries had been blocked by Britain since July 2001." The article also claimed that Auchi may have had a role in the channeling of GBP 28 million to a Kuwaiti oil refinery.

Several articles published by The Observer, the sister paper of the Guardian, were also removed after reporting similar facts to the above.

In addition, an article published by The Daily Telegraph was deleted. It reported on "France's longest-running political and corporate corruption scandal," which resulted on a two year suspended sentence for Auchi.

Sources

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.