Sir Elton John sues The Times over tax story
- 7 August 2012
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
Sir Elton John is suing The Times for libel over articles he says falsely linked him to immoral tax avoidance.
In two articles by-lined "the secrets of tax avoiders", the Times stated Patrick McKenna of Ingenious Media was Sir Elton's former accountant.
Papers filed at the High Court said the article implied Sir Elton had been advised to engage in tax avoidance.
The Times has already published a correction, acknowledging that McKenna had never been the star's accountant.
However, Sir Elton's lawyers described the correction, published on 22 June, as "wholly inadequate".
They said the four-line apology did not have equal prominence to the original articles, which appeared on pages one and six of the newspaper, adding that it "deliberately ignored the defamatory impact" of the original article.
William McCormick QC stated in Sir Elton's writ that the pop star was concerned about the effect of the Times articles on his charity work.
"The allegations are particularly damaging to the claimant's reputation in the sphere of charity fundraising," he said.
Sir Elton's lawyers said the articles caused their client "severe damage to his reputation and personal distress and embarrassment" and they would be seeking damages for "the sense of insult and injury".
In the original articles, published on 21 June, The Times had discussed the use of film finance partnerships arranged by Ingenious Media, where Mr McKenna is CEO.
But last month, The Times issued a clarification: "We have been asked to make clear that the film finance partnerships arranged by Ingenious Media, whose CEO is Patrick McKenna, do not offer schemes of this type and they have not been involved in moving money offshore to avoid tax.
"It was not our intention to make such an allegation and we are happy to make the position clear."
The Times has lodged an application with the court to determine whether or not the article is defamatory.
Sir Elton was not available for comment at the time of writing.