Clearstream wins money laundering libel case

Clearstream wins money laundering libel case

International depository Clearstream has won a critical court case against French journalist Denis Roberts, publishing house Les Arenes and cable network Canal+ over unfounded allegations of money laundering

The Paris court, Le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, has ordered damages to be paid to Clearstream over allegations initially made by Roberts in his book Revelation$, and since aired on French TV by Canal+, which claimed to lift the lid on an illicit money laundering network operated by the depository on behalf of international banks and corporations.

The court rejected the evidence and witness statements provided in support of the claims by former Clearstream staffers Regis Hempel and Ernest Backes, who had alleged that the Luxembourg-based clearer operated a list of confidential accounts and software for covertly laundering large sums of money on behalf of clients.

As well as awarding damages to Clearstream (capped at EUR1 under French law), the court ordered the final judgment to be printed in two newspapers with an insertion explaining the defamatory nature of the material.

The case closes a long-running saga that has dogged Clearstream since the publication of Revelation$ and led to the dismissal of former CEO Andre Lussi.

Criminal prosecutors in Luxembourg dropped an investigation into Clearstream last year after finding insufficient evidence to support the claims, but have since stepped up their prosecution of Lussi. He is due to appear before three judges in Luxembourg's Chambres du Conseil in May when he will learn whether he will be formally charged with any crimes.

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