|Elton reports Times to Leveson Inquiry
Thursday, July 5 2012
Elton John has reported The Times to the Leveson Inquiry after it falsely linked the singer to a controversial tax-avoidance scheme.
Elton’s lawyers Carter-Ruck said their client was “outraged” at the broadsheet’s claims that Patrick McKenna, who reportedly provides film investment schemes that generate millions of pounds of tax relief, was his former accountant. Describing Elton as a former client of McKenna “creates the clear impression to readers that Sir Elton himself is suspected of having invested in one of Mr McKenna’s tax avoidance scheme,” the firm said in a letter sent to The Times seen by Press Gazette. “Nowhere in the coverage does it make clear that our client did not invest in any venture run by McKenna,” it added. “This allegation is highly defamatory of our client. It is also untrue.”
Elton’s lawyers claimed he had never heard of McKenna but did use the accountancy firm Deloittes, where McKenna was understood to have once been a partner. Elton said that as far as he was aware he had never involved McKenna in his financial affairs, and never invested in the scheme described by The Times. McKenna did indirectly invite Elton – via his adviser Frank Presland – to invest in one of the ventures but he declined, according to Carter-Ruck.
The firm claimed there was “no public interest” in using Elton’s name and photograph in the article, adding: “Your journalist did not see fit to contact our client or his representatives to seek to verify the alleged connection”. It demanded that references to Elton were removed from the online story and asked The Times to publish a correction. This was run on June 22, 2012, the day after the allegations. It read: “Yesterday we reported that Patrick McKenna was the former accountant to Sir Elton John. This was incorrect and we apologise for the inaccuracy.”
Carter Ruck told the paper that as a result of its “serious dereliction of professional duty” and “blatant” breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice, it had reported the matter to Lord Justice Leveson.
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