An Australian judge has ordered two media outlets to pay American economist Peter Schiff over half a million dollars for defaming him in connection with a tax evasion investigation.
The media’s reporting led to the closure of Schiff’s bank, Euro Pacific, by a Puerto Rican regulator.
The media outlets and journalists were found to have misrepresented the bank’s compliance and engaged in unethical practices. (Trending: Donald Trump Confronts Bud Light CEO)
“I’m putting to you that your bank has accounts for organized crime figures,” reporter Nick McKenzie said to him.
“Then I have the basis of a lawsuit against you. So are you in fact telling me right now that you know for a fact that this crime syndicate is utilizing Euro Pacific Bank?” Schiff answered.
“I’m the journalist here. I’m asking the questions here, sir,” McKenzie said.
“Why is it the tax authorities in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, America, and the Netherlands all believe your bank is facilitating tax evasion and serious organized crime? … It’s a fact that organized crime, tax evaders, fraudsters are using your bank.”
Despite this, the media outlets were unrepentant and were even awarded journalism awards.
Schiff criticized the government and media collusion and highlighted the impact on his bank and its customers.
“All the information at [Nine] had from their own investigation confirmed that our compliance was very strong, yet they ignored it,” Schiff said.
“There’s no pushback or questioning from the editors, it’s just putting it on the air.”