Global Witness and the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) today condemn a criminal complaint that has been filed in France by Afriland First Bank in connection with our joint investigation, Undermining Sanctions, which was released yesterday. The complaint follows a threat made by sanctioned businessman Mr Dan Gertler via his London lawyers Carter-Ruck on 11 June 2020, which expressly raised the possibility of lodging a similar criminal complaint.
“We urge the public to read our investigation, Undermining Sanctions, to understand the context of Dan Gertler's threat and Afriland First Bank's criminal complaint. For two of the principal subjects of our report to threaten or file criminal complaints against PPLAAF and Global Witness for our investigation into possible sanctions evasion is beyond parody,” said Henri Thulliez, director of PPLAAF.
“The substance of the complaints against us has been looked into and doesn't stand up to any scrutiny. This complaint is utterly abusive,” said Simon Taylor, Co-founder of Global Witness.
In response to a stream of bizarre anonymous accusations on social media about Global Witness and PPLAAF, Taylor added: “PPLAAF and Global Witness staff and sources are also now being subjected to a crude and malicious smear campaign. We won't be deterred from our public interest work by underhand tactics such as these.”
Undermining Sanctions is the result of an extensive and thorough joint investigation carried out by Global Witness and PPLAAF, including rigorous source-checking and the highest standards of public interest journalism. The investigation involved separate reporting by Bloomberg, Le Monde, Haaretz and other respected news outlets.
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