Ashcroft High Court action settled after INM apology

  • @oliver_wright

Lord Ashcroft has dropped his High Court action against the former owners of The Independent after the reading of a statement in open court.

In the agreed statement, the Irish-based Independent News and Media retracted allegations published in the paper in 2009 that linked Lord Ashcroft’s name with “allegations of scandalous corruption” in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Mark Warby, representing the Conservative peer, told Mr Justice Eady that the articles referred to Michael Misick, the former premier of the Turks and Caicos who was “a man widely alleged to have been involved in corrupt activity”.

Mr Warby said: “Mr Misick was said to have led a ‘lavish lifestyle’.

The articles stated that loans had been made to Mr Misick by a local bank. The bank was described as ‘Lord Ashcroft’s bank’.” He added that while the articles did not assert that Lord Ashcroft was involved in or linked to any of the corrupt activities of which Mr Misick was accused, “the articles as a whole will have given at least some readers a very different impression”.

Julia Varley, appearing on behalf of Independent News & Media, told Mr Justice Eady that the company apologised to Lord Ashcroft for the “embarrassment he has been caused by publication of the articles”.