Response to the Buzzfeed article on the Chandler-vs-Berlin court action

Legatum

Earlier today, Buzzfeed published an article by Alex Spence about the recent $15 million libel lawsuit by Christopher Chandler against Donald Berlin and some of his associated companies (here).

While the journalist makes it clear that Donald Berlin and Robert Eringer are in large part responsible for the dodgy dossier which is the sole source of all of the false allegations about Mr. Chandler and Legatum, for some unknown reason he leaves out the most relevant facts which demolish the credibility of the dossier and its absurd claims.

A quick Google search would have revealed the following:-

  • The public record shows that a criminal court convicted Donald Berlin of two counts of theft in 2014.  Additionally, according to the Chicago Tribune, Berlin was alleged to have worked for a ring of jewel thieves connected with organised crime.

  • The other party in this story, Robert Eringer, is a former tabloid writer who has been convicted of criminal defamation five times.  He has been sued in the US for libel alleging $60 million in damages.  He has published an article on how to use the Internet to blackmail people.

  • While Eringer did work for Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Prince has now said publicly that Eringer’s fake organisation which he dubbed the “MIS” “never existed legally or administratively”.  Prince Albert II also stated that “the police told me they had very serious doubts about his [Eringer’s] credibility and competence.”  And that all Eringer did was to traffic in “baseless rumours” and “amplify them to justify his work”.  The Prince also alleged that Eringer tried to blackmail him for one million dollars and his lawyer underscored that Eringer tried to “generate publicity” to “forward his extortionist agenda”.

  • Eringer is a prolific writer and blogger, covering topics such as himself in a self-published book and conspiracy theories relating to the assassination of JFK, Area 51, the Bilderbergs, the Illuminati and his own theory about the death of Marilyn Monroe.   

  • Most recently, the Sunday Mirror published an article by Eringer in which he claims to have had foreknowledge of the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, hearing about the plot for the first time at a dinner in Moscow in 1997, 21 years ago. 

Berlin’s accusations are based on falsely conflating Mr. Chandler’s personal investment company—which happened to have the word “Sovereign” in its name—with a totally unrelated company, Sovereign Forex, which was apparently incorporated in Switzerland in 1977 when Mr. Chandler was a teenager in New Zealand.  We have now obtained written confirmation from authorities in both Switzerland and Monaco that definitively disprove the fabricated claims of Eringer and Berlin.

Importantly, recent developments suggest that Berlin is backing away from his prior claims:-

  • The publicly available filings show that Berlin’s lawyers are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit on a legal technicality. They have not actually argued that Berlin’s accusations are true

  • When confronted with the falsity of his claims, Berlin proposed to settle the case by signing a declaration that he “has no personal knowledge as to whether Mr. Chandler ...lived, worked, or had any connection to Monaco, had any relationship with Sovereign Forex or other Companies with “Sovereign” in their names, or engaged in Russian espionage…”. In other words Berlin is essentially disclaiming the veracity of his firm’s entire report in the dossier.     

How none of the facts about Eringer and Berlin or key facts about the case made it into Buzzfeed’s article is astonishing.  This is in stark contrast to the lengthy, detailed, false and wholly unsubstantiated allegations which the journalist was willing to repeat about Christopher Chandler in his article.  There is no justification for cavalierly repeating the lies of others without verification.

The truth remains that Christopher Chandler and his partners at Legatum run an ethical global investment business with a unique mission to use our capital to “help others prosper”.  To date we have quietly founded, sponsored and funded over 1,000 humanitarian projects in over 100 countries, measurably benefitting over 270 million people.

Christopher Chandler and Legatum prefer to resolve matters relationally and peacefully where it is in our power to do so.   Disappointingly, this approach is not always well received.  In response to the baseless, false and defamatory statements against us, we have therefore published rebuttals on our website at www.legatum.com, initiated legal actions for defamation, IPSO complaints and other means of redress, and to date eleven out of eleven have been resolved in Legatum’s favour. 

We do not intend to stop until it is clear that we have been the victim of a completely fabricated story that has been dismissed by most people, but has been recycled by a handful of others. 

It is time for this cottage industry in lies and deception that has successfully duped and hurt so many to end.