The BBC apologized to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko after claiming he OKed paying $400,000 to then-fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen to arrange a meeting with Pres. Donald Trump.
Now, the BBC is going to pay Poroshenko a “substantial” amount to Poroshenko and admitted the claims were false, the Guardian reported. The original BBC story was based on anonymous “sources in Kiev close to those involved” and “a high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer,” according to the Guardian, which noted the BBC unpublished the report.
Poroshenko sued the BBC last year, as iMediaEthics reported. The BBC pointed iMediaEthics to its statement on its website.
Poroshenko’s lawyer pointed iMediaEthics to a statement on his website which read in part,
“Allegations of serious corruption are obviously extremely damaging, especially as the President has promoted a number of anti-corruption measures in the Ukraine, including creating an Anti-corruption court. The BBC’s story undermined this hard work and damaged his reputation across the globe.
“The BBC has now formally accepted through its legal representatives that this allegation was false and completely untrue, and agreed to pay him £50,000 for the damage to his reputation, as well as his legal costs. They also agreed to join in a Statement in Open Court and to make a suitable correction and an apology to Mr Poroshenko on the BBC website.
“President Poroshenko deeply regrets that it took the BBC so long to accept liability, and that it was only after the Court’s ruling in February that it removed the article from its website. He was concerned that the delay in the BBC accepting liability for its broadcast and publication damaged his reputation for such a long period of time.”
In an apology on its website, the BBC said:
“In our News at Ten bulletin and in an online article published on 23 May 2018 we incorrectly reported that Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, had procured or authorised a corrupt payment of $400,000 to be made to Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of Donald Trump, to extend a brief meeting between Mr Poroshenko and President Trump, that had already been agreed, into more substantial talks.
“We believed that the publications made a less serious allegation against Mr Poroshenko, but in the light of a finding by the High Court that the allegation was as set out above, we are happy to accept that this allegation was untrue. We apologise to Mr Poroshenko for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages, legal costs and have participated in a joint statement in open court.