The BBC claimed Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko paid Michael Cohen hundreds of thousands of dollars to meet with Pres. Donald Trump in 2017.
Now, Poroshenko is suing the BBC alleging the story “strikes at the core of his personal dignity and integrity” and is false, the UK Telegraph reported.
The BBC report aired May 23 on TV and online. The report claimed “sources in Kiev close to those involved” told the BBC that “intermediaries acting for” Poroshenko paid Cohen “at least $400,000” to set up a meeting. The article said “Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law” and Cohen “denies the allegation.”
The BBC only told iMediaEthics, “We cannot comment on this ongoing case.” iMediaEthics contacted Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis and received a statement saying he declined to comment.
Poroshenko’s attorney Graham Atkins told iMediaEthics that Poroshenko is suing in his personal capacity and pointed to his firm’s press statement from Sept. 11, which reads:
“President Poroshenko has issued a libel claim against the BBC in respect of a defamatory article and news item earlier this year.
“The BBC asserted that Ukraine paid President Trump’s personal lawyer through secret channels to organise a formal meeting between the two respective Presidents last year.
“The allegation is without foundation, highly defamatory, and damaging both to the image of President Poroshenko and Ukraine, hence this legal action.”
According to the Telegraph, Poroshenko’s lawsuit alleges he “has been seriously injured in his reputation and has been caused substantial distress and embarrassment” and continues:
“The allegation that the Claimant was guilty of serious corruption is self-evidently an extremely grave and serious one…
“It has also caused him considerable distress and embarrassment since the allegation strikes at the core of his personal dignity and integrity.”