16 Jan 2009
Express pays £35k to a property advisor for Mafia slurs
Intimidation allegations against UK national withdrawn
A UK national working in Bulgaria as a property advisor and his property company received £35,000 in settlement of their libel claims against Express Newspapers in relation to allegations of Mafia-style intimidation of customers.
An article in the Daily Express in 2007 had stated that Britons buying second properties in Bulgaria were finding themselves the victims of unscrupulous estate agents. To illustrate this allegation the newspaper referred to a deal between George St Clare, a UK national advising British people buying property in Bulgaria and a particular British couple. In relation to a disagreement over the sale, the Express had alleged that Mr St Clare had arranged for the couple to be intimidated, threatened and their property set on fire—consistently with mafia-style lawlessness in Bulgaria.
The newspaper made an unqualified offer of amends in 2008 and a statement in open court apologising to Mr St Clare and his company and withdrawing the allegations was read in July 2008.
5RB’s David Hirst (instructed by Humphreys & Co, Bristol) acted for Mr St Clare and Synergen EOOD.