Statement in Open Court in Suresh v Samad and others

Libel claim by Chairman of Oriental Fine Arts charity settles

On 1 December 2017 Mr Selvaratnam Suresh a registered charity, made a Statement in Open Court, marking the end of his libel claim against Abdul Samad, Amirthalingam Nagaraja and Kajananan Sathananthan.

The Claimant is the Honorary Chairman of the Oriental Fine Arts Academy of London (OFAAL), a registered charity.

In September 2014 the Defendants published videos on YouTube and Facebook accusing the Claimant of:

(1) defrauding OFAAL of some £23,000 of the charity’s money by writing a cheque to a non-existent, dissolved company;

(2) defrauding OFAAL of some £480,000 of the charity’s money, spending it on himself;

(3) refusing to answer legitimate questions about his misconduct; and

(4) engaging in nepotism, by appointing cronies, to help him avoid scrutiny.

The defamation claim was issued against the Defendants in 2015.

The claim was the subject of three decisions by Mr Justice Warby, on 31 October 2017, 19 January 2017 and 12 May 2017 ([2017] EWHC 1743 (QB)). Following an application by the Claimant for summary judgment, Warby J held that the Defendants had no real prospect of successfully proving the truth of the allegations, and awarded the costs of the application to the Claimant. The Defendant’s other defences of public interest and honest comment were also found by to have no real prospects of success. Warby J also granted summary judgment in the Claimant’s favour on the issues of serious harm and reference.

The claim was recently settled by the parties, with the Defendants each agreeing to make a donation to Tamil Aid charity, issue a written apology to the Claimant, make a statement in open court and pay the Claimant’s legal costs.

The Claimant’s counsel read out the statement in open court before Warby J, and the Defendants agreed with the statement, retracted their allegations and apologised to the Claimant for having published the videos.

5RB‘s Julian Santos acted for the Claimant.