Guardian has made an ‘offer of amends’ and admitted libel in its articles on
Tesco’s tax arrangements.
The paper on Saturday reported that it had filed its defence against Tesco’s
libel action late last week, making the offer, the nature of which has not been
The newspaper admits libel but denies malicious falsehood, a separate claim,
saying that its criticisms were not, as Tesco claims, a ‘devastating attack on
its integrity and ethics’.
And the paper continues to be robust in its criticism of the supermarket’s
tax arrangements. The Cayman deals it wrote about allowed Tesco to make savings
on stamp duty land tax but not corporation tax, as it had alleged.
The defence papers say that Tesco’s ‘ethical stance’ in terms of tax
avoidance ‘is in fact … a sham.
‘The defence that such avoidance is not uncommon is bankrupt ethically, and
the more so for a company that claims the reputation and corporate standards set
out in [its legal action].’
The paper itself reported that it was prepared to apologise and issue a
correction, to pay compensation and agreed costs for the libel action – but not
for the action in malicious falsehood.
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