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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019

Businessman claims he is victim of smear campaign through false Twitter account

Philip Rattle of August Equity LLP has launched High Court proceedings.

Image: Shutterstock/Nopparat Khokthong

THE MANAGING PARTNER of a London-based private equity firm has launched High Court proceedings over a Twitter account he claims is being used to smear his reputation.

The action has been taken by Philip Rattle of August Equity LLP, who claims both he and his family have been upset by posts on a Twitter account set up in his name, which he has nothing to do with.

Rattle does not have a Twitter account, nor does he have an online presence. The tweets, he claims, are deliberately targeted towards maligning him and causing serious damage to his reputation.

He claims the Twitter account using his name, which appears to have been established using an email address, was set up in September 2018 and was brought to his attention last December.

He claims the account profile describes the user as running a firm investing hundreds of millions of pounds in various UK sectors, as well as being ‘Nationalist’, ‘Pro-Brexit and ‘Anti-immigration’.

Rattle followed the “impersonation Twitter account” which he said has published a number of highly offensive and distressing tweets which are defamatory.

The posts include derogatory and racist comments about individuals in British public life such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Manchester City soccer star Raheem Sterling.

One tweet on the account also praises a man who allegedly racially abused a woman on a Ryanair flight last year.

He claims that he was shocked, highly distressed and upset by the posts, and says the account is clearly designed to make any reader believe that he is a racist, anti-semitic, and a bigot.

Damaged reputation

The account he says has seriously damaged his reputation, his privacy, and he claims are part of a smear campaign against him.

As part of that smear campaign, Rattle claims that both he and several investors with his firm have received messages, correspondence and packages containing false allegations about him and August Equity.

As a result, he has had CCTV installed at his London home.

He fears that the smear campaign will continue unless steps are taken to restrain the alleged wrongdoers, and has sought information from both Twitter and Microsoft including details about the persons behind the accounts.

Rattle, represented in court today by Niall Buckley Bl seeks an order from the High Court, known as a Norwich Pharmacal order requiring to provide him with information, including the name and address of the person or persons behind the account.

Justice Leonie Reynolds granted Rattle’s lawyers permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on both Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd which provides email service, and Twitter International Company.

The Judge noted that the type of information Rattle’s lawyers seek is only provided by the social media companies when the court makes an order directing the firms to furnish the details sought.

The Judge made the matter returnable to date after the Easter recess.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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