SAKTO FILES FULL STATEMENT OF CLAIM IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS AIMED AT PUTTING AN END TO UNSUPPORTED CLAIMS AND ALLEGATIONS BY BRUNO MANSER FONDS
October 20, 2019
December 4, 2018
This Friday, Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) will appear in the Civil Court of Basel, Switzerland, to answer a complaint filed by Sakto, a Canadian real-estate company.
In this first hearing, the court will consider: the applicable law (Swiss or Canadian), as well as BMF’s allegation that it is not urgent to order a stop to their defamatory campaign.
September 12, 2018
In the online edition of Handelszeitung published 12 September, it is interesting to read how a Basel-based journalist, Seraina Gross, covers the complex and unusual issues raised by BMF’s 8-year campaign of defamation against Sakto and its founders. Quite rightly, she gave a share of voice to both parties involved. Indeed, this is the first time that a Swiss media has explored in depth the manner in which BMF have waged their campaign, and the implications this may have not only for the legal, but also the moral, conduct of an NGO.
It is easy for NGOs to sling mud at corporations. It is even easier for NGOs to attack individuals. It is easy for NGOs to attract and retain support in the court of public opinion. But an NGO’s leaders, directors, donors, and supporters should never confuse altruism with illegal behaviour and actions, such as those conducted by BMF.
The behaviour of BMF, during this particular 8-year campaign of defamation against Sakto and its founders, raises serious questions about the NGO’s governance, transparency, and accountability.
August 27, 2018
Bruno Manser Fonds have been running their campaign against Sakto since 2010. They have deployed a series of tactics to promote this lengthy and misguided campaign, all of them intended to cause reputational damage against Sakto and its founders.
Here we expose BMF and Lukas Straumann’s three main tactics.
Tactic #1 - Generate reports that authorities have money laundering investigations underway, and get the media to repeat the allegations.
BMF have filed and sent 11 complaints and letters across 6 jurisdictions with various authorities (law enforcement agencies, senior politicians, and even heads of state), and deployed extensive methods to promote each action extensively.
But despite these repeated efforts, no investigations have been pursued. In fact, there has been no third-party validation of these allegations, and not one of their complaints has led to action by any law enforcement agency. Put simply, the legitimate authorities have considered and rejected the BMF allegations against Sakto.
Tactic #2 – Make aggressive use of social media, multiple websites and blogs to create the impression that their allegations of money laundering are valid and widely accepted.
In fact, BMF itself have been the only source of these scandalous claims. They have used their public communications channels to manufacture and spin the allegations.
With each complaint to an authority, they would publish and promote the news in a carefully crafted manner, positioning it as “breaking news” and independent evidence of wrongdoing.
Tactic #3 - Make unproven accusations of money laundering and challenge Sakto to prove otherwise.
There are legitimate taxation and financial authorities who already have lawful access to all of the information required to satisfy themselves of the corporate and financial governance of Sakto.
The privately held corporation operates in full compliance with the strict Canadian and Ontario financial and regulatory oversight regimes and has consistently demonstrated good corporate governance and accountability.
August 23, 2018
Bruno Manser Fonds and Lukas Straumann wrote another blog post on 22 August 2018 in which they ask Sakto's law firm, VISCHER AG, a number of questions. Neither Sakto nor VISCHER AG will discuss the topics raised by Lukas Straumann in public. Sakto has applied to the Basel Civil Court to re-establish the facts and restore its reputation – the Court will decide.
August 21, 2018
It was curious to read Bruno Manser Fonds’ blog post, published on 20 August, in response to the news that Sakto has applied for injunctive relief in Switzerland.
BMF claim in their post that Justice Dunphy, of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada, did not examine the money-laundering allegations, and that he did not make a statement on them.
This claim is false.
August 20, 2018
Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) began their campaign against Sakto Corporation (Sakto) in 2010.
For all these years, BMF and their Executive Director Lukas Straumann have attempted to get authorities to investigate alleged money laundering and corruption. Sakto and its founders have endured the spurious claims, false allegations, and defamatory statements.
After ten years of intensive campaigning, BMF and Lukas Straumann must defend their actions and their words in court. Even before attempting to do so, they reflexively label themselves victims and question the motives of those whose reputation they have attacked for years, claiming to be the targets of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). It is important to note that, in Canadian court proceedings in 2018, the judge specifically ruled that BMF was not a public interest litigant.
The law is clear: Neither SLAPP legislation nor Swiss law authorize defamation, which is at the heart of Sakto’s case against BMF and Lukas Straumann. The victim of defamation is entitled to seek assistance from the court – even if the defamer is an NGO.
Sakto files full Statement of Claim in civil proceedings aimed at putting an end to unsupported claims and allegations by Bruno Manser Fonds
October 20, 2019 - Ottawa
On 27 September 2019, Sakto has filed its full Statement of Claim with the Basel Civil Court in the proceedings against BMF and their Executive Director Lukas Straumann. The main proceedings have now definitely started.
BMF have, for years, run a campaign against Sakto and its executives, falsely blaming them of having committed criminal offences. According to BMF's allegations, it is an established fact that Sakto and its executives are involved in corruption and money laundering and form part of a criminal organization.
By making aggressive use of social media, multiple websites, and blogs, BMF have created the impression that these allegations are valid and widely accepted.
May 23, 2019 - Ottawa
Sakto Corporation (‘Sakto’), a mid-size Canadian real estate company located in Ottawa, is suing the Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) and its Executive Director Lukas Straumann for defamation. BMF have engaged in a multi-year campaign making unfounded allegations, and Sakto is taking serious legal action to stop them.
Sakto has confirmed that it is turning its full legal attention to bringing Bruno Manser Fonds to trial for defamation. Sakto filed main civil court proceedings against BMF with the Basel Civil Court in January 2019 seeking to put an end the BMF active campaign against Sakto.