PRESS RELEASE: Sakto Corporation Applies to Basel Civil Court for Injunction against Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fonds
Basel, Switzerland, and Ottawa, Canada – 20 August 2018 – Sakto Corporation (‘Sakto’), a mid-size Canadian real estate company located in Ottawa, announced today that it has applied to the Basel Civil Court to obtain an injunction against Bruno Manser Fonds (‘BMF’), a Swiss NGO based in Basel, Switzerland. The injunction seeks to order BMF to remove from the public domain a litany of false statements and speculative allegations relating to Sakto. These total over 1,100 infringing statements and over 250 publications. The injunction also seeks to prevent BMF from repeating the defamatory comments.
BMF have waged a lengthy and unsuccessful campaign against Sakto through social media, websites, blogs, and in-person protests. BMF's campaign is based on false allegations. The impression that they have created of Sakto is wrong and damaging to the company’s reputation and business.
The Facts Matter
Since 2010 Sakto has endured BMF’s unfounded accusations in the hope that the complete absence of evidence would persuade them to stop. Sakto is now obliged to bring legal action against BMF in Switzerland to put an end to their massive defamation. The application for injunctive relief is the first step in the company’s legal action to re-establish the facts and restore its reputation.
“The facts matter. An NGO should not be beyond the law and must be accountable for their words and actions,” said Thomas Weibel, attorney at law and partner at VISCHER in Switzerland. “Sakto simply wishes for BMF to remove their false and defamatory allegations from the public domain, and to stop their misguided campaign.”
Since 2010, BMF filed and sent eleven complaints and letters across six jurisdictions with various authorities and promoted each action extensively. They have made aggressive use of social media, multiple websites, and blogs to create the impression that their allegations of corruption and money laundering against Sakto are being taken seriously. In fact, there has been no third-party validation of BMF’s allegations, and none of the numerous government agencies BMF has tried to engage has ever taken action against Sakto. In 2018, the Canadian Department of Justice issued a "cease and desist" letter to BMF to prevent them from continuing to spread false statements that Canada had agreed with their allegations. BMF’s campaign was, and continues to be, based on suspicion and conjecture, rather than facts.
“What BMF and its Executive Director Lukas Straumann want to believe is their private matter,” continued Thomas Weibel. “However, it is unacceptable to publicly repeat their untruthful theories about Sakto and to present them as facts. Their actions are unlawful and seriously violate the personal rights of Sakto and its principals.”
Canadian Court Dismissed BMF Allegations
In 2017, BMF took legal steps against Sakto in Ontario, Canada. The NGO applied for an unusual Court order seeking to force four financial institutions to divulge financial and private information regarding the company, hoping that these would support BMF’s suspicions. BMF submitted volumes of information to the Court, and Executive Director Lukas Straumann was cross-examined. The Superior Court of Justice in Ontario dismissed the case on 5 February 2018. The judge was clear in his decision when he stated that “[the allegations] depend upon conjecture and suspicion more than evidence.” BMF were ordered to pay more than CAD 176,000 (CHF 134,000) in costs by the Court in addition to their own legal costs.
About BMF’s misguided campaign and unproven allegations
Please visit the website www.thefactsmatter.ca for more background information including details of the Canadian Court decision.
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About Sakto Corporation
Sakto Corporation is a Canadian real estate company, located in Ottawa, Canada. The company has been in business in Canada for over 35 years and has enjoyed steady growth while building a strong reputation in the business community. The mid-size company owns and manages five properties; four commercial buildings and one rental apartment building. Sakto is proud to provide high quality and consistent professional project and property management to all its tenants, including the Government of Ontario. 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. Owned and operated by Sean and Jamilah Murray, Sakto employs 25 staff, and has won prestigious awards for its building designs and services.
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