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.
The image BMF have created is false and intended to damage Sakto's reputation and business.
The fact is that Sakto is a well-regarded Canadian company which complies with the law and is audited annually. It has successfully proven in Canadian Courts that the BMF allegations are false; nonetheless BMF continue their campaign.
Sakto has had no choice but to take BMF and its executive Director Lukas Straumann to Court in Switzerland in order to bring an end to the defamatory campaign.
It is easy for NGOs to sling mud at corporations and to attack individuals. BMF's goal is to attract and retain support in the court of public opinion with this type of scandalous attack.
In the court proceedings, BMF must now justify their – untrue – allegations under the standards imposed by the law. BMF alone bear the full burden of proof for their allegations that Sakto and its executives have committed criminal offences.
At least eleven prosecutors and other public authorities in at least six jurisdictions, all of them contacted by BMF in the course of their campaign, have examined and rejected BMF's allegations. The so-called 'dossier of evidence' presented by BMF does not even suffice to establish an initial suspicion that any criminal offences have been committed. None of the numerous public authorities BMF attempted to motivate to initiate proceedings against Sakto has ever done so.
Furthermore, BMF initiated court proceedings against Sakto in Ontario, Canada, in 2018. Under oath, Lukas Straumann stated before the court; BMF were unable to prove any criminal offences had been committed.
The BMF campaign against Sakto has been based on "conjecture and suspicion" (Superior Court of Justice, Ontario/Canada), rather than facts. It is illegal and seriously violates the personal rights of both Sakto and its executives.
The purpose of the claim is to obtain the permanent removal of the defamatory material (about 250 publications) from the public domain.
In addition, Sakto has invoked its statutory right which will oblige BMF to account for the ways in which they raised money to finance their defamatory campaign by giving access to their financial records. Sakto is claiming from BMF the so-called "infringer's profit," i.e., the money that BMF raised as a result of their defamatory campaign.
Sakto's legal action is aimed at re-establishing the truth, removing false statements, and restoring its reputation. Sakto will vigorously pursue this lawsuit to ensure justice is done, and that BMF's defamatory campaign is brought to an end.
An NGO should not be beyond the law. It is time for BMF and Lukas Straumann to be held accountable for their words and actions.
Sakto is looking forward a successful resolution of this lawsuit.