The American actor John Malkovich has won a libel suit against the French newspaper Le Monde, which had reported that he held a secret bank account in Switzerland with the bank HSBC.
The newspaper and two of its reporters were ordered by a French court to pay thousands of Euros in damages to Malkovich, according to Reuters and AFP.
The newspaper article in question, which ran in February 2015 as part of the so-called “SwissLeaks” global journalism investigation, claimed that Malkovich and a list of other celebrities held secret accounts with HSBC in Switzerland between 2005 and 2007.
Lawyers for Malkovich argued before the court that he had never held an HSBC account and that he had disclosed a share account not held in Switzerland to US tax authorities. He closed that account in 1999, one month before the institution that held it was acquired by the Swiss branch of HSBC, the lawyers testified.
In addition to paying fines, the court ordered Le Monde to print a retraction on its front page stating that Malkovich never held the account in question.
Le Monde’s lawyer, Christophe Bigot, has said the newspaper will appeal Friday’s ruling.
swissinfo.ch and agencies