In a defamatory ruling, an Australian judge has now ordered two media entities to compensate American economist Peter Schiff in excess of $500,000 for their defamatory coverage.
It is the most recent development in a peculiar controversy that the IRS, along with the governments of five other nations, collaborated to conduct the “largest tax evasion investigation in history” against Schiff, a frequent guest on conservative media.
Despite meticulously examining each aspect of a bank he oversaw in Puerto Rico, the authorities were unable to indict him on a single count.
However, it appears that government agents disclosed the investigation’s existence to The Age and 60 Minutes, both of which are owned by the Australian media conglomerate Nine, as well as the New York Times.
Journalists interpreted Schiff’s support for low-tax policies as indication that he would violate current tax legislation.
The bank’s closure by a Puerto Rican regulator was the culmination of a series of misfortunes precipitated by media coverage of the unfounded investigation; the IRS falsely claimed credit for the closure and suggested it was due to money laundering and tax evasion, despite the fact that its investigation did not substantiate either of the charges.
It seemed that tax agents collaborated extensively with the media during the notorious press conference.
Officials potentially contravened the law when they informed reporters about the presence of a grand jury.
Schiff, however, filed a lawsuit in an Australian court against the journalists who appeared to be cooperating with the agents, having little recourse against the U.S. government.
He mentioned two correspondents, Charlotte Grieve and Nick McKenzie, who contributed to an exaggerated video segment and an article, in addition to The Age and 60 Minutes.
Although the television segment was deemed defamatory by an Australian magistrate, the article itself was not.