Posted: 2003/12/09 Tue 17:27 EST | � Mineweb 1997-2003
NEW YORK -- The world�s second most valuable gold producer, Barrick [ABX], and New Orleans numismatic dealer Blanchard have now both drawn blood in their legal attacks on each other. Blanchard previously secured the right to depose Barrick and JP Morgan executives ahead of a proposed suit alleging the two are guilty of manipulating the gold price, mostly down through forward sales of gold that amounted to short positions against the metal.
Barrick responded to the original filing by claiming a defamation case against Blanchard. A Canadian court today agreed that Barrick�s case can proceed, striking down Blanchard�s objections about jurisdiction. Ontario, Barrick�s home province, is regarded as plaintiff friendly in libel cases.
Precedent favours Barrick which has already won a defamation suit against the Guardian Group�s London Observer, and rabble rouser Greg Palast.
Guardian apologised and paid up for an article the court agreed was libellous. Palast was also forced to remove a copy of it from his US hosted Web site. However, that has not stopped proliferation of the original article across the Web, including paragraphs ordered excised by the British Court.
Barrick is asking for $150 million in total damages and will demand that Blanchard remove offending material from its publications.
Blanchard has marshalled a clutch of gold market insiders to assist its probe of Barrick and JPM. Sources close to the case told Mineweb previously that any actual trial was much less valuable to the alliance of conspiricists than the chance to peer deep into the gold hedging process and Barrick�s unusually generous terms of credit.
Naturally, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee has hardly been able to contain its glee. Only the lawyers are happier.