Businessman Sues Over Guardian Story on Trump Tower Meeting

(CN) – A businessman linked to an attendee of a notorious 2016 meeting held by President Donald Trump’s son in Trump Tower sued British newspaper The Guardian, claiming it published an article falsely stating he also has connections to the former Soviet Union’s KGB intelligence agency.

Baruch Goldstein, also known as Boris Goldstein, filed the lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking damages from the New York-based author of the article, Jonathan Swaine, and Guardian News & Media LLC dba The Guardian. Goldstein is represented by Michael Schoenberg of Ruskin Moscou.

Goldstein says the July 2017 article titled “Russian man at Trump Jr. meeting had partner with Soviet intelligence ties, US investigators said” contains several false and defamatory statements about him.

Donald Trump Jr. and campaign officials held a controversial meeting in June 2016 with Russians at Trump Tower, where the foreigners allegedly promised damaging information about Republican President Trump’s then-opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Guardian article stated that Goldstein attracted the attention of U.S. investigators in the 1990s after he moved to California due to supposed ties to former officers of the Soviet Union’s KGB intelligence agency. The article also says he had a business partnership with Trump Tower meeting attendee Irakly Kaveladze, a Soviet-born American businessman who was once accused of money laundering.

According to the article, “Before moving to the US in 1991 Goldstein had founded a bank in his native Latvia that merged with a bank run by Edmunds Johansons, the former chairman of the KGB in Latvia… According to [Government Accountability Office] investigators, Goldstein signed a contract with Kaveladze for Kaveladze to incorporate shell companies in Delaware for Russian clients.”

Prior to publishing the article, Goldstein claims he told Swaine the statements were false but they were published nonetheless.

“Goldstein’s reputation in the community and his ability to generate investments for his business changed dramatically shortly after the article was published, as potential investors with whom Goldstein was in negotiations withdrew their interest in investing and other investors with whom Goldstein had done business in the past would not speak with Goldstein,” the 12-page complaint states.

According to the lawsuit, Goldstein’s attorneys sent a letter to Swaine and The Guardian last month pointing out the allegedly false statements and demanding that they be retracted or corrected.

A day later, The Guardian admitted some but not all of the statements were incorrect and posted a revised version with a corrected headline and sub-headline noting that the existence of a business partnership with Kaveladze was only “alleged.”

The rest of the article, however, remained the same, Goldstein says.

“The truth is Goldstein was never a business partner with Kaveladze; Goldstein was never involved in any money laundering scheme; and Goldstein never employed nor had any ties to any former KGB officials,” the lawsuit states.

Goldstein claims the article falsely implies he committed a crime, which negatively affected his reputation and ability to conduct business. He wants a judge to award him at least $20,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

A spokesperson for The Guardian declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Counsel for Goldstein did not immediately respond Wednesday to an email request for comment.

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