VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – A penny stock promoter claims former Columbia Journalism Review editor Mark Mitchell and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne defamed him in an Internet report that linked him to al Qaeda. A judge ordered the website shut down, The Province newspaper reported.
Altaf Nazerali claims that Mitchell and Byrne falsely portrayed him as a criminal, an arms dealer and a drug dealer with links to terrorist organizations, on the deepcapture.com website, which is “principally authored” by Mitchell.
Nazerali says the defamatory report was part of the defendants’ crusade against illegal short selling. The Internet posts also falsely accused him of running fraudulent pump and dump schemes and other market manipulations, Nazerali says in his complaint in British Columbia Supreme Court.
Nazerali says the Deep Capture website is run by Mitchell and Byrne and aims to expose “wrongdoing and unsavoury individuals in the stock and financial markets.”
He claims that several “chapters” on the site, written by Mitchell or Byrne, mentioned him by name and falsely linked him to Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, the Pakistani intelligence service and the Russian Mafia.
“The defamatory statements were motivated by express malice of the defendants Mitchell and Byrne, arising from the known publication of falsehoods, continued publication of falsehoods after notification of their falsity, and the treatment of the plaintiff as an ‘enemy’ in the campaign led by Byrne and Mitchell to seek revenge on people they believe, falsely in the case of the plaintiff, to have engaged in illegal short selling,” the complaint states.
Defendants include Deep Capture LLC, High Plains Investments LLC, Godaddy.com., Nozone Inc. dba Steadfast Networks, Google and Google Canada Corp. Google was accused of providing links to the defamatory content.
The Province newspaper reported that a judge granted an injunction, shutting down the website, on Oct. 19, the day the complaint was filed.
The website appears to have been stripped of all its content.
Nazerali is represented by Daniel Burnett with Owen Bird Law Corp.