Nat Rothschild Loses 'Puppet Master' Libel Suit

Nat Rothschild

Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Rothschild has lost his libel suit against the Daily Mail, The Telegraph reports. The judge in the case found the paper’s allegations to be “substantially true.”

Rothschild sought damages from the British paper after it accused him of acting as a “puppet master” for his role in bringing the former EU trade commissioner with him on a Siberian trip to visit a Russian oligarch.

Rothschild sued the Daily Mail over a report in the paper that he arranged for Lord Mandelson, the former EU trade commissioner, to meet with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in order to gain assurances that EU aluminium tariffs would not rise. This information was reported to be crucial in paving the way for a £500 million deal involving Deripaska’s aluminium smelter.

The judge in the case rejected Rothschild’s argument that denied that the purpose of the trip, or Lord Mandelson’s presence, were “purely recreational”, The Telegraph writes:

“In my judgment that conduct foreseeably brought Lord Mandelson’s public office and personal integrity into disrepute and exposed him to accusations of conflict of interest, and it gave rise to the reasonable grounds to suspect that Lord Mandelson had engaged in improper discussions with Mr Deripaska about aluminium…”

…”Mr Rothschild states that he took Lord Mandelson on the trip as a friend and not for any other business reason. I cannot accept that the position was as simple as that.”

“I accept that Lord Mandelson had no role in the joint venture, which is what the trip was arranged to promote. But I do not accept that there is a clear line between the business and the personal sides of Mr Rothschild’s relationship with Mr Deripaska. They have very extensive business relationships.”

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