NEW YORK, June 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Wall Street Journal‘s parent companies, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and News Corp., were served papers this week in a libel suit by high-ranking Venezuelan politician Diosdado Cabello-Rondón, claiming that he was defamed in an April 18 newspaper article tying him to drug trafficking and money laundering.
Cabello, vice president of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela and the country’s interim president during a failed 2002 coup d’état, contends that the article, “Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub,” used unnamed sources to assert incorrectly that he was the “biggest target” of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering. The suit also claims that allegations linking him to the launch of a large cocaine shipment from Venezuela’s Paraguaná peninsula were false and defamatory.
“The defendants did not obtain any information about Mr. Cabello’s alleged involvement in such a shipment from anyone involved in an official investigation,” said Elio Perez, Cabello’s attorney.
Further, said Perez, The Wall Street Journal article, subtitled “U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering,” spawned a “tsunami” of republications of the libelous allegations by various U.S. and international outlets.
“Mr. Cabello is a distinguished Venezuelan politician and military leader who has served his country and its people faithfully for decades,” said Perez. “The allegations of his involvement in serious crimes are reckless, wrong, and damaging to him in his profession as a public official.”
The suit claims that Dow Jones and News Corp. made false statements with actual malice, “with knowledge that the statements were false or with reckless disregard as to whether they were false or not.” It further states that the alleged falsehoods do not relate to Cabello’s official roles in Venezuela and amount to “at least negligence.”