Ruling

Resolution Statement – 17676-23 Logan and Logan v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      15th June 2023

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement – 17676-23 Logan and Logan v Daily Mail


Summary of Complaint

1. Kenny and Gabby Logan complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Tax scheme firm paid £500,000 to Gabby Logan”, published on 28 February 2023.

2. The article reported that “firms linked to” the complainants “were paid more than £500,000 to promote major tax avoidance plans to celebrity friends” and that “payments between 2010 and 2013 were apparently made for events such as Royal Ascot – entertaining ‘wealthy individuals’ and introducing them to the venture”. The article went on to report that “questions have arisen after a court battle revealed that companies linked to the Logans received £518,405 in commission for introducing ‘customers or potential customers’”.

3. The article then referred to a named company, which it said “sold hundreds of tax avoidance products” before going “bust in 2017, leaving unpaid debts that are now being pursued through the courts, including £518,405 plus interest of about £500,000 from one firm controlled by the Logans and another by Mr Logan and a friend.” It also reported that there was “no suggestion of illegality or wrongdoing on the part of Mrs Logan [or] her husband Kenny” and that Mr Logan “attended ‘numerous’ events on behalf of Welbeck to entertain potential customers, lawyers representing firms linked to the Logans said.”

4. This version of the article ended by stating that “A hearing is scheduled for May 3 and, if it goes ahead, Mr and Mrs Logan could be called as witnesses. They did not respond to requests for comment last night.”

5. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format under the headline “BBC star Gabby Logan and her husband Kenny were paid more than £500,000 to promote major tax avoidance scheme to their celebrity friends”. This version of the article was accompanied by two bullet-points underneath the headline; one bullet-point said that “Gabby Logan and husband paid more than £500k to promote a tax scheme”.

6. The online version of the article included an additional statement from a named individual; this said: “Companies controlled by Kenny Logan and Gabby Logan worked with [company] to sell tax avoidance schemes and tried to disguise their income from this as 'loans' to avoid paying (yet more) tax. We consider the companies' accounts are clear - these payments were treated as loans, which now have to be repaid.” It also reported that: “Documents filed at the High Court on behalf of companies connected with the Logans say that the purpose of these firms was to ‘introduce wealthy individuals to [named company] in order that they might buy financial services offered by these business, adding ‘in consequence of these introductions and the business that resulted from commission became payable.”

7. The complainants said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1, first noting that they had not received £500,000 to promote “major tax avoidance schemes”. They said that it was also false to say that they had received payments from such a scheme in return for attending events with “celebrities” and introducing them to any such “venture”, or that they had links to any “firm” which received commission for introducing potential clients to a tax-avoidance scheme.

8. The complainants also said that they had no knowledge of the court hearing referenced in the article as being scheduled for 3 May, or of any “court battle” which had “revealed” that “companies linked to the Logans received £518,405 in commission for introducing ‘customers or potential customers’”. They said that no company linked to them was involved in any such legal proceedings. They also said that the named company referenced in the article had gone “bust” in 2014, not 2017 as claimed by the article.

9. Finally, the complainants said that it was “grossly misleading” to report that they had not responded to requests for comment, as the email that was sent to them seeking comment did not contain specific details of the alleged tax avoidance scheme. They also said that – while the article included a statement that had allegedly been made by their lawyers – no one acting on their behalf had made any such statement.

10. With regard to the online version of the article, the complainants said that the statement from the named individual was entirely false, and they had not acted in the manner alleged. They also said that no documents had been filed with a court that said that the complainants “introduce[d] wealthy individuals to [named company] in order that they might buy financial services offered by these business” or that “in consequence of these introductions and the business that resulted from commission became payable.”

11. The complainants requested: the deletion of the online version of the article; the publication of a retraction and an apology; and an undertaking not to repeat the “false allegations” made in the article in the future.

12. The publication said that legal documents provided to it included allegations that two companies, of which Mr Logan was director of, received £314,418.98 and £175,736.37 respectively from the company named in the article. It said that a further £175,736.37 was paid to a company in which Mr Logan held significant control over, and where Mrs Logan held the role of company secretary. It also said that it had been previously reported that the complainants had attended parties to promote tax-avoidance products.

13. However, it accepted that the print headline – “Tax scheme firm paid £500,000 to Gabby Logan” – could have been ”better expressed”. Notwithstanding this, it said that companies which had links to the complainants had received funds from another company which was “notorious for devising and selling tax avoidance products to customers”. It also said that it had contacted the complainants for their response to this allegation, and they had elected not to respond. It had therefore taken care over the accuracy of this information, and had no way of knowing – prior to publication – that the complainants disputed this position.

14. The publication also said that the complainants would have been aware of the legal proceedings referenced in the article – as Mr Logan had signed an amended defence to the allegations against him in May 2021. It said that this amended defence accepted that the named company had paid commission to Mr Logan and that he had “attended functions and other events for the purpose of entertaining customers and potential customers”.

15. The publication said that the named company had been dissolved in 2017, according to Companies House website. It had gone into administration in 2014, but this was not the same as going “bust” – a company in administration could still be “rescued” and go on to be a viable business.

16. The publication accepted that the hearing date reported in the article was inaccurate. It then said that it had approached one of the complainants for their comment prior to the article’s publication, and that the approach for comment made clear that the approach was being made in relation to allegations against the “tax avoidance” company.

17. Turning to the online version of the article, the publication said that – if the complainants considered that the statement from the named individual was incorrect – they should contact him; they were entitled to publish his allegations and doing so did not render the article inaccurate.

18. While the newspaper did not consider that the article included “substantial” inaccuracies, it removed the online version of the article and agreed not to repeat the article’s allegations in future coverage.

19. The complainants said that the publication had inaccurately linked the fact that the named company sold financial products to clients which included tax avoidance schemes, with the fact that they – at times – received commission from the company. It said that the company in question offered a wide range of financial services, including Pension Reviews, CIC and Life Insurance advice, mortgages and estate planning. It did not follow that commission paid to the complainants from the company demonstrated that they had been paid for introducing potential clients to tax-avoidance schemes, where the company in question offered a wide range of financial advice and services. They said that this would have been clear had the publication undertaken “basic research” prior to publication into the company’s work. The complainants also said that Mrs Logan had not received any money at all – either directly or indirectly – from the company, as no payments had been made to companies associated with her.

20. The complainants accepted that Mr Logan had attended events as described in the article – but denied in stringent terms that he attended for the purposes of advertising tax avoidance schemes.

21. The publication then proposed to publish the following correction in print – as part of its usual corrections & clarifications column on page 2 of the newspaper - and online as a standalone correction:

“An article on February 28 said that Gabby and Kenny Logan had received £500,000 to promote tax-avoidance schemes to their celebrity friends. In fact, they promoted legitimate business services, rather than tax avoidance schemes. In addition, they did not ‘disguise’ any income from this promotion in order to avoid paying tax, as we reported. We apologise for the errors, and are happy to set the record straight”.

Relevant Clause Provisions

Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Mediated Outcome

22. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

23. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to publish the following correction in print, online, and on its Twitter page:

“An article on February 28 said that Gabby and Kenny Logan had received £500,000 to promote tax-avoidance schemes to their celebrity friends. In fact, Gabby played no part in the business and earned no income from it. Kenny’s role was solely to introduce clients to companies who promoted legitimate business services rather than tax avoidance schemes. In addition, they did not ‘disguise’ any income from this activity  in order to avoid paying tax, as we reported. We apologise for the errors, and are happy to set the record straight.”

24. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to their satisfaction.

25. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

 

Date complaint received:  22/03/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO:  24/05/2023