Thomson Reuters has agreed to pay undisclosed damages over “terrorism” allegations relating to a well-known mosque.
The information company expressed its “regret” at London’s High Court over publishing the allegations about the Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, in its global online database World-Check.
Sara Monsoori, representing the company which now runs the mosque, said in a statement in open court the database’s users include banks, financial institutions and other organisations providing financial services.
The subscription-only service publishes profiles which go to subscribers including regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies.
Monsoori said the mosque was the subject of profile reports which placed it in the “terrorism” category.
She told deputy High Court judge Richard Parkes QC: “This was wrong.
“The profile referred to press reports and allegations from many years ago, long before the mosque was reorganised and the claimant company was established.”
Following publication of the profile, the mosque’s bank “terminated its banking relationship and closed its account”.
Numerous other banks refused to accept the mosque, which played an important role in its local community, as a customer, said Ms Monsoori.
Its management company was unaware of the profile report until this was drawn to its attention by the BBC on June 20 2015.
Monsoori said the company started proceedings for libel against Reuters Ltd in March 2016.
Thomson Reuters has now admitted the profile report “made the false allegation that there were grounds to suspect that the claimant had continued connections to terrorism”.
The company had stated it did not intend to suggest “that the claimant had any current or suspected connections to terrorism and any such suggestions have now been withdrawn by the defendant which has made clear its regret”.
Monsoori said it had removed the defamatory allegations and agreed to pay damages and the mosque company’s legal costs to settle the legal action.
Oliver Murphy, appearing for Thomson Reuters, said he confirmed everything Monsoori had said, adding: “The defendant is here today through me to express its regret for publishing the allegations.”
Finsbury Park Mosque said in a statement: “It is unacceptable that any organisation is able to designate people as terrorists on the basis of poor research and for those people to be labelled without any recourse to truth or justice.”