Chinese-Australian businessman Chau Chak Wing sues Fairfax, says article caused ‘great damage’
Wealthy Chinese-Australian businessman Chau Chak Wing has denied allegations of bribery, saying he “never did anything illegal”, a court has heard.
Mr Chau is suing Fairfax and reporter John Garnaut for defamation over an article published online in October 2015, which said he was suspected of bribing a United Nations official.
Under cross-examination in the Federal Court in Sydney today, Mr Chau said he was “very upset” when his daughter phoned to tell him about the article.
“This report has done great damage to me,” said Mr Chau, via an interpreter.
“It says that I was a criminal.”
Mr Chau said it was false to say he had bribed or conspired to bribe former UN General Assembly president John Ashe.
He said that for all the time he lived in China and Australia, “I never did anything illegal, anything against the law”.
Mr Chau said he could not sleep and had to see a doctor for heart problems in the days after Fairfax media published the article.
He said the article also affected him doing business in China.
“My feeling is this was a big strike and a big hit on me,” he said.
“It caused a big harm to me.”
The barrister for Fairfax Media, James Hmelnitsky SC, said he would argue that it was reasonable, in the circumstances that the article was published, for Mr Chau to be suspected of involvement in the John Ashe bribery scandal.
He said if there was another explanation it was not given to Fairfax journalists when they contacted Mr Chau, his daughter Winky Chow and one of his business associates, before publishing the article.
The hearing continues.