• Etude Maître Laurent Ries

Reputation damage – the new “business pleague” – are there sustainable remedies to combat it ?

Mis à jour : juin 15

Internet (publications) and commercial databases relied upon by compliance officers, financial institutions (banks) and professionals out of the financial areas are taken over more and more blindly and automatically without verification (or material or intellectual possibility to verify behind “the curtains”). Even if any information posted on the internet and included in commercial databases reveals to be very helpful to these professionals in their mission to comply with their respective AML and KYC procedures and rules, same information can mean and trigger the “dead end” for the person or company which is concerned by this information leading thus to a total reputational damage.

THE TRAP : any false or subjective or uncomplete information (wittingly or unwittingly) triggers thousand others posts and copies of copies which are difficultly to be halted or reversed and the individual or concerned professional suffers a severe reputational damage from a material as well as moral point of view.

This is not a reason for any person or company to abandon and waive any remedies as database owners and authors / publishers in the internet face a severe regime of liability (proper law of tort) entitling any person or company suffering a damage to get an injunction forcing the database owner or the author to withdraw his publication.

Should latter one become convicted by any even civil court for (professional) misconduct due to an imprudent behaviour, negligence or mistake committed wittingly or unwittingly, the professional puts his entire commercial reputation as database owner or author or publisher at stake on his turn – the commercial end for him.

Any person which is convinced that untrue or biased information is included in any commercial database or available in the internet should start collecting the appropriate details about the potentially responsible author and especially identify and clearly understand the false routing of information having led to this harmful situation.

Attorneys together with experienced influence and advocacy agents are able to identify the source of the problem and launch counter-publications and evidence the contrary and truth by posting them through and in high level academic blogs in the internet challenging any previous libellous and false comments or publications with the effect that latter are diluted and become at least less visible at a glance and without a long research, e.g. are pushed back and far behind in terms of research results. Anyway these counter-publications are deemed to reverse the common understanding and situation publicly and bring the situation in line with the social and professional reality of the victim (physical person or company).

These publications are generally accompanied by professional IT specialists warrantying through their “adds – in” capacities and IT algorithm knowledge that the new articles pop up easily amongst first research results far before the incriminated ones.