#4 - JRL 7170
From: Andrew Gowers (Andrew.Gowers@ft.com)
Subject: John Helmer
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003
Dear Mr Johnson,
John Helmer's claim in the Asia Times (circulated in Johnson's List No.7154, item 6; Friday, April 25, 2003) alleging that the Financial Times negotiated promotional articles in exchange for advertising contracts with Russian oil companies is entirely incorrect and libellous.
He cites no evidence, and made no effort to contact the FT to seek our comments. Our newspaper's reputation for independence - which is appreciated by advertisers as much as other readers - has always been supported by a strict separation of editorial from advertising.
Our coverage of the Russian oil sector over the years has reported in great detail the negative as well as the positive aspects of the companies and people involved.
I have written to Mr Helmer to request a retraction of his erroneous statements, and to warn him that the FT will take whatever legal action is necessary to defend our reputation if he repeats any such slander in the future.