The Sun Paid Alan Sugar “£25,000 Damages and £125,623 in Legal Costs”

Sugar also threatened to sue Rebekah Brooks personally

In 2011, Macmillan published a book by Alan Sugar, entitled The Way I See It: Rants, Revelations And Rules For Life. Chapter 19 is on the subject of the press, and has some details about the “Terror Target Sugar” fiasco. This occurred in January 2009, when the Sun ran a front-page story stating that Muslim terrorists were plotting on-line to attack him, as a prominent British Jew, in revenge for Israeli actions in Gaza. The Sun‘s source was a self-described terror expert named Glen Jenvey, who was soon after found out by Tim Ireland to have planted the very evidence which he went on to “expose”.

Sugar explains that he was contacted by police on 7 January 2009, and that they told him that the “special terror division of the police” had looked into it:

They were pleased to tell me, from the intelligence they had, that there seemed to be no truth in it whatsoever… I put my lawyers on the case, and I also took the step of not just suing the newspaper, but suing Rebekah Wade [now Rebekah Brooks] personally. (271)

I noted the legal threat at the time. The incident occurred several months after Sugar had fallen out with the Sun on another matter, and Sugar speculates that the story may have been revenge for that. He also states that the Sun’s deputy editor, Dominic Mohan, had tried to justify the story on the grounds that it was based on Jenvey’s “expert testimony”:

They are nasty, nasty people at the Sun… They ended up paying £25,000 damages and £125,623 in legal costs. (272)

Sugar also notes that Jenvey was arrested in December 2009, although “I believe that police dropped the whole incident”.

Sugar, by his own account, was told by the police that there was no real threat on the same day that the story was published; and the evidence against Jenvey uncovered by Tim could be confirmed independently by anyone. Yet when a complaint was made to the Press Complaints Commission a week later, the Sun‘s managing editor Graham Dudman decided to press on with defending the indefensible. The Sun did not publicly apologise until the autumn, by which time Jenvey had confessed all following a summer of erratic behaviour that included anonymous libellous attacks on Tim and a short-lived conversion to extremist Islam. The Sun‘s climb-down included an article which painted Jenvey as a sinister figure, which was doubtless more congenial than reflecting on the failures which led to the original publication.

Sugar’s book describes Jenvey as “the Sun‘s terror expert”; this is not quite accurate, as he was never employed by the paper. Instead, he was the source of stories that appeared in a number of newspapers, some of which were mediated through the office of Patrick Mercer MP, formerly Shadow Minister for Homeland Security.

Jenvey has now re-emerged, with a diatribe for a Sri Lanka-focused website called the Asian Tribune:

Why is it that the national press can’t bring itself to use the words Pakistani or Afghan sex gangs in their reporting of these cases or more to the point Muslim sex gangs!

…The offenders in Rochdale and previous Muslim criminal gangs were acting from a religiously inspired cultural perspective that is incompatible with British society and is not shared by the Asian community. Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Christianity all have an older religious and cultural tradition in Asia than Islam with a moral code that is compatible with British law and values. It’s disgraceful that the media should use such racial terms to link the sexual abuse crimes committed by these Muslims with all Asians.

…The people in my community are all more than tired of the problems associated with Muslim drug gangs, Muslim sex gangs and Muslim supporters of terrorist groups. The funds raised by Muslims for Islamic terrorists are used to finance attacks on Indian as well as British innocents; in Mumbai and in London.

One wonders about the motive for this, given that the author previously wrote postings under a Muslim name urging Muslims to attack British Jews.

(Footnote: The Asian Tribune is run by a certain KT Rajasingham, and has a controversial reputation. A libel action recently brought against it in Sweden included the claim that the site “is closely associated with the Sri Lankan government, its undercover agents and Sri Lankan Military Intelligence Services”. The site also carries a number of pieces attacking Channel 4 for its documentaries on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka)