British security consultant sues US journalists

Will you support the cause of press freedom and independent journalism? Any little bit helps us mount the defense we need to fight this lawsuit.

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In 2019 and 2020, after it had been reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee was seeking to interview a British-Israeli security consultant named Walter Soriano during the course of its investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election, Forensic News published a series of articles and one podcast regarding Mr. Soriano.

The articles, based on evidence such as corporate records, property deeds, sworn court affidavits, and interviews with sources familiar with Mr. Soriano's dealings, explored Mr. Soriano's connections to billionaires and senior government officials in Russia, Israel, the United States, and elsewhere.

In July 2020, Mr. Soriano sued Forensic News LLC and the contributors to the articles and podcast, Scott Stedman, Jess Coleman, Robert DeNault, and Eric Levai, for libel, a breach of GDPR, and 3 other claims.

Despite the fact that Forensic News LLC is incorporated in California, and all of our contributors are U.S. citizens, Mr. Soriano brought this suit in his domicile of London.

The Senate investigation found (p. 683, 684) that Mr. Soriano introduced two Russian billionaires, Oleg Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev, to a private intelligence company based in Israel. In a heavily redacted section on the topic of Mr. Deripaska’s “former mistress," a footnote (p. 144) references Mr. Soriano saying, “the Committee sought an interview with Soriano, but was unable to secure one.


In December 2021, after a months-long appellate process challenging the jurisdiction of the case, the England and Wales High Court ruled that the UK is the proper jurisdiction for Mr. Soriano's libel, privacy (with respect to photographs published of Mr. Soriano), and GDPR claims.

As referenced by the United States Senate, Mr. Soriano has extremely wealthy and powerful partners in Russia and Israel. The Telegraph has reported that Mr. Soriano is “a family friend of Benjamin Netanyahu and also carried out work for the oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska.

Forensic News is a bootstrapped independent news organization committed to transparency. To this end, we must now turn to the public with the facts of this case to fundraise for our growing legal costs.

Funds raised will go towards accrued lawyer fees. If the funding goal is surpassed, the remainder of the funds will go towards our defense at a full trial, which is expected to happen in the next 6-12 months.

To support Forensic News's journalistic efforts: Subscribe on Patreon

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Forensic News is represented by Patrick Doris, a Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in London. Our barrister is Mr. Jonathan Price of Doughty Street Chambers.
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Organizer

Scott Stedman 
Organizer
Fullerton, CA