Equity firm partner granted court order over Twitter account

‘Impersonation’ account issuing damaging and defamatory tweets, financier claims

The High Court granted orders, on consent, in favour of Philip Rattle of August Equity LLP.

The High Court granted orders, on consent, in favour of Philip Rattle of August Equity LLP.

 

The managing partner of a London based private-equity firm has obtained a High Court order aimed at establishing who is behind a social media account which he claims is being used to smear his reputation.

The orders were granted, on consent, in favour of Philip Rattle of August Equity LLP. He claims he and his family have been upset by posts on a Twitter account set up in his name which he has nothing to do with.

The tweets, he claims, are deliberately targeted towards maligning him, are causing serious damage to his reputation and privacy and are defamatory. He also claims the tweets are part of a smear campaign against him.

On Tuesday, Niall Buckley, for Mr Rattle, got an order, known as a Norwich Pharmacal order, from Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds against Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd which provides outlook.com email service.

Mr Buckley said the order was sought because the Twitter account is linked to an outlook.com account. The order requires Microsoft to provide Mr Rattle with information, including the name and address of the person or persons behind the email account.

Mr Buckley said a similar order, also granted on consent, was previously obtained against Twitter International Company but information obtained from Twitter had not revealed who is behind the account at the centre of the case. Previously, the court heard Mr Rattle doe not have a Twitter account or an online presence. He claims the Twitter account using his name, which appears to have been established using an outlook.com email address, was set up in September 2018 and was brought to his attention last December.

He claims the account profile describes the user as running a firm investing hundreds of millions of pounds in various UK sectors, as well as being “nationalist”, “pro-Brexit” and “anti-immigration”.

Racist comments

Mr Rattle followed the ‘impersonation Twitter account’ and claims it has published a number of highly offensive and distressing tweets which are defamatory. The posts include derogatory and racist comments about individuals in British public life such as London mayor Sadiq Khan and Manchester City soccer star Raheem Sterling, he said.

One tweet on the account also praises a man who allegedly racially abused a woman on a Ryanair flight last year. He says he was shocked, highly distressed and upset by the posts and claims the account is clearly designed to make any reader believe that he is a racist, anti-Semitic and a bigot.

As part of that smear campaign, Mr Rattle claims he and several investors with his firm have received messages, correspondence and packages containing false allegations about him and August Equity. As a result, he has had CCTV installed at his London home.

He fears the alleged smear campaign will continue unless steps are taken to restrain the alleged wrongdoers.