TV presenter Gabby Logan and her husband will be paid a six-figure sum in damages by an accountant, a publisher and a former newspaper editor after the couple complained they were falsely accused of being paid to promote a tax avoidance scheme to celebrity friends.
The 50-year-old sports broadcaster and partner Kenny Logan, 51, an ex-Scotland rugby player, have settled legal action brought against Gwilym Jones, the director of a litigation investment company, Associated Newspapers and former editor of The Sun Kelvin Mackenzie.
A hearing at the High Court in London on Friday was told that the couple’s complaints centred on an article published by the Mail Online – a website owned by Associated Newspapers – on February 28 which contained “false assertions”.
Ben Hamer, representing the Logans, said these included allegations that the pair were “paid commissions totalling more than £500,000 in return for introducing their friends to tax avoidance schemes marketed by Welbeck Solutions”.
The barrister also said the article amounted to a false allegation that there “were reasonable grounds to suspect that companies under Gabby and Kenneth Logan’s control tried to disguise some taxable income as loans in order that the companies might avoid paying tax on that income”.
“These allegations were wholly untrue, as the Mail Online has now acknowledged,” Mr Hamer said.
Mr Hamer told the hearing before Mr Justice Linden that Mr Jones, of Henderson & Jones Limited, a company that purchases and funds litigation and arbitration claims, was quoted in the article making a “defamatory” false claim that the husband and wife were “guilty of fraudulently misrepresenting income as loans to evade tax obligations” and “conspired with Welbeck companies to sell products that they knew were tax-avoidance schemes”.
His published words caused “serious harm and distress” to the couple, the court was told.
On the day the article was published, Mr Mackenzie tweeted about the story, sharing footage from his Daily Exposure podcast in which he falsely accused the couple of using their “fame to encourage people to go down a route which was in the end going to cost them tens of millions of pounds”, Mr Hamer said.
He added: “The true facts are that although Kenny was a brand ambassador for a company that sold financial products which included tax avoidance schemes and earned commission for making introductions, neither Gabby nor Kenny Logan ever promoted tax avoidance schemes, either to their celebrity friends or to anyone else.
“Still less did they admit to so doing. Neither did they receive commission of £500,000 for this alleged activity.
“The suggestion that through their actions, victims of a tax avoidance scheme at issue lost ‘tens of millions of pounds’ is also false.”
Mr Hamer said Henderson & Jones had purchased from two dissolved companies, Welbeck Wealth Management Limited and Welbeck Consulting Limited, the right to bring money claims against companies “in which Kenny Logan had share capital”.
In 2020, Henderson & Jones started legal proceedings against Klas International Limited, which Mr Logan was a director of until July 2021, and Logan Group Limited, where Mr Logan is a director and Mrs Logan is company secretary.
Mr Jones had falsely alleged that companies controlled by the Logans worked with Welbeck to sell tax-avoidance schemes and tried to disguise income as loans to avoid tax, Mr Hamer told the court.
He added: “This was not true of Kenny Logan, and Gabby Logan had not even received any such income. Mr Logan was in fact paid by Welbeck merely to attend events and network in his capacity as a former rugby player.
“He has informed Henderson Jones that tax was fully paid on all income he earned thereby, as his accountant has confirmed.”
The court heard that, after the Logans complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, Associated Newspapers published an apology and retraction on May 24, with the publisher also offering to pay the couple “substantial” damages.
Mr MacKenzie has deleted his tweet and also paid the pair “substantial” damages.
Mr Hamer said that Mr Jones had “repeatedly refused to retract the false and seriously defamatory allegations” but “eventually accepted” a settlement offer after the Logans launched legal action and had paid damages.
Jonathan Coad, a solicitor for the Logans, told the PA news agency outside Friday’s hearing that the total damages paid “amounts to six figures”.