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Donald Trump says Russia dossier caused ‘distress’ in London lawsuit

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Donald Trump has claimed in a lawsuit filed in London that he suffered “reputational damage and distress” as a result of the controversial Russia dossier compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele.

The former US president is suing Orbis Business Intelligence, co-founded by the former British intelligence officer, in the High Court over the dossier, which leaked to media website BuzzFeed in 2017.

The document made headlines around the world for its lurid allegations, including unproven claims about Trump’s conduct in the presidential suite of a hotel in Moscow.

Though the dossier caused a furore about Trump’s alleged links to Russia when it became public, its credibility has been heavily questioned in the years since.

Lawyers representing Trump in his data protection lawsuit told the High Court he was “compelled to explain to his family, friends and colleagues that the embarrassing allegations about his private life were untrue”.

Christopher Steele © Victoria Jones/PA

“This was extremely distressing for [Trump],” said the court documents obtained by the Financial Times. Trump is seeking unspecified damages and compensation in the lawsuit.

A court hearing in the case has been set for later this month.

Steele declined to comment on ongoing legal proceedings. Orbis could not be immediately reached for comment. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for further comment.

The lawsuit, the details of which have not been reported, come as Trump faces a slew of criminal and civil cases in the US. He is expected to be the 2024 Republican presidential candidate despite his legal troubles.

Data protection claims are becoming an increasingly common way for high- profile individuals to protect their reputation using the English courts. 

In 2020 three oligarchs. Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, won a case against Orbis in London’s High Court for alleged breaches of data protection laws over the same Steele dossier.  

The trio brought the legal action saying they wanted to “clear their names and correct the public record” about the allegations made about them and to prove they were not “creatures of the Kremlin”.  

Trump in his lawsuit denied the allegations in the dossier, claimed that Orbis breached his data protection rights and said it processed “inaccurate” personal data.

The court documents said the “false allegations . . . were presented in sensationalist manner and calculated to cause tremendous embarrassment to the Claimant, who is a well-known figure in the public eye.”

Trump’s lawyers also claim in the court papers that Orbis’s processing of his personal data was not fair because he was given no opportunity to comment on the accuracy of the data and say the personal data was “not accurate.”

In the court documents, Trump said he “did not engage in perverted sexual behaviour in Russia”.

He also said that he “did not engage in unorthodox behaviour in Russia and did not act in . . . a way that Russian authorities were provided with material to blackmail him”.

Additional reporting by James Politi in Washington

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