Gentium News


  • 14th December 2017

This press release is issued by Gentium Law Group Sàrl of Geneva, and its Managing Partner Matthew Parish, in response to two articles published by an ostensibly anonymous Catalan media website El Robot Pescador. Although El Robot Pescador claims to be anonymous, it is known by whom it is written.

            This press release is published in response to two articles published on that website. The first is entitled Escándalo mayúsculo: la relación entre Juncker, la financiación de Ciudadanos, el fascismo en España y la crisis catalana (“Major scandal: the relationship between Juncker, the financing of Ciudadanos, fascism in Spain and the Catalan Crisis”) and was published on 7 December 2017. The second article is entitled Exembajador Británico Revela que Ciudadanos fue creado por los servicos secretos alemanes (“Former British Ambassador reveals that Ciudadanos was the creation of the German intelligence services”) and was published on 11 December 2017. Comment is made  by this firm upon those anonymous articles because they both wrongfully imply the attribution of improper opinions to this author, or his association with opinions he considers offensive and/or inappropriate. Hence inevitable misperceptions on the part of any reader of these articles stand in need of correction.

            Escándalo is for the most part a wholly inaccurate redraft of the text of an article published by Matthew Parish, Managing Partner of this firm, entitled Jean-Claude Juncker y la Crisa Catalana (“Jean-Clauder Juncker and the Catalan Crisis”), published on 4 December 2017. The original article has been rephrased by its derivative author for publication in El Robot Pescador. The version appearing on El Robot Pescador is not phrased as in the Spanish original text. It has been rewritten, presumably to suit the political agenda of the authors of El Robot Pescador.

            This took place without prior consultation with Dr Parish, who learned of the paraphrased republication of his article only after the event, accidentally and through a third party. El Robot Pescador is thereby guilty of infringing European copyright laws. The sometimes potentially inflammatory graphics accompanying the article, together with the incendiary language contained in all of the title of Escándalo, its preface and its footer, provide a wholly misleading impression of the intended message of the original author, namely to call for a judicial investigation into concerns about a potentially corrupt flow of funds to a Spanish political party called Ciudadanos. That stands in stark contrast to the unbridled, crude conclusions conveyed by Escándalo. In particular, the Managing Partner of this firm wishes to make it clear that he is not describing Spain as a fascist state in his original article. To the extent that Escándalo might be seen to suggest the contrary,   Escándalo has been unlawfully and inaccurately reproduced and/or summarised.

            Dr Parish and Gentium Law Group Sàrl call upon the authors of Escándalo and the proprietors of El Robot Pescador to respect European copyright and defamation laws, and therefore to remove Escándalo immediately. Failure to do so is a criminal offence according to the prescribed European legislation. Any responsible European journalist would know this. It may be that the proprietors of El Robot Pescador lack this essential quality of responsibility in the exercise of their professional judgments. In that case, their conduct falls far below the European standards of journalism expected and required to sustain a free, liberal and democratic society.

            Exembajador is a still more objectionable article. It seeks to associate this firm and/or its Managing Partner with the disgraced former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, who was forced from his senior diplomatic role amidst a sordid sex scandal. Since then, Murray has proceeded to peddle a variety of bizarre and controversial ideas around the globe that might reasonably be regarded to have earned him a reputation as a crank. London has no respect for his views.

            Exambajador purports to propagate an absurd conspiracy theory on the part of Murray to the effect that German intelligence services were responsible for the development of the Spanish political party Ciudadanos. It continues to make a number of still further preposterous assertions. One of these is that the German intelligence services were responsible for creating an organisation called Unión de la Yihad Islámica (“Union of Islamic Jihad”) based in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. There are several more examples of the same ilk throughout the article.      

            Gentium Law Group Sàrl and its Managing Partner wish to emphasise firstly, that the aforementioned two articles were published without our prior knowledge or approval; secondly, that  their strenuous objections to the continued publication of these articles by El Robot Pescador are maintained; and thirdly, that these articles should in no way be taken to be expressions of the views of Gentium Law Group Sàrl or its Managing Partner. Put simply, these articles are a journalistic disgrace and inane. We want nothing to do with them.


            The persons responsible for publication of El Robot Pescador, based in Catalonia, are wedded to notoriously unrealistic hard-left Marxist political dogma. There is ample political space within Catalan politics for left-wing political parties and movements – even those well left of centre. These political parties, and their philosophies, should be embraced within the admirable broad church tradition of Catalan politics. But uncompromising ideology that feeds journalist mediocrity is of scant value to render the fringe political movement represented by the proprietors of El Robot Pescador remotely useful in any future amicable resolution to the Catalan crisis.

            Peaceful resolution of the current crisis must be the overriding aim of all civilised people. The authors of El Robot Pescador have, through their actions, demonstrated themselves to fall outside that broad and inclusive umbrella of pragmatic, flexible and decent-minded people capable of compromise and rational dialogue to advance the common welfare of all Catalans of every ideology and none. The wrong-footedness of those behind El Robot Pescador in this regard will be remembered. Persons advocating inflexible political dogma have no useful role in the inevitable forthcoming process of conflict resolution and reconciliation between the various groups within Catalan society now so dangerously divided.

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Matthew Parish is an international lawyer based in Geneva.