Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Chinese businessman Su Zhi Rong, also known as Su Zhirong, over the recorded conversations Vice News broadcasted.
The lawsuit was filed by a battery of Attorneys-at-Law and comprised of C.V. Satram, Manoj Narayan, Rajendra Jaigobon, Ron Motilall, and Chandanie Dyal.
In the court documents seen by MTV News Update, Jagdeo is seeking $50 million for slanderous and defamatory statements made by Su Zhirong sometime on or about January 2022 between him and Vice News’ Isobel Yeung and a person referred to as “Chan.”
The VP also wants an injunction restraining Su Zhirong, “whether by himself, his servants, or agents or otherwise, from further publishing or causing to be published the said or similar words defamatory of the Claimant,” the court document said.
On June 19, VICE News aired its first report on Guyana, which Yeung did. The piece, which was 14 minutes long, sought to uncover whether Dr Jagdeo takes bribes from Chinese companies before awarding them government contracts.
A few weeks later, the News Entity released an extended report on Guyana titled “Undercover In Guyana: Exposing Chinese Business in South America.”
“The statements made, expressed, and uttered by the Defendant in the visual and audio recorded conversations and/or discussions and/or interviews between Isobel Yeung and the person referred to as Mr. Chan clearly imputed criminal and unlawful conduct on the part of the Claimant and the said words were calculated to disparage the Claimant personally, and in the office, he held,” the court document added.
According to the lawsuit, the statement uttered by Su Zhirong has “tarnished and immeasurably damaged” the VP’s reputation.
“As a result of the slanderous and defamatory statements made, expressed, and uttered by the Defendant, the Claimant has also suffered public condemnation, humiliation, ridicule, and embarrassment,” the legal document concluded.
Since the report by Vice News, the main opposition – the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU + AFC), has called for Jagdeo’s resignation.
But President Irfaan Ali had called out Vice News for being sensational while noting that his Government is “above board.”