A leading development company in the Algarve is considering legal action against the author or authors of damaging statements posted on various forums and websites over the past week.
The comments about the Oceânico Group’s alleged financial situation had been removed from most forums and sites by Wednesday following the issuing of an official statement by the company to the sites concerned.
Asked where she thought the web postings came from, Rita Brissos, Marketing Manager for Oceânico, told the Algarve Resident: “We have no idea. When we became aware of what was going around on some blogs, we got our IT department to analyse them and immediately we contacted our legal department for action to be taken.”
Oceânico Group General Manager, Martin Date, said that many messages of support for the group’s commitment to identifying those responsible had been received from clients, suppliers, contractors and colleagues in the industry, who joined Oceânico in “deploring these unjustified and completely false rumours”.
He added: “One can only speculate as to the motive behind those spreading these vicious stories. There is clearly no realisation of the damage that these stories can potentially cause, not only to Oceânico as a company, but to the 560 people we employ in Portugal and their dependents. It is our firm intention to identify those responsible and to hold them to account for their actions through all legal means possible.”
Martin Date said the company has “no objection whatever to expressions of opinion, good or bad,” but added that Oceânico feels that progress could be made to refine “a mechanism to curtail intentionally malicious and damaging statements on the internet that can be made behind a cloak of anonymity”.
“The internet is a tremendous tool for the fast exchange of information,” he said, “but there is a downside when it becomes a forum for commercially damaging misinformation.”
Concerning the sites where the postings appeared, Martin Date said: “Whenever we approached the hosts of the weblogs where these rumours appeared, to their credit, the hosts have taken immediate action to remove what is clearly libellous content.”
Simon Burgess, Oceânico director, told the Algarve Resident: “We seem to have upset someone; there have been a number of very nasty blogs. We are fully funded to complete our three developments in the Algarve, with nearly 500 good contracts. This is going to be our best year yet and we could not be further from bankruptcy.”
The postings also referred, incorrectly, to a “reporter from the Algarve Resident”. Mike Almond, the Algarve Resident’s Publishing Director, said: “To link our newspaper with these rumours is outrageous and damaging to our reputation as a newspaper. We will be seeking legal advice.”
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