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by Mike Caswell
High Hampton Holdings Corp. has filed a defamation lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against its former chief operating officer, Paul Mann, over a news release that accused the company of "financial irregularities." The news release questioned large payments that the company had made to entities that operated out of mailboxes, among other things. High Hampton claims that Mr. Mann was behind the news release, and that it was false and malicious.
The allegations are contained in a notice of claim that High Hampton filed at the Vancouver courthouse on Oct. 31, 2018. The sole defendant is Mr. Mann, who was the company's COO for a seven-month span, ending with his firing on Oct. 5, 2018. The events at issue, as set out in the lawsuit, took place in the weeks following Mr. Mann's firing.
The lawsuit centres partly around a news release, dated Oct. 22, 2018, that a newswire service called Accesswire published. According to the suit, Mr. Mann sent the news release. The text of that release, which the suit quotes in full, explained how Mr. Mann had identified several financial transactions at High Hampton that were suspect. These included payments to entities that had no contracts with High Hampton. He also mentioned the non-compliant issuance of securities to unaccredited U.S. investors. The news release specifically identified High Hampton's chief financial officer, Fiona Fitzmaurice, and its vice-president of finance, Christian Scovenna, as those being involved in the transactions.
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