Billionaire's defamation case continues

By Margaret Scheikowski
Witnesses have described Chau Chak Wing as honourable and generous in his defamation case

Chinese-Australian billionaire Chau Chak Wing will continue being cross-examined in a Sydney court at his defamation case over a Fairfax Media story linking him to a US bribery investigation.

The businessman, philanthropist and political donor began his evidence on Tuesday in his lawsuit against Fairfax and journalist John Garnaut over the October 16, 2015 online article.

His lawyers claim the article conveys four defamatory meanings, including that Dr Chau bribed former UN president John Ashe and was part of a plot to bribe him.

It also allegedly suggested that Dr Chau acted in so seriously wrong a manner as to deserve extradition to the United States on criminal charges and that he created his Australian business empire by making illicit payments to government officials.

But Fairfax and Garnaut deny the article insinuated "actual guilt", saying it suggested he was "suspected" of being involved in the scandal.

They were not running the defence of truth, but were submitting that the publication was reasonable in the circumstances, their lawyers said.

Dr Chau has testified that he was very upset by the article, believing it made him out to be a criminal while he had never done anything illegal in China or Australia.

"This was a big strike, a big hit on me and it caused big harm to me," he said.

His cross-examination is expected to continue on Wednesday.