NADHIM Zahawi has been awarded £200,000 in damages after winning a libel case over claims he had helped fund so-called Islamic State (IS).ate (IS).
The then Stratford MP took legal action against Iranian state television channel Press TV after it falsely claimed he had bought crude oil from the terrorist organisation and sold it on to Israel and other markets in Europe.
The Iraqui-born politician was also awarded £138,000 in costs after High Court judges said he had been a victim of ‘fake news’.
Mr Zahawi sued the English language news and documentary network – which is affiliated to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), owned by the Iranian state – over a July 2015 website article which then went viral.
Mr Zahawi, chief strategy officer of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, told the BBC: “The ludicrous allegation that I, while a Member of Parliament, had firstly betrayed all of my deepest held moral principles, and secondly had somehow managed to avoid international security services, and the law, to personally trade oil with Daesh, was of course completely untrue.”
He added the allegations had spread “like wildfire” on social media and that he had to defend himself from a “profoundly embarrassing and deeply upsetting experience”.
Mr Zahawi was born to Kurdish parents in Baghdad in 1967, but fearing persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime, the family moved to Britain when Nadhim was aged nine.
Before entering politics he was a hugely successful businessman , and co-founded leading market research company YouGov in 2000. He floated the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 and was named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young in 2008.
He was elected Conservative MP for Stratford in 2010, and will be standing again at the forthcoming general election.