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When Richard Rubin was interviewed by U.S. News & World Report for an article on the global gold trade, he did not believe he would be made out to look like one of the bad guys. A reporter at the magazine called him and said he was writing a story about the Peruvian value tax — a rebate the government was giving to people who exported gold out of Peru. But the chief executive of Republic Metals, a gold refining company in Opalocka, now says he was misled. Rubin filed a defamation suit in Miami federal court last month against the weekly news magazine and the reporter who wrote the article. The feature was published in November under the headline “The Golden Age of Crime: Why international drug traffickers are invading the global gold trade.” The article, written by David Kaplan, focused heavily on the process by which drug money is laundered through the purchase and resale of gold. Kaplan’s story notes that the gold trade has become “the money laundering mechanism of choice” according to law enforcement reports, and is being used to wash “staggering amounts” of dirty cash. It only mentions in passing the export-tax rebate. Rubin, whose picture appears with the article, is quoted as saying, “There’s a dual economic system. … There’s on the books and there’s off the books.” “When he found himself in a story about money laundering with pictures of his business used to illustrate it, with his arms spread wide … he was a little perturbed,” said Deborah Drooz of Strook & Strook & Lavan in Los Angeles. Drooz and partner Barry Landberg have handled a lot of high- profile libel cases including suits by domestic goddess Martha Stewart against the National Enquirer and comedian Rodney Dangerfield against the Star. “We ordinarily sue tabloids. It’s rare that a legitimate newspaper is a defendant in one of our suits,” Drooz said. Kaplan referred calls to the attorney representing him and the magazine, Laura Handman of Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C., who said she could not comment on pending litigation. Rubin’s suit says that when read in context, the quotes imply that “Rubin is or has been involved in money laundering” and that he “permits the use of his gold refining business to facilitate money laundering by drug dealers and other criminals.” The suit claims that Kaplan wrote the article “to intentionally convey a defamatory implication” and that the article hurt Rubin’s reputation. The suit doesn’t specify damages sought. Drooz said that should be left up to a jury. Drooz said the magazine did comply with a demand for a retraction, but that it wasn’t a retraction at all. The item, published under the headline “clarification,” stated that the article was not intended to suggest that Rubin or his company were engaged in any illegal transactions. Rubin said the damage has been done. “From our point of view it was neither a retraction nor an apology,” Drooz said.

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